Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
MICHAEL V. MORRIS
BLAIR LEIBACH, WARDEN
Assigned on Briefs November 14, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Trousdale County No. 2017-CV-4612
John D. Wootten, Jr., Judge
Petitioner, Michael V. Morris, appeals the Trousdale County
Circuit Court's denial of his petition for writ of habeas
corpus in which the Petitioner challenged his classification
as a career offender. We conclude that the Petitioner has
failed to establish that he is entitled to habeas corpus
relief, and we affirm the denial of his petition in
accordance with Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
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; Leslie
E. Price, Senior Counsel; and Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
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 Petitioner was convicted of an aggravated robbery
that occurred in August 2004 and was sentenced as a career
offender to thirty years of incarceration at sixty percent.
This court affirmed the Petitioner'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 Petitioner 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, 2012).
Petitioner 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).
March 24, 2017, the Petitioner filed a third petition for
writ of habeas corpus in which he again challenged his status
as a career offender. He argued that Tennessee Code Annotated
section 40-35-108, the career offender statute, is
unconstitutionally vague and overbroad and conflicts with
Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-117(c), which
addresses the applicability of the sentencing provisions to
convictions committed prior to July 1, 1982. On April 7,
2017, the habeas corpus court entered an order finding that
the Petitioner failed to adhere to the mandatory requirements
for filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus and summarily
denying the petition. The Petitioner filed a timely notice of
I, section 15 of the Tennessee Constitution provides that
"the privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be
suspended, unless when in case of rebellion or invasion, the
General Assembly shall declare the public safety requires
it." Habeas corpus may be sought by "[a]ny person
imprisoned or restrained of liberty ... to inquire into the
cause of such imprisonment and restraint." T.C.A. §
29-21-101(a). The application for the writ must be made by
petition and verified by affidavit. T.C.A. §
29-21-107(a). The granting or denial of a petition for habeas
corpus relief is a question of law reviewed de novo with no
presumption of correctness afforded to the trial court's
findings or conclusions. Edwards v. State, 269
S.W.3d 915, 919 (Tenn. 2008).
the statutory language "appears broad, in fact,
'[h]abeas corpus under Tennessee law has always been, and
remains, a very narrow procedure.'" Id.
(quoting Archer v. State, 851 S.W.2d 157, 162 (Tenn.
1993)). In order to merit relief, a petitioner must establish
that the challenged judgment is not merely voidable, but
void. Hogan v. Mills, 168 S.W.3d 753, 755 (Tenn.
2005). A judgment is voidable when it is "facially valid
and requires proof beyond the face of the record or judgment
to establish its invalidity." Summers v. State,
212 S.W.3d 251, 256 (Tenn. 2007). A void judgment, on the
other hand, is "one that is facially invalid because the
court did not have the statutory authority to render such
judgment." Id. "[T]he question of whether
a judgment is void 'is always one of jurisdiction, that
is, whether the order, judgment or process under attack comes
within the lawful authority of the court ...