Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
LADARIUS L. REFFEGEE
BLAIR LEIBACH, WARDEN
Assigned on Briefs December 13, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Trousdale County No. 2017-CV-4606
John D. Wootten, Jr., Judge
Petitioner, Ladarius L. Reffegee, appeals from the Trousdale
County Criminal Court's summary dismissal of his petition
for writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, the Petitioner argues
that his judgments of conviction and sentences are void
because an arrest warrant was not issued prior to his arrest,
divesting the court of jurisdiction to sentence and convict
him. The State asserts that the Petitioner failed to show
that his judgments were void. Upon review, we affirm the
judgment of the habeas corpus court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Ladarius Leon Reffegee, Pro Se, Clifton, Tennessee.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie
E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, Jr.,
District Attorney General; and Amy Eisenbeck, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which Norma McGee Ogle and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.
CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE
trial, the Petitioner was convicted by a Davidson County jury
of second degree murder and carrying a handgun with the
intent to go armed. Ladarius L. Reffegee v. State,
No. M2008-02197-CCA-R3-PC, 2009 WL 3400683, at *1 (Tenn.
Crim. App. Oct. 20, 2009). The Petitioner also pleaded guilty
to possession of more than 0.5 grams of cocaine with intent
to sell. Id. The trial court imposed an effective
twenty-three-year sentence. Id. This court affirmed
his convictions on direct appeal, and the Tennessee Supreme
Court denied permission to appeal. State v. Ladarius L.
Reffegee, No. M2005- 02891-CCA-R3-CD, 2007 WL 1836697
(Tenn. Crim. App. June 27, 2017), perm. app. denied,
(Tenn. Oct. 15, 2007).
Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which
was dismissed by the post-conviction court. Ladarius L.
Reffegee, 2009 WL 3400683, at *1. This court affirmed
the dismissal, and the Petitioner did not file an application
for permission to appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court.
March 8, 2017, the Petitioner filed a pro se petition for
writ of habeas corpus in the Trousdale County Circuit Court
challenging the validity of his indictments. He claimed that
the trial court lacked jurisdiction because the State
"failed to obtain an arrest warrant charging him with
the offense at the time of the trial[, w]hich rendered the
judgment[s] of conviction and . . . sentence[s] fatal
void." The habeas corpus court summarily
dismissed his petition on May 9, 2017, determining that the
"arguments and assertions by the petitioner lack
merit." Further, the court held that it could
"glean from the record that the defendant was indicted
by the Davidson County Grand Jury[, and] [t]he indictments by
the Grand Jury of Davidson County cured any defects, if any
existed, with regard to an affidavit of complaint and a
warrant." The Petitioner filed a timely notice of appeal
on June 5, 2017. In the notice of appeal, he asserted that
the habeas corpus court "denied his Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus Relief, without providing him with an
evidentiary hearing to the Court of Criminal Appeal in
appeal, the Petitioner contends that his judgments of
conviction and sentences are void because a valid arrest
warrant was not issued prior to his arrest on July 15, 2004,
causing the statute of limitations on his prosecution to
expire and divesting the court of jurisdiction to sentence
him. He appears to argue that the affidavit of complaint
issued after his arrest did not constitute a charging
instrument, was void ab initio, and that the failure to have
an arrest warrant at the time of arrest could not be cured by
subsequent indictments. The Petitioner also appears to
contend that the arrest warrant was the only method by which
prosecution could commence and that the indictments issued
three months later did not initiate prosecution.
Specifically, the Petitioner asserts that the State's
method of commencing prosecution using an affidavit of
complaint, but no arrest warrant, violated "Tenn. R.
Crim. P. 4(c)(1), Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-6-201, and the
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States
Constitution." The State responds that the habeas corpus
court properly determined that the Petitioner's
indictments cured any alleged defects in the arrest warrant,
giving the trial court jurisdiction to impose the
convictions. After review, we agree with the State.
determination of whether habeas corpus relief should be
granted is a question of law." Faulkner v.
State, 226 S.W.3d 358, 361 (Tenn. 2007) (citing Hart
v. State, 21 S.W.3d 901, 903 (Tenn. 2000)). Accordingly,
our review is de novo without a presumption of correctness.
Summers v. State, 212 S.W.3d 251, 255 ...