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State v. Mills

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

April 21, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
MAURICE ALLEN MILLS, JR.

          Assigned on Briefs March 21, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 104374 Steven Wayne Sword, Judge

         The pro se defendant, Maurice Allen Mills, Jr., appeals as of right from the Knox County Criminal Court's summary denial of his Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 ("Rule 36.1") motion to correct an illegal sentence. The defendant contends his motion stated a colorable claim for relief, so the trial court erred in summarily denying it. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Maurice Allen Mills, Jr., Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Charme P. Allen, District Attorney General; and Jacob Wilson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          J. Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          J. ROSS DYER, JUDGE.

         Facts and Procedural History

         On June 10, 2015, the defendant pled guilty to one count of possession with intent to sell a Schedule II controlled substance within 1000 feet of a school, one count of possession with intent to deliver a Schedule II controlled substance within 1000 feet of a school, one count of possession with intent to sell a Schedule II controlled substance within 1000 feet of a child care agency, one count of possession with intent to deliver a Schedule II controlled substance within 1000 feet of a child care agency, one count of simple possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance, and one count of failure to appear at an arraignment. The guilty plea included the prosecutor's recommended sentences, but the final judgments are noticeably absent from the record. The defendant subsequently filed a motion to correct illegal sentence on June 22, 2015, arguing: his sentence was illegally enhanced; the arresting officers performed an illegal search and seizure; he did not receive judicial diversion; and he received ineffective assistance of counsel during his sentencing hearing. On February 1, 2016, the trial court entered an order denying the defendant's motion, finding:

After reviewing the motion, the court finds that the defendant has failed to assert a colorable claim pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. The defendant's motion raises issues regarding his guilty plea that do not fall within the purview of Rule 36.1. There are no issues raised [regarding] the legality of the defendant's sentence. Therefore, the defendant's motion is hereby dismissed.

It is unclear when the defendant received the trial court's order because on March 15, 2016 and May 16, 2016, he filed motions asking for the status of the proceedings. The defendant subsequently filed an untimely notice of appeal on May 31, 2016.

         On appeal, the defendant reasserts the arguments made in his motion to correct illegal sentence and asserts the trial court abused its discretion when denying the motion. The defendant further contends the trial court erred when failing to appoint counsel to investigate his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. The State argues the defendant's claims do not entitle him to relief under Rule 36.1. ...


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