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Murphy v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 6, 2017

ROBERT MURPHY
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Session October 18, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Lewis County No. 2015-CR-23 Joseph A. Woodruff, Judge.

         The Petitioner, Robert Murphy, appeals the Lewis County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions of two counts of rape, two counts of aggravated sexual battery, and two counts of incest and resulting effective sentence of forty-eight years to be served at 100%. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by finding that his petition was barred by the statute of limitations because due process required that the statute of limitations be tolled. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed.

          Donald Capparella and Elizabeth Sitgreaves, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Murphy.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Jennifer Mason, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Norma McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          NORMA MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE.

         I. Factual Background

         On May 6, 2002, the Petitioner pled guilty in the Lewis County Circuit Court to two counts of rape, a Class B felony, two counts of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony, and two counts of incest, a Class C felony. He received twelve-year sentences to be served at 100% for the rape convictions, twelve-year sentences for the aggravated sexual battery convictions, and six-year sentences for the incest convictions. The trial court ordered that the twelve-year sentences be served consecutively for a total effective sentence of forty-eight years at 100% in confinement.

         On June 25, 2013, the Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Lake County Circuit Court, alleging that the judgments of conviction were void because the Lewis County Circuit Court failed to comply with Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-524, which required community supervision for life for defendants convicted of rape and aggravated sexual battery. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-524(a)(1). The Petitioner also argued in the petition that his judgments of conviction were void because the trial court failed to award pretrial jail credit. On September 23, 2013, the habeas corpus court conducted a hearing on the petition and took the matter under advisement until it could review the guilty plea hearing transcript. After reviewing the transcript, the court entered an order on February 18, 2014, finding that the issue of lifetime community supervision was not part of the Petitioner's plea agreement and remanding the case to the trial court for entry of "corrected" judgments. The order did not address pretrial jail credit. On March 17, 2014, the Lewis County Circuit Court entered amended judgments for the rape and aggravated sexual battery convictions, reflecting community supervision for life pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-524.

         On April 9, 2014, the Lake County Circuit Court entered an order amending its February 18, 2014 order. The amended order stated follows:

After review of the trial record in this case, the Court has determined that neither the omission of lifetime community supervision nor failure to award pretrial jail credits was a material element of the plea agreement. Therefore, this Court is of the opinion that the petitioner is entitled to relief; however, because the petitioner has not shown that the illegalities in his sentence resulted from a plea agreement, the only relief to which the petitioner is entitled is entry of . . . corrected judgments imposing lifetime community supervision and awarding the appropriate jail credits.

         Pursuant to the order, the Lewis County Circuit Court entered corrected judgments on February 25, 2015, reflecting both ...


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