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Sledge v. Tennessee Department of Correction

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

September 28, 2017

FREDRICK SLEDGE
v.
TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, ET AL.

          Assigned on Briefs September 1, 2017

         Appeal from the Chancery Court for Davidson County No. 14-1041-III Ellen H. Lyle, Chancellor

         Appellant, an inmate in the custody of Appellee Tennessee Department of Correction, appeals the trial court's dismissal of his petition for declaratory judgment. Specifically, Appellant challenges the Tennessee Department of Correction's calculation of his jail credit on his criminal sentence. We conclude that the calculation of Appellant's jail credit comports with the judgment of the criminal court. Affirmed and remanded.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery Court Affirmed and Remanded

          Fredrick Sledge, Only, Tennessee, pro se.

          Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter, Andree Blumstein, Solicitor General, and Jennifer L. Brenner, Senior Counsel, for the appellees, Tennessee Department of Correction and State Attorney General.

          Kenny Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Charles D. Susano, Jr. and W. Neal McBrayer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          KENNY ARMSTRONG, JUDGE.

         I. Background

         Fredrick Sledge ("Appellant") is an inmate in the custody of Appellee, the Tennessee Department of Correction ("TDOC"). On December 10, 1991, Mr. Sledge robbed and murdered Johnny Harris. In November 1993, Mr. Sledge was convicted of first degree murder, and especially aggravated robbery arising from the robbery and murder of Mr. Harris. Mr. Sledge received the death sentence for the murder charge and was sentenced to twenty years in prison for the especially aggravated robbery charge. Mr. Sledge appealed his convictions for felony murder and especially aggravated robbery. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed both convictions, but reversed the death sentence and remanded for resentencing. State v. Sledge, No. 02C01-9405-CR-00089, 1997 WL 730245 (Tenn. Crim. App., Nov. 25, 1997). The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed. State v. Sledge, 15 S.W.3d 93 (Tenn. 2000) (affirmed as modified). Following remand, by order of August 9, 2001 the criminal trial court resentenced Mr. Sledge to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole for the first degree murder conviction. These sentences were ordered to be served consecutively to each other and consecutively to two convictions for aggravated robbery.

         On July 16, 2014, Mr. Sledge filed a petition for declaratory judgment in the Chancery Court for Davidson County ("trial court"), asserting that the TDOC violated the law by not allowing him to meet with the Board of Probation and Parole, and by not crediting him with 3, 521 days of pretrial jail credit, which he was awarded by the criminal trial court in August 2001 when he was resentenced. The TDOC filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The TDOC supported its motion with the affidavit of Candace Whisman, the TDOC's Director of Sentence Management Services. The trial court treated the TDOC's motion as a motion for summary judgment and found in favor of Appellees. Mr. Sledge appealed to this Court in Sledge v. Tenn. Dep't of Cotr., No. M2014-02564-COA-R3-CV, 2015 WL 7428578 (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 20, 2015) ("Sledge /"). In Sledge I, we vacated the trial court's grant of summary judgment, finding that there was a dispute of material fact as to the number of pretrial jail credit days due to Appellant. Specifically, the criminal trial court's judgment stated that Mr. Sledge would receive 3, 521 days of pretrial jail credit, but the TDOC's Sentence Management Services awarded him only 516 days of pretrial jail credit.

         Following remand, the Shelby County District Attorney's Office filed, in the criminal trial court, a Motion to Correct Clerical Mistake Without a Hearing Regarding Pretrial Jail Credit in 92-04081.[1] On April 19, 2016, the criminal court trial judge, who signed the original order sentencing Mr. Sledge to life on August 9, 2001, signed a "Corrected Order" awarding Mr. Sledge pretrial jail credit of 211 days for the time period between December 18, 1991 and July 15, 1992. Subsequently, the TDOC filed a second affidavit from Ms. Whisman, dated June 16, 2016, which stated that the "[t]otal jail credit now applied to Case 9204081 life sentence is 211 days for the time period of December 18, 1991 to July 15, 1992" On July 27, 2016, the trial court entered a Memorandum and Order Closing Case Upon Carrying Out Remand finding that the TDOC complied with this Court's Sledge I Opinion and that the case was final. On August 5, 2016, Mr. Sledge filed a Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment, which the trial court denied by order of September 20, 2016. Mr. Sledge appeals.

         II. Issues

         Appellant raises three issues for review. However, we perceive that there are two ...


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