Assigned on Briefs: January 5, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 96-02206 Lee V.
Coffee, Judge No. W2016-01525-CCA-R3-CD
March 13, 1998, the petitioner, Gary Carr, entered a guilty
plea to first-degree murder and received a sentence of life
without parole. He did not file any post-judgment appeals.
Eighteen years later, the petitioner, acting pro se, filed a
motion entitled "Motion for Nunc Pro Tunc Order, "
alleging, inter alia, that his conviction should be set aside
and a new trial ordered because (1) the court clerk failed to
enter or stamp-file his judgment of conviction in accordance
with Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(e); and (2) he
entered an unknowing and involuntary guilty plea based on
threats that he would receive the death penalty. The Shelby
County Criminal Court summarily dismissed his motion, and the
petitioner now appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment
of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Carr, Mountain City, Tennessee, pro se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P.
Weirich, District Attorney General; and Alanda Dwyer,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State
Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which John Everett Williams and Alan E. Glenn, JJ.,
CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE.
14, 2016, the petitioner filed a document entitled,
"Motion for Nu[n]c Pro Tunc Order, " alleging that
the "criminal court clerk failed to enter the judgment
within accordance of Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure
32(e)." The motion sought to set aside his judgment of
conviction and order a new trial because "the judge that
heard the evidence and sentenced the defendant is the only
one that can enter an order nunc pro tunc." On June 27,
2016, the trial court entered a ten-page, detailed order
summarily dismissing the petitioner's motion. Because of
the unorthodox nature of the filing, the trial court
interpreted it as a motion to withdraw the petitioner's
guilty plea and as a petition for post-conviction relief.
Interpreting the motion as a motion to withdraw his guilty
plea, the trial court determined that the petitioner's
guilty plea was "knowingly, voluntarily, and
intelligently entered" and that the petitioner
understood his rights before entering his guilty plea. The
trial court further determined that the original trial court
followed the "mandates of Rule 11 of the Tennessee Rules
of Criminal Procedure and applicable state and federal law,
" and that the petitioner failed to show any
"manifest injustice" that would allow the
withdrawal of his guilty plea. Alternatively, interpreting
the motion as a petition for post-conviction relief, the
trial court determined that the petition was barred by the
statute of limitations and that the petitioner failed to
"offer any due process grounds" to support waiver
of the limitations period. It is from this order that the
petitioner now timely appeals.
appeal, the petitioner argues that the trial court erred in
denying his motion because the criminal court clerk failed to
enter his 1998 judgment pursuant to Tennessee Rule of
Criminal Procedure 32(e). As we understand his argument, the
petitioner claims his judgment of conviction should be set
aside and a new trial ordered because his judgment form was
not stamp-filed or "endorsed" by the clerk's
office. For the first time on appeal, the petitioner also
argues that his guilty plea was unknowing and involuntary
based on threats he would receive the death penalty and that
his sentence was unlawfully imposed. The State argues that
the petitioner's judgment of conviction became final on
April 13, 1998, and that the trial court found that the
judgment was properly filed. The State also contends that the
trial court properly denied the petitioner's motion as a
motion to withdraw his guilty plea or as a petition for
post-conviction relief. Upon review, we agree with the State.
petitioner claims that his conviction should be set aside
because the court clerk failed to properly enter his 1998
judgment pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure
32(e). Rule 32(e) governs judgments and provides as follows:
(1) Signed and Entered. A judgment of conviction
shall be signed by the judge and ...