Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs June 20, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Trousdale County No. 2016-CR-4572
John D. Wootten, Jr., Judge
Petitioner, Joey Godwin, appeals the Trousdale County Circuit
Court's denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief
from his 2007 convictions for three counts of possession with
the intent to sell 0.5 gram or more of cocaine and his
effective ten-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that the
habeas corpus court erred by summarily denying relief because
his concurrent sentences were in direct contravention of
Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-20-111(b) (2014). We
affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Godwin, Hartsville, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent
C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; and Tom P. Thompson, District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which Alan E. Glenn and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.
H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE.
case involves the Petitioner's criminal conduct in three
cases. On November 22, 2003, the Petitioner was arrested in
case number 16769 for possession with the intent to sell 0.5
gram or more of cocaine. On December 6, 2003, the Petitioner
posted a bond and was released from custody pending the
outcome of the case. O n January 13, 2004, the Petitioner was
arrested in case number 16770 for possession with the intent
to sell 0.5 gram or more of cocaine. Case number 16769 was
pending at the time of the Petitioner's arrest in case
number 16770. On October 5, 2004, the Petitioner posted a
bond and was released from custody relative to case number
16770. O n May 1, 2005, while the two previous cases were
pending, the Petitioner was arrested in case number 7923 for
possession with the intent to sell 0.5 gram or more of
cocaine. The judgments reflect that the Petitioner pleaded
guilty as charged in each case and received concurrent
ten-year sentences pursuant to a plea agreement. The
judgments were entered on November 9, 2007.
February 1, 2011, the Petitioner was arrested in case number
9061 for possession with the intent to sell and to deliver
0.5 gram or more of cocaine. Also on February 1, 2011, the
Petitioner was arrested in case number 9088 for possession
with the intent to sell and to deliver 0.5 gram or more of
cocaine. On August 22, 2012, the Petitioner was found guilty
after a trial in case number 9061 for the sale but was
acquitted of the delivery charge. The Petitioner was,
likewise, convicted in case number 9088 of the sale but
acquitted of the delivery charge. After a sentencing hearing,
the trial court imposed consecutive thirty-year sentences for
each conviction and ordered the effective sixty-year sentence
be served consecutively with any other sentence the
Petitioner was serving at the time of sentencing. The
transcript from the sentencing hearing attached to the habeas
corpus petition reflects that the Petitioner was released on
parole in case numbers 16769, 16770, and 7923 at the time the
offenses were committed in case numbers 9061 and 9088. The
Petitioner appealed his convictions and sentences in case
numbers 9061 and 9088, and this court denied relief. See
State v. Joey Godwin, No. W2013-01602-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL
8 95497 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 6, 2014), perm. app.
denied (Tenn. Sept. 18, 2014). The Petitioner also
sought post-conviction relief in the same case numbers. T he
post-conviction court denied relief, and this court affirmed
the post-conviction court's determinations. See Joey
Godwin v. State, No. W2015-01535-CCA-R3-PC, 2016 WL
7732245 (Tenn. Crim. App. July 13, 2016), perm. app.
denied (Tenn. Nov. 22, 2016).
December 1, 2016, the Petitioner filed the instant petition
for a writ of habeas corpus. He contended that his
convictions and ten-year concurrent sentences imposed in case
numbers 16769, 16770, and 7923 were void because the
sentences were in direct contravention of Tennessee Code
Annotated section 40-20-111(b), which requires consecutive
service when a defendant commits a felony while released on
bail and the defendant is convicted of both offenses. He
argued his concurrent sentences were illegal because he was
released on bond in case number 16769 when the offenses were
committed in case numbers 16770 and 7923. In the petition, he
acknowledged that his motivation for obtaining habeas corpus
relief is to have his convictions and sentences vacated in
case numbers 16769, 16770, and 7923 because those convictions
were used to enhance his sentences in case numbers 9061 and
9088. The Petitioner also conceded that his sentences in case
numbers 16769, 16770, and 7923 had expired but stated that he
intends to challenge the enhanced sentences in case numbers
9061 and 9088 if this court were to grant habeas corpus
relief in case numbers 16769, 16770, and 7923. He requested
that his sentences be vacated because they were illegal and
that he be permitted to withdraw his guilty pleas.
habeas corpus court summarily denied relief after reviewing
the record. The court found that the Petitioner negotiated an
effective ten-year sentence in case numbers 16769, 16770, and
7923 and received the benefit of concurrent sentencing. T he
court found that Code section 40-20-111(b) required
consecutive service when a defendant commits an offense while
released on bail. The court found, however, that the
judgments were not void and that the trial court had
jurisdiction to enter the judgments. The court found that
Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(c)(2) required
consecutive service of the Petitioner's sentences
regardless of whether the judgments explicitly specify
consecutive service. The court found that Code section
29-21-101(b)(1) of the Habeas Corpus Act prevented habeas
corpus relief when a defendant is restrained of his liberty
pursuant to pleading guilty with a negotiated agreement
relative to sentencing. The court determined that the
sentences were merely voidable, not void, and denied relief.
This appeal followed.
Petitioner contends that the habeas corpus court erred by
summarily denying relief. He argues that his sentences in
case numbers 16769, 16770, and 7923 are illegal because our
statutes and rules of procedure require consecutive service.
T he State concedes that the ten-year sentences should have
been imposed consecutively but that the Petitioner is not
entitled to habeas corpus relief because he received
concurrent sentences based upon a negotiated plea agreement
pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-21-101(b) and
because the sentences have expired.
corpus relief is generally available to "[a]ny person
imprisoned or restrained of liberty" whose judgment is
void or whose sentence has expired. T.C.A. § 29-21-101
(2012); see Tucker v. Morrow, 335 S.W.3d 116, 119-20
(Tenn. Crim. App. 2009). A petitioner has the burden of
proving by a preponderance of the evidence that a judgment is
void or that a sentence has expired. State v.
Davenport, 980 S.W.2d 407, 409 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1998).
A void judgment exists if it appears from the face of the
judgment or the record that the convicting court lacked
jurisdiction or authority to sentence the defendant or that
the defendant's sentence has expired. Archer v.
State, 851 S.W.2d 157, 161 (Tenn. 1993); see Moody
v. State, 160 S.W.3d 512, 515 (Tenn. 2005). In contrast,
"[a] voidable judgment is one that is facially valid ...