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Ruby-Ruiz v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 3, 2018

UGENIO DEJESUS RUBY-RUIZ
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Session: February 13, 2018

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2011-C-2109 Steve R. Dozier, Judge No. M2017-00834-CCA-R3-PC

         Following a trial, a Davidson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Ugenio Dejesus Ruby-Ruiz, of three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor; five counts of aggravated sexual battery; nine counts of rape of a child; one count of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor; and two counts of rape, for which the trial court imposed an effective sentence of 121 years in the Department of Correction. The Petitioner subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which was denied following a hearing. Upon review, we conclude that the pro se petition was filed outside the one-year statute of limitations applicable to post-conviction proceedings. However, because we are unable to determine from the record whether due process requires the tolling of the statute of limitations, we vacate the post-conviction court's order and remand the case to the post-conviction court for a determination of whether due process tolling applies.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal Court Vacated and Remanded

          Manuel B. Russ, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ugenio Dejesus Ruby-Ruiz.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Nicholas S. Bolduc, Assistant Attorney General; Glenn R. Funk, District Attorney General; and Tammy Meade, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE

         Factual and Procedural Background

         In an opinion filed May 12, 2015, this court affirmed the Petitioner's judgments of conviction. State v. Ugenio Ruby-Ruiz, No. M2013-01999-CCA-R3-CD, 2015 WL 2227933, at *1-4 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 12, 2015), perm. app. dismissed (Tenn. Mar. 23, 2016). On August 21, 2015, the Petitioner filed an untimely application for permission to appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 11, along with a motion to accept the late-filed application. See Tenn. R. App. P. 11(b). In the motion to accept the late-filed application, appellate counsel explained the delay in filing the application by stating, "I for the last few months I have been dealing with a private issue concerning my son which has taken almost all my attention." On March 23, 2016, the Tennessee Supreme Court entered an order dismissing the untimely application for discretionary review. State v. Ugenio Ruby-Ruiz, No. M2013-01999-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. Mar. 23, 2016) (order dismissing the Petitioner's application for permission to appeal). Specifically, the supreme court's order stated:

The Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application for permission to appeal filed on behalf of [the Petitioner] is untimely. [The Petitioner] has filed a motion to accept a late-filed application. Upon due consideration, the motion is denied. The Court declines to waive the time limit in the interest of justice. See Tenn. R. App. P. 11(b). Accordingly, the application is dismissed.

Id.

         On June 27, 2016, the Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief, along with a motion to late-file the petition. In an initial order filed June 30, 2016, the post-conviction court noted that the petition was untimely, but the court set the matter for a hearing to determine whether due process required the tolling of the one-year statute of limitations. However, in an amended order filed July 13, 2016, the post-conviction court found that the petition was filed within the statute of limitations based on "the Tennessee Supreme Court's denial of the [P]etitioner's Rule 11 application filed on March 23, 2016[.]" Following the appointment of counsel, the Petitioner filed an amended petition, asserting that the Petitioner was denied the effective assistance counsel at trial and on appeal. At the ...


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