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State v. Lyons

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

August 15, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
MONTREAL LYONS

          ASSIGNED ON BRIEFS FEBRUARY 7, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 03-01051 James C. Beasley, Jr., Judge

         Defendant, Montreal Lyons, appeals from the trial court's dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. Defendant contends that his sentence is illegal because the trial court imposed the sentence for offenses that occurred in 2002 under the 2005 amendments to the sentencing act without an ex post facto waiver signed by Defendant. The State responds that the trial court properly dismissed Defendant's motion because he failed to state a colorable claim for relief. We agree with the State. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Cristy C. Cooper Davis, Greenfield, Tennessee, for the appellant, Montreal Lyons.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Robert W. Wilson, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Kenya Smith, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Camille R. McMullen, and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          THOMAS T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE

         Procedural history

         Defendant was convicted of four counts of aggravated robbery and one count of especially aggravated kidnapping. State v. Montreal Lyons, No. W2006-02445-CCA-R3-CD, 2008 WL 2699657 (Tenn. Crim. App., July 9, 2008), perm. app. denied (Tenn., Jan. 20, 2009). The trial court merged the four aggravated robbery convictions into two convictions, and Defendant was sentenced to twelve years for each aggravated robbery conviction and twenty years for his especially aggravated kidnapping conviction. His sentences were ordered to run consecutively, for an effective sentence of 44 years' incarceration.

         The offenses occurred on May 14, 2002, and the facts underlying Defendant's convictions were summarized by a panel of this court in the opinion on direct appeal. Id. The panel noted that Defendant "ma[de] no argument as to whether the trial court utilized the pre- or post-2005 version of the sentencing act to determine his sentence." Id. at *4. Defendant also did not raise the issue in the appeal from the denial of post-conviction relief. Montreal Lyons v. State, No. W2010-00798-CCA-R3-PC, 2011 WL 3630330 (Tenn. Crim. App., Aug. 18, 2011), perm. app. denied (Tenn., Dec. 14, 2011).

         On December 7, 2015, Defendant filed a pro se Rule 36.1 motion to correct an illegal sentence. The trial court appointed an attorney to represent Defendant and held a hearing on the motion on April 1, 2016. At the hearing, the State stipulated and the trial court recognized that Defendant was sentenced under the 2005 amendments to the sentencing act.

         In its written order dismissing the motion, the trial court found that the parties "agreed that the sentencing procedure was not proper under [State v.] Gomez[, 239 S.W.3d 733 (Tenn. 2007)]. The court concluded, however, that the sentence was not illegal. The court stated:

The sentence was authorized by applicable statutes and was within the proper range of punishment for [Defendant]. There was a valid justification for the sentence imposed based strictly on [Defendant]'s prior criminal history, notwithstanding the other factors ...

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