Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs Date: January 17, 2018
from the Circuit Court for Wayne County No. 15964 Robert L.
twelve years ago, Petitioner, Ronnie Henry, was convicted at
a jury trial of several counts of robbery involving multiple
victims in Shelby County. On direct appeal, this Court
affirmed the convictions but remanded for resentencing.
State v. Ronnie Henry, No. W2006-00344-CCA-R3-CD,
2008 WL 450459, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 19, 2008),
perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 29, 2008). After
resentencing, this Court affirmed Petitioner's effective
seventy-year sentence. State v. Ronnie Henry, No.
W2009-00089-CCA-R3-CD, 2009 WL 3103823, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App. Sept. 28, 2009), no perm. app. filed.
Petitioner then unsuccessfully sought post-conviction relief.
Ronnie Henry v. State, No. W2014-01786-CCA-R3-PC,
2016 WL 1402951, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Apr. 7, 2016),
perm. app. denied, (Tenn. Sept. 26, 2016). Now,
Petitioner challenges the habeas corpus court's summary
dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief. For the
following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the habeas
R. App. P. 3 Appeal; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed
Henry, Clifton, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Alexander C. Vey, Assistant Attorney General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.
Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J. and Robert L. Holloway, Jr.,
TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE
February 6, 2017, Petitioner filed a petition seeking habeas
corpus relief. In the petition, he alleged that he was
arrested without a warrant and that the affidavit of
complaint was an improper charging instrument. The habeas
corpus court dismissed the petition finding that Petitioner
failed to meet the statutory requirements for the petition.
The habeas corpus court noted that Petitioner failed to: (1)
"include the indictment relevant to his
conviction;" (2) verify the petition by affidavit; and
(3) include a statement that it was his first petition for
habeas corpus relief. The habeas corpus court also determined
that Petitioner was charged on an indictment rather than an
affidavit of complaint and, therefore was "convicted
pursuant to a valid charging instrument and indicted within
the limitations period for the offenses" at issue. The
habeas corpus court concluded that Petitioner failed to state
a cognizable claim, and dismissed the petition for relief.
Petitioner filed a timely notice of appeal.
argues on appeal that the habeas corpus court improperly
dismissed the petition for relief. Specifically, he complains
that he was arrested without a warrant and charged by
complaint, rendering any indictment issued invalid. Moreover,
Petitioner insists that the statute of limitations expired
prior to the commencement of prosecution. The State insists
that the habeas corpus court properly dismissed the petition.
Tennessee, "[a]ny person imprisoned or restrained of his
liberty, under any pretense whatsoever. . . may prosecute a
writ of habeas corpus, to inquire into the cause of such
imprisonment and restraint." T.C.A. § 29-21-101.
While there is no statute of limitations for filing a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus, the grounds upon which
habeas corpus relief may be granted are narrow. Hickman
v. State, 153 S.W.3d 16, 20 (Tenn. 2004). Habeas corpus
relief is only available when it appears on the face of the
judgment or record that the convicting court was without
jurisdiction to convict or sentence the defendant, or that
the defendant is still imprisoned despite the expiration of
his sentence. Id.; Archer v. State, 851
S.W.2d 157, 164 (Tenn. 1993). In other words, habeas corpus
relief may be granted only when the judgment is void, rather
than merely voidable. Summers v. State, 212 S.W.3d
251, 255 (Tenn. 2007). A void judgment is "one
that is facially invalid because the court did not have the
statutory authority to render such judgment."
Id. at 256 (citing Dykes v. Compton, 978
S.W.2d 528, 529 (Tenn. 1998)). A voidable judgment is
"one that is facially valid and requires proof beyond
the face of the record or judgment to establish its
invalidity." Id. The petitioner bears the
burden of showing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that
his judgment is void. Wyatt v. State, 24 S.W.3d 319,
322 (Tenn. 2000). Because the issue of whether habeas corpus
relief should be granted is a question of law, we conduct a
de novo review without any presumption of correctness given
to the decision of the lower court. Summers, 212
S.W.3d at 255.
requirements for habeas corpus petitions are "mandatory
and must be followed scrupulously." Id. at 260;
Hickman, 153 S.W.3d at 19-20. A petition must state:
(1) That the person in whose behalf the writ is sought, is
illegally restrained of liberty, and the person by whom and
place where restrained, mentioning the name of such person,
if known, and, if unknown, describing the ...