Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs August 15, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 96574 G. Scott
Greenlee, the Defendant, appeals the summary denial of his
"Motion to Correct Sentence" filed pursuant to
Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. Because the motion
failed to state a colorable claim, we affirm the trial
court's summary denial of the motion.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Greenlee, Pro Se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Zachary T. Hinkle, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P.
Weirich, District Attorney General; and Randall E. Nichols,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Camille R. McMullen, JJ.,
L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE
Factual and Procedural Background
2011, the Defendant was indicted on four counts of Class A
felony rape of a child and three counts of Class B felony
aggravated sexual battery. The Defendant pleaded guilty to
two counts of aggravated sexual battery and was sentenced
pursuant to a plea agreement to consecutive eleven-year
sentences. In 2016, the Defendant filed a "Motion to
Correct Sentence" pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal
Procedure 36.1 ("the Rule 36.1 motion"). The Rule
36.1 motion stated that the Defendant did not understand the
term "consecutive sentences" because he had an
"organic mental disorder" and had been "deemed
disabled" by the Social Security Administration. The
Rule 36.1 motion does not claim that the sentence is illegal.
The trial court found that the Rule 36.1 motion did not state
a colorable claim and summarily denied the Rule 36.1 motion
without a hearing. The Defendant appealed.
appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred in
dismissing the Rule 36.1 motion because his sentence was
"not authorized by the applicable statutes or that
directly contravenes an applicable statute."
See Tenn. R. Crim. P. 36.1(a)(2). The State argues
the trial court correctly determined that the Rule 36.1
motion failed to state a colorable claim. We agree with the
relevant to this appeal, Rule 36.1(a)(1) allows a defendant,
at any time, to seek the correction of an illegal sentence by
filing a motion in the trial court in which the judgment of
conviction was entered. Tenn. R. Crim. P. 36.1(a)(1).
Subsection (a)(2) provides: "[f]or purposes of this
rule, an illegal sentence is one that is not authorized by
the applicable statutes or that directly contravenes an
applicable statute." Tenn. R. Crim. P. 36.1(a)(2).
Subsection (b)(2) authorizes the trial court to summarily
deny the motion without a hearing if the motion fails to
state a colorable claim. Tenn. R. Crim. P. 36.1(b)(2).
Although the term "colorable claim" is not defined
in Rule 36.1, our supreme court has held "that the
definition of 'colorable claim' in Rule 28, section
2(H) of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court applies to
the term "colorable claim" in Rule 36.1. State
v. Wooden, 478 S.W.3d 585, 587 (Tenn. 2015). As relevant
to this case, Rule 28, section 2(H) provides: "A
colorable claim is a claim . . . that, if taken as true, in
light most favorable to [the Defendant], would entitle [the
Defendant] to relief[.]" "Whether the
Defendant's motion states a colorable claim for
correction of an illegal sentence under Rule 36.1 is a
question of law, to which de novo review applies."
Id. at 589.
Defendant pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery of a
child less than thirteen years of age, a Class B felony.
Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-504(a)(4). The Defendant was
sentenced to eleven years on each of the two counts as a
Range I, standard offender. The sentencing range for a Range
I, standard offender convicted of "a Class B felony [is]
not less than eight (8) nor more than twelve (12)
years." Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-112(a)(2). The