Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs May 10, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Wayne County No. 15894 Robert L.
Petitioner, David Hearing, filed a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus, alleging that his concurrent sentences of life
for his two convictions of felony murder were illegal and
void. The habeas corpus court dismissed the petition upon
finding that the issue had been raised and addressed in prior
pleadings. On appeal, the Petitioner challenges the habeas
corpus court's ruling. Upon review, we affirm the
judgment of the habeas corpus court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Wayne Hearing, Clifton, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia
S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; and Brent A. Cooper,
District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of
McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
Alan E. Glenn and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.
MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE
2005, the Petitioner pled guilty to the first degree felony
murders of Ance "Pete" Pratt and his wife, Rebecca
Pratt during the aggravated burglary of the Pratts' home.
See David Hearing v. State, No.
E2009-02430-CCA-R3-PC, 2010 WL 3837535, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App. at Knoxville, Oct. 4, 2010). The Petitioner's plea
agreement provided that he would receive concurrent sentences
of "life with [the] possibility of parole." At the
guilty plea hearing, the trial court explained that the
Petitioner would have to serve "at least a fifty-one
year . . . term of imprisonment before [he could] be
considered for parole[.]" The Petitioner said that he
understood the terms and accepted the plea agreement.
his guilty pleas, the Petitioner has pursued numerous avenues
of relief. First, he filed a motion to withdraw his pleas,
which the trial court denied, and this court affirmed the
denial on appeal. See David Wayne Hearing v. State,
No. E2007-00778-CCA-R3-PC, 2008 WL 481781, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App. at Knoxville, Feb. 22, 2008); David Wayne Hearing v.
State, No. E2006-00362-CCA-R3-PC, 2006 WL 3813625, at *1
(Tenn. Crim. App. at Knoxville, Dec. 28, 2006). Next, the
Petitioner pursued post-conviction relief, arguing in part
that his trial counsel was ineffective by misrepresenting the
terms of the sentences; the post-conviction court denied the
petition, and this court affirmed the denial on appeal.
Hearing, 2010 WL 3837535, at *1. Subsequently, the
Petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus relief,
alleging that the judgments of conviction were void because
each judgment provided that the Petitioner had a life
sentence but also provided that the sentence was fifty-one
years. David Hearing v. David Mills, Warden, No.
W2011-01226-CCA-R3-PC, 2012 WL 12931580, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App. at Jackson, Feb. 28, 2012). The habeas corpus court held
that the Petitioner's sentences were not illegal and void
and denied the petition, and this court affirmed the decision
on appeal. Id.
the Petitioner filed an untimely petition for a writ of error
coram nobis, see David Hearing v. State, No.
E2013-00640-CCA-R3-ECN, 2014 WL 2547780, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App. at Knoxville, June 3, 2014), followed by two successive
petitions to correct his "illegal sentence[s]"
pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1,
see State v. David Wayne Hearing, No.
E2015-00173-CCA-R3-CD, 2015 WL 4710393, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App. at Knoxville, Aug. 7, 2015), perm. to appeal
denied, (Tenn., Dec. 10, 2015); State v. David Wayne
Hearing, No. E2014-01908-CCA-R3-CD, 2015 WL 2128600, at
*1 (Tenn. Crim. App. at Knoxville, May 6, 2015), perm. to
appeal denied, (Tenn., Oct. 16, 2015) (designated not
for citation). In each petition to correct the sentences, the
Petitioner contended that his sentences were illegal because
he negotiated sentences of life with the possibility of
parole but his judgments of conviction reflected that he
received sentences of life. The trial court held that the
Petitioner's life sentences were not void and illegal,
and this court upheld the trial court's rulings.
Hearing, 2015 WL 2128600, at *3.
the Petitioner filed the instant petition for a writ of
habeas corpus, in which he again challenged his sentences.
The Petitioner argued that the trial court did not have the
authority to sentence him to life with the possibility of
parole for his felony murder convictions; therefore, his
judgments were void. The Petitioner further argued that the
sentences of life with the possibility of parole were
material elements of his guilty pleas and that he was
therefore entitled to relief. The State filed a motion to
dismiss the petition, contending that the Petitioner's
sentences were not illegal and void. The habeas corpus court
granted the State's motion, finding that "the
Petitioner's two concurrent life sentences are not
illegal as previously determined by two courts of competent
jurisdiction and as reflected in the judgments[.]" On
appeal, the Petitioner challenges the habeas corpus