Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs November 14, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2005-B-875
Monte Watkins, Judge
Defendant, Michael V. Morris, appeals the trial court's
denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant
to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. On appeal, the
Defendant alleges that he was incorrectly sentenced as a
career offender. Upon reviewing the record and the applicable
law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court pursuant to
Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Court Affirmed Pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of
Michael V. Morris, Hartsville, Tennessee, pro se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Glenn R.
Funk, District Attorney General; and Roger D. Moore,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Norma McGee Ogle and Alan E. Glenn, JJ., joined.
EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE.
2006, the Defendant was convicted of an aggravated robbery
that occurred in August 2004 and was sentenced as a career
offender to thirty years in confinement at sixty percent.
This court affirmed the Defendant's conviction on direct
appeal. See State v. Michael V. Morris, No.
M2006-02738-CCA-R3-CD, 2008 WL 544567, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App. Feb. 25, 2008), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Aug.
25, 2008). The Defendant filed a petition for post-conviction
relief, which the post-conviction court denied, and this
court affirmed the post-conviction court's judgment on
appeal. Michael V. Morris v. State, No.
M2010-02069-CCA-R3-PC, 2012 WL 76905, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App.
Jan. 6, 2012), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Apr. 20,
Defendant has since filed multiple habeas corpus petitions
challenging his status as a career offender, all of which
have been unsuccessful. See Michael V. Morris v.
State, No. M2008-02113-CCA-R3-HC, 2010 WL 2075933, at
*1, 4 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 25, 2010), perm. app.
denied (Tenn. Aug. 26, 2010); Michael V. Morris v.
James Fortner, No. M2008-01022-CCA-R3-HC, 2009 WL
690304, at *1-3 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 26, 2009).
December 19, 2016, the Defendant filed a motion to correct an
illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal
Procedure 36.1, in which he challenged his status as a career
offender. He argued that the trial court erred in relying
upon his pre-1982 convictions from Texas in finding that he
was a career offender. The Defendant did not include any
information as to what the pre-1982 Texas convictions were or
the year in which he was convicted, his criminal history, or
all of the convictions that the trial court considered in
finding that he was a career offender. On May 26, 2017, the
trial court entered an order summarily dismissing the
Petitioner's motion. The Petitioner filed a timely notice
Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 permits a defendant to seek
correction of an illegal sentence. "[A]n 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) (2016). If the
defendant states a "colorable claim" in his motion,
the trial court shall appoint counsel if the defendant is
indigent and not represented by counsel and hold a hearing on
the motion, unless the parties waive the hearing. Tenn. R.
Crim. P. 36.1(b)(3). A "colorable claim" is "a
claim that, if taken as true and viewed in a light most
favorable to the moving party, would entitle the moving party
to relief under 36.1." State v. Wooden, 478
S.W.3d 585, 593 (Tenn. 2015).
definition of an "illegal sentence" under Rule 36.1
"is coextensive, and not broader than, the definition of
the term in the habeas corpus context." Id. at
594-95. Sentencing errors may be clerical, appealable, or
fatal, and only fatal errors render a sentence illegal.
Id. at 595. Clerical errors "'arise simply
from a clerical mistake in filling out the uniform judgment
document' and may be corrected at any time under
Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36." Id.
at 595 (quoting Cantrell v. Easterling, 346 S.W.3d
445, 452 (Tenn. 2011)). Appealable errors are
"'those errors for which the Sentencing Act
specifically provides a right of direct appeal'" and
"generally involve attacks on the correctness of the
methodology by which a trial court imposed sentence."
Id. (quoting Cantrell, 346 S.W.3d at 449).
Fatal errors are "'so profound as to render the
sentence illegal and void'" and include
"sentences imposed pursuant to an inapplicable statutory
scheme, sentences designating release eligibility dates where
early release is statutorily ...