Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs August 8, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2013-C-2425
Seth W. Norman, Judge
Petitioner, Thomas Ernest Young, appeals as of right from the
Davidson County Criminal Court's summary dismissal of his
petition for a writ of habeas corpus. He claims entitlement
to habeas corpus relief, alleging that his guilty-pleaded
conviction for Class C felony possession of cocaine is void
because the cocaine was obtained following his unlawful
arrest, because he was the victim of vindictive prosecution,
because he received ineffective assistance of counsel, and
because his plea resulted from coercion. Alternatively, he
submits that we should treat his petition as one seeking
post-conviction relief and that the one-year statute of
limitations should be tolled due to his mental incompetence.
Following our review, we conclude that the Petitioner has
failed to state a cognizable claim for habeas corpus relief
and, furthermore, that tolling of the one-year limitations
period for filing a post-conviction petition is not required.
Therefore, we affirm summary dismissal of his petition.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Ernest Young, Hartsville, Tennessee, pro se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter, and
Courtney R. Orr, Assistant Attorney General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.
Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Robert W. Wedemeyer and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE
Davidson County grand jury charged the Petitioner with
possessing, on May 30, 2013, 0.5 grams or more of cocaine
with the intent to sell or deliver. See Tenn. Code
Ann. § 39-17-417(a)(4), (c)(1). He thereafter pled
guilty, on April 17, 2014, to the lesser-included offense of
possession of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine with the intent
to sell, a Class C felony. See Tenn. Code Ann.
§ 39-17-417(c)(2)(A). In exchange for his plea, the
Petitioner received a six-year sentence as a Range I,
standard offender to be served in the Department of
Correction and consecutively to a prior "parole
case." Judgment was entered that same day, April 17,
2014,  and reflects that the Petitioner was
"to report" a week later, on April 24, 2014.
March 21, 2016, the Petitioner, pro se, filed a petition for
writ of habeas corpus in the Davidson County Criminal Court,
asserting that his conviction was void: (1) because the
Petitioner was subjected to an illegal
Terry stop and, therefore, the drugs were
illegally obtained in violation of his Fourth Amendment
rights; (2) because the Petitioner was the "victim of
selective prosecution, racial discrimination, and
overreaching by police and/or police misconduct"; (3)
because trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a
motion to suppress the drugs and for providing incorrect
advice regarding the Petitioner's bond; and (4) because
the Petitioner was coerced into signing the plea agreement.
The habeas corpus court dismissed this petition on May 11,
2016, finding that the Petitioner was incarcerated in the
Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville, Tennessee,
and that the Petitioner had not filed the petition in the
court most convenient to him or provided any reason for
filing the petition in Davidson County, the county of
conviction. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-21-105.
Petitioner filed a second pro se petition in the Davidson
County Criminal Court on September 23, 2016, asserting the
same grounds for relief. The Petitioner further noted,
The [P]etitioner is currently being housed at Trousdale
Turner Correctional Center. He is on the list to be
transferred to Riverbend in Nashville, TN, Davidson
County. Also, the [P]etitioner filed a petition in
Trousdale County. The petition was denied[;] the court stated
it didn't have jurisdiction to rule on the petition.
These are the reasons for filing in Davidson County.
Petitioner attached a letter from the Trousdale County
Criminal Court Judge, informing the Petitioner that the
Trousdale County Criminal Court did not have subject matter
jurisdiction to rule on the petition because the Petitioner
"ha[d] never been before [that] [c]ourt."
Davidson County Criminal Court summarily dismissed this
second petition by written order filed on October 17, 2016.
Citing to the letter from the Trousdale County Criminal Court
Judge, the habeas corpus court first noted, "[T]he
Petitioner appears to have pursued such a writ in Trousdale
County, where it was denied because the facts alleged[ly]
occurred in Davidson County." For that reason, the
habeas corpus court decided to consider the petition on its
merits. In addressing the merits of the petition, the habeas
corpus court concluded that the Petitioner had failed to
state a cognizable claim for relief via a writ for habeas
corpus and that if the petition was treated as one seeking
post-conviction relief, it was time-barred. Moreover, the
habeas corpus court found that the Petitioner "asserted
no grounds for which the time bar might be waived."
Petitioner's notice of appeal document was filed with the
Davidson County Court Clerk on November 21, 2016. The
Petitioner stated therein that he was not "served"
with the habeas corpus court's order until November 15,
2016, and that he was executing the notice of appeal document
on November 17, 2016. According to the Petitioner, the habeas
corpus court's order was first mailed to the
"SPND" or "Special Need Facility" before
being rerouted to the Trousdale Turner Correctional ...