Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
from the Circuit Court for Marion County No. 8929 Thomas W.
Appellant, Jaymes Harrison, is appealing the trial
court's denial of his motion to correct an illegal
sentence. The State has filed a motion asking this Court to
affirm pursuant to Court of Criminal Appeals Rule 20. Said
motion is hereby granted.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Order of the Trial Court
Affirmed Pursuant to Court of Criminal Appeals Rule 20.
Harrison, Tiptonville, Tennessee, pro se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee
W. Turner, Senior Counsel, for the Appellee, State of
W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in
which Robert L. Holloway, Jr. and Timothy L. Easter, JJ.
W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE
record on appeal before us reflects that in October 2011 the
Appellant pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery and was
sentenced to twelve years of imprisonment as a standard Range
I offender to be served at 100%. An amended judgment was
subsequently entered to correct a clerical mistake. Sometime
in 2016, the Appellant filed a motion to correct an alleged
illegal sentence. See Tenn. R. Crim. P. 36.1. The
record on appeal does not include a copy of the motion.
However, the trial court summarily denied the motion on
August 29, 2016. The Appellant timely filed notice of appeal.
Following the filing of the record on appeal and the
Appellant's brief, the State filed a motion to affirm the
ruling of the trial court pursuant to Court of Criminal
Appeals Rule 20. For the reasons stated below, said motion is
the Court notes that the record on appeal does not include a
copy of the motion filed by the Appellant below. Nor does it
contain a copy of the guilty plea. Nevertheless, the Court
possesses sufficient information to issue a ruling on the
merits. The gist of the Appellant's argument regarding
the validity of his sentence is that he should not have been
sentenced at the high end of the applicable sentencing range
because he had no qualifying prior convictions. The Appellant
was charged with rape of a child, a Class A felony; he
pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery, a Class B
felony. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-13-522; 39-13-504.
The sentencing range for a standard Range I offender for a
Class B felony is not less than eight (8) nor more than
twelve (12) years. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-112(a)(2).
36.1 permits a defendant to seek correction of an unexpired
illegal sentence at any time. See State v. Brown,
479 S.W.3d 200, 211 (Tenn. 2015). "[A]n illegal sentence
is one that is not authorized by the applicable statutes or
that directly contravenes an applicable statute." Tenn.
R. Crim. P. 36.1(a). Our supreme court recently interpreted
the meaning of "illegal sentence" as defined in
Rule 36.1 and concluded that the definition "is
coextensive with, and not broader than, the definition of the
term in the habeas corpus context." State v.
Wooden, 478 S.W.3d 585, 594-95 (Tenn. 2015). The court
then reviewed the three categories of sentencing errors:
clerical errors (those arising from a clerical mistake in the
judgment sheet), appealable errors (those for which the
Sentencing Act specifically provides a right of direct
appeal) and fatal errors (those so profound as to render a
sentence illegal and void). Id. Commenting on
appealable errors, the court stated that those
"generally involve attacks on the correctness of the
methodology by which a trial court imposed sentence."
Id. In contrast, fatal errors include
"sentences imposed pursuant to an inapplicable statutory
scheme, sentences designating release eligibility dates where
early release is statutorily prohibited, sentences that are
ordered to be served concurrently where statutorily required
to be served consecutively, and sentences not authorized by
any statute for the offenses." Id. The court
held that only fatal errors render sentences illegal.
appellant and the State may negotiate offender
classifications, and even release eligibility, because they
"are non-jurisdictional and legitimate bargaining tools
in plea negotiations under the Criminal Sentencing Reform Act
of 1989." Bland v. Dukes, 97 S.W.3d 133, 134
(Tenn. Crim. App. 2002). The current case is an obvious
situation where the Appellant entered into an agreement to
reduce his exposure for a conviction for rape of a child from
a possible sentence range of fifteen to twenty-five years to
be served at 100% to an agreed twelve-year sentence to be
served at 100%. Again, our courts have long-recognized
"the ability of the State and defendants to use offender
classification and release eligibility as subjects of plea
bargain negotiations" which "are properly
characterized as non-jurisdictional."
McConnell v. State, 12 S.W.3d 795, 798 (Tenn. 2000)
(emphasis added). As the trial court correctly held, the
Appellant's sentence was entered pursuant to an agreed
plea and it is not illegal under Rule 36.1 because it is
specifically authorized by statute. See Tenn. Code
Ann. §§ 40-35-112(a)(2); 40-35-501(i)(1).
Appellant's attacks against the indictment and any other
challenges to the validity of his guilty plea or the
effectiveness of his representation are insufficient to state
a colorable claim for relief in a Rule 36.1 motion. As this
Court has emphasized, Rule 36.1 "provide[s] an avenue
for correcting allegedly illegal sentences. The Rule
does not provide an avenue for seeking the reversal
of convictions." State v. Jimmy Wayne
Wilson, No. E2013-02354-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL
1285622 (Tenn. Crim. App., Mar. 31, 2014), perm. to app.
denied, (Tenn., Nov. 19, 2014) (emphases in original).
the ruling of the trial court is hereby affirmed pursuant to