Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Webb v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

June 29, 2017


          Session April 11, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 03-07591 James C. Beasley, Jr., Judge

         The Petitioner, Robert Webb, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief as untimely upon its conclusion that the Petitioner's mental incompetence did not toll the statute of limitations. After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

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

          Lance R. Chism, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Webb.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Caitlin Smith, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Karen Cook, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Alan E. Glenn, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Timothy L. Easter and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.


          ALAN E. GLENN, JUDGE


         On November 30, 2005, the Petitioner pled guilty to first-degree murder, aggravated rape, aggravated burglary, and aggravated robbery in exchange for an effective sentence of life without the possibility of parole. See Robert Lewis Webb v. State, No. W2013-01250-CCA-R3-PC, 2014 WL 4244028, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Aug. 27, 2014), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Jan. 20, 2015). Years later, on November 14, 2011, the Petitioner filed an untimely pro se petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that his guilty plea was involuntary, that his confession was coerced, that his trial counsel was ineffective, and that he possessed newly discovered evidence. Id. Counsel was appointed to represent the Petitioner and filed an amended petition and additional pleadings, claiming that a new rule of constitutional law should be applied retroactively to the Petitioner's case, that the post-conviction statute of limitations should be tolled because the Petitioner was mentally incompetent during the time that the petition should have been filed, and that trial counsel gave the Petitioner both improper and insufficient advice. Id. at *1-2. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition without an evidentiary hearing, and this court remanded for a hearing to determine whether due process required that the statute of limitations be tolled. Id. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition, finding that due process did not require tolling of the statute of limitations in the Petitioner's case. The Petitioner appealed.

         The proof presented at the July 7, 2016 evidentiary hearing is summarized below.

         Betty Hutcherson testified that she served as the mental health coordinator at Whiteville Correctional Facility from 2003 until 2014. She had an educational background in mental health counseling, and she worked with doctors and other counselors to determine the best mental health treatment for inmates. She worked with the Petitioner from the time he arrived at the facility in February 2006 and had frequent interaction with him. The Petitioner was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, had an IQ of 75 and was classified as mildly mentally retarded, and suffered from depression.

         Ms. Hutcherson testified that the Petitioner was occasionally sent to the special needs facility in Nashville when his symptoms worsened. For instance, in March 2007, the Petitioner attempted suicide and was sent to the special needs facility until October 2008. Ms. Hutcherson agreed that the Petitioner resided in the Whiteville Correctional Facility "all of [20]06, a little bit tail end of [20]08, some of [20]09, five or six months of [20]09, and then from May through November of [20]11." He was eventually sent to the special needs facility permanently because his mental health condition had worsened.

         Ms. Hutcherson testified that the Petitioner was "seriously and persistently mentally ill." His behavior was not consistent over the years - "[t]here were times that he was worse." The Petitioner's treatment plan involved compliance with taking his medication, including his medication for diabetes. He was also to meet with Ms. Hutcherson, a case manager, and a psychiatrist on a regular basis. During 2006, Ms. Hutcherson met with the Petitioner daily for fifteen to thirty minutes. At these meetings, she encouraged the Petitioner to have better hygiene and take his medication. Despite being diabetic, the Petitioner sometimes traded parts of his meals with another inmate for sweets. The Petitioner was prescribed an antipsychotic medication, as well as an antidepressant. At times the Petitioner was compliant with taking his medication; at other times he was not.

         Ms. Hutcherson testified that the Petitioner's mental health deteriorated when he did not take his medication. It was during these periods that the Petitioner tried to commit suicide, which he attempted at least three or four times while at Whiteville Correctional Facility. Due to his mental health issues, the Petitioner was not capable of working a typical "prison job, " but he was able to do a "medical or mental health incentive job" like feeding the fish in her fish tank. Ms. Hutcherson recalled that the Petitioner enjoyed playing cards with other inmates. However, he cheated during the games, and other inmates would "take advantage" of him by duping him out of commissary items. Other than participating in card games, the Petitioner was not social and stayed to himself. Ms. Hutcherson said that the Petitioner had limited reading and writing skills, and other inmates had to help him fill out requests for commissary, legal, or medical help. The Petitioner's medical records reflected that he had a second-grade reading level.

         Ms. Hutcherson recalled that while the Petitioner was at the Whiteville prison, Carlito Adams, an inmate who provided legal services to other inmates, helped the Petitioner with legal work. In 2011, the Petitioner asked Ms. Hutcherson to write a letter describing his mental health issues. Ms. Hutcherson said that, in her opinion, the Petitioner was "very low functioning" and would not have been capable of performing his own legal work. She opined that, due to the Petitioner's mental illness and IQ, he would not have been able to understand legal issues or make rational decisions among his options.

         Ms. Hutcherson testified that the Petitioner sometimes asked her to read letters to him from family members because he did not want other inmates reading his personal letters. She acknowledged that the Petitioner was able to follow simple ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.