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Scott v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

May 16, 2017

MITCHELL NATHANIEL SCOTT
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs March 21, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2011-B-1498 Seth W. Norman, Judge

         The pro se petitioner, Mitchell Nathaniel Scott, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of error coram nobis by the Davidson County Criminal Court, arguing the trial court erred in summarily dismissing the petition because newly discovered evidence exists in his case. The petitioner also calls on this Court to apply the doctrine of stare decisis and ignore the Tennessee Supreme Court holding of Frazier v. State, 495 S.W.3d 246 (Tenn. 2016). After our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

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

          Mitchell Nathaniel Scott, Clifton, Tennessee, Pro Se.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Zachary T. Hinkle, Assistant Attorney General; Glenn Funk, District Attorney General; and Jennifer Smith, 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.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          J. ROSS DYER, JUDGE

         In 2011, the petitioner was indicted for two counts of aggravated child abuse and two counts of aggravated child neglect after inflicting second degree burns upon his three-year-old son. On January 28, 2013, the petitioner entered a "best interest" plea to one count of aggravated child abuse. Prior to the imposition of his sentence, the petitioner filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea on February 27, 2013. The withdrawal motion was denied, appealed, and subsequently affirmed by this Court. See State v. Mitchell Nathaniel Scott, No. M2013-01169-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL 1669964 (Tenn. Crim. App. Apr. 25, 2014). A sentencing hearing was held on June 25, 2014 wherein the petitioner received a seventeen-year sentence to be served at one hundred percent. The petitioner then sought post-conviction relief, the denial of which was affirmed by this Court. See Mitchell Nathaniel Scott v. State, No. M2016-01210-CCA-R3-PC, 2017 WL 1063481 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 21, 2017) perm. app. filed (Tenn. Apr. 13, 2017).

         In addition to the above proceedings, the petitioner filed an application for writ of error coram nobis on September 23, 2016. In both his original and amended petitions, the petitioner sought to collaterally attack his guilty plea, alleging "newly discovered evidence" exists in his case. According to the petitioner, the new evidence included "a maintenance-work order showing replacement of the hot water heater" and a newspaper article entitled "Court reverses child abuse conviction."

         Upon its review, the trial court held the petitioner's claim is barred pursuant to Frazier v. State, 495 S.W.3d 246 (Tenn. 2016), stating:

Our Supreme Court has very recently addressed the issue of collaterally attacking a guilty plea by petitioning for a writ of error coram nobis [in Frazier]. The Court has determined that, due to the nature and requirements of the plea colloquy, the coram nobis statute is not available as a procedural mechanism for collaterally attacking a guilty plea.
Although the Court in Frazier does not explicitly discuss "best-interest" pleas, the analysis is the same. A guilty plea proceeding is neither contested nor adversarial. If a guilty plea hearing does not constitute a trial for the purposes of the error coram nobis, nor does a best-interest plea. Further, the trial court must ensure during the plea submission hearing that the [petitioner] is waiving his right to a trial. This is true regardless of whether the plea was entered as a best-interest plea or not. There is no contest wherein evidence, if submitted, might have resulted in a ...

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