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State v. Wilson

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

June 27, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
ELGAIN RICKY WILSON

          Assigned on Briefs May 10, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 84-W-201 Seth Norman, Judge

         The Defendant, Elgain Ricky Wilson, pleaded guilty to first degree felony murder, armed robbery, and two counts of assault with the intent to commit armed robbery in 1984 and received an effective sentence of life imprisonment plus fifty years. Almost thirty-two years later, the Defendant filed a motion pursuant to Tennessee Criminal Procedure Rule 36.1 requesting that the trial court correct an illegal sentence because although the indictment alleged the murder victim was killed when the victim was being robbed, the evidence showed the murder victim was killed during the robbery of another person. As a result, the Defendant argued that his guilty plea was unknowing and involuntary and that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court summarily dismissed the motion after determining that the Defendant's motion failed to state a colorable claim for relief because the motion was not based upon the imposition of an illegal sentence but rather upon insufficient evidence and the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Elgain Ricky Wilson, Tiptonville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Alexander C. Vey, Assistant Attorney General; and Glenn Funk, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Alan E. Glenn, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE.

         In January 1984, the Defendant was indicted, in relevant part, for the first degree felony murder of Edward Meirs, which was alleged to have occurred when Mr. Meirs was robbed, the armed robbery of Margaret Meirs, the assault of Joseph White with the intent to commit armed robbery, and the assault of Anne White with the intent to commit armed robbery. In July 1984, the Defendant pleaded guilty to the charged offenses, and the trial court ordered partial consecutive sentences, resulting in a sentence of life imprisonment plus fifty years. He appealed the trial court's imposition of consecutive sentences, and this court affirmed the judgments of the trial court. See State v. Elgain Ricky Wilson, 710 S.W.2d 539 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1986).

         On July 1, 2016, the Defendant filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence and/or illegal conviction pursuant to Tennessee Criminal Procedure Rule 36.1. In the motion, the Defendant contended his sentences and convictions were a "nullity and illegal" because his guilty plea to felony murder was based upon "insufficient evidence [because] Mr. Edward Meirs was never killed in the perpetration of a robbery as charged in the indictment." The Defendant argued the evidence showed that Margaret Meirs was the robbery victim and that Joseph and Anne White were victims of assaults with the intent to commit robberies. The Defendant noted that the indictment count alleging first degree felony murder stated that Mr. Meirs was killed during the commission of the robbery of Mr. Meirs. The Defendant asserted that because Mr. Meirs was killed during the robbery of Mrs. Meirs, insufficient evidence supported his guilty plea and conviction for felony murder, that his guilty plea was unknowing and involuntary, and that his sentences were illegal. The Defendant also asserted that trial counsel coerced and threatened the Defendant that he could receive the death penalty if the case went to trial and that therefore, his guilty plea was involuntary and that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel.

         On October 10, 2016, the trial court summarily dismissed the Defendant's motion. In its written order, the court found that the Defendant's allegations were related to sufficiency of the evidence and ineffective assistance of counsel and that the allegations, even if true, did not merit relief pursuant to Rule 36.1. This appeal followed.

         The Defendant contends that the trial court erred by summarily dismissing his motion. He argues that his motion states a colorable claim for relief on the same grounds stated in his motion. T he State responds that the trial court properly dismissed the motion. W e agree with the State.

         Tennessee Criminal Procedure Rule 36.1 states, in relevant part, that

(a) Either the defendant or the state may, at any time, seek the correction of an illegal sentence by filing a motion to correct an illegal sentence in the trial court in which the judgment of conviction was entered. For purposes of this rule, an illegal sentence is one that is not authorized by ...

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