Assigned on Briefs May 2, 2018
from the Circuit Court for Tipton County No. 3627 Joe H.
Walker, III, Judge
Donaven Brown, appeals the trial court's denial of his
motion to correct an illegal sentence filed pursuant to
Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1. After careful
consideration, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Donaven Brown, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Garrett D. Ward, Assistant Attorney General; and Mark E.
Davidson, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Alan E. Glenn and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE
approaching twenty years ago, Defendant stabbed and killed an
inmate while they were both incarcerated at a prison in
Clifton, Tennessee. State v. Donaven Brown, No.
W1999-00629-CCA-R3-CD, 2000 WL 1346411, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App. Sept. 14, 2000), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Mar.
19, 2001). As a result, Defendant was convicted of
first-degree murder and felony possession of a weapon in a
penal institution. Id. In 1999, he was sentenced to
life without parole for the murder conviction and three years
for the possession of a weapon conviction, to be served
concurrently. Id. Defendant was unsuccessful in his
direct appeal. Id. Defendant was also denied habeas
corpus relief. Donaven Brown v. Wayne Brandon,
Warden, No. M2005-00419-CCA-R3-HC, 2005 WL 2205897
(Tenn. Crim. App. Sept. 6, 2005), no perm. app.
filed. In each appeal, this Court affirmed the decision
of the lower court. Id.; Donaven Brown,
2000 WL 1346411, at *7.
December 17, 2017, Defendant filed a motion to correct an
illegal sentence under Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure
36.1. Defendant argued his sentence for first-degree murder
was illegal because the trial judge sentenced Defendant to
life without the possibility of parole rather than a jury.
Additionally, Defendant stated that he did not waive his
consent to have the trial court determine his sentence, and
therefore, the trial court lacked jurisdiction to impose a
sentence of life without parole. He also claimed that the
trial court's application of enhancement factors violated
the United States Supreme Court's opinion in Blakely
v. Washington, 542 U.S. 269 (2004). The trial court
summarily denied the motion holding that it did not state a
colorable claim for relief. This appeal ensued. For reasons
set forth below, we affirm the trial court's ruling.
36.1 permits a defendant to seek correction of an unexpired
illegal sentence at any time. See State v. Brown,
479 S.W.3d 200, 211 (Tenn. 2015). "[A]n illegal sentence
is one that is not authorized by the applicable statutes or
that directly contravenes an applicable statute." Tenn.
R. Crim. P. 36.1(a). Our supreme court has interpreted the
meaning of "illegal sentence" as defined in Rule
36.1 and concluded that the definition "is coextensive,
and not broader than, the definition of the term in the
habeas corpus context." State v. Wooden, 478
S.W.3d 585, 594-95 (Tenn. 2015). The court then reviewed the
three categories of sentencing errors: clerical errors (those
arising from a clerical mistake in the judgment form),
appealable errors (those for which the Sentencing Act
specifically provides a right of direct appeal), and fatal
errors (those so profound as to render a sentence illegal and
void). Id. Commenting on appealable errors, the
court stated that those "generally involve attacks on
the correctness of the methodology by which a trial court
imposed sentence." Id. In contrast, fatal
errors include "sentences imposed pursuant to an
inapplicable statutory scheme, sentences designating release
eligibility dates where early release is statutorily
prohibited, sentences that are ordered to be served
concurrently where statutorily required to be served
consecutively, and sentences not authorized by any statute
for the offenses." Id. The court held that only
fatal errors render sentences illegal. Id. A trial
court may summarily dismiss a Rule 36.1 motion if it does not
state a colorable claim for relief. Tenn. R. Crim. P.
previously raised the exact same issue regarding the trial
court sentencing in his pursuit of habeas corpus relief.
Donaven Brown, 2005 WL 2205897, at *1-2. In
affirming the denial of habeas corpus relief, this Court
previously held Defendant's argument regarding the trial
judge sentencing Defendant rather than the jury presented, at
most, a claim that the judgment was merely voidable, not
void. Id. As noted above, the Supreme Court has
interpreted the meaning of "illegal sentence" as
defined in Rule 36.1 and concluded that the definition
"is coextensive, and not broader than, the definition of
the term in the habeas corpus context." Wooden,
478 S.W.3d at 594-95. Indeed, that Court observed the
language of Rule 36.1 "mirrors" the definition of
an illegal sentence for habeas corpus purposes. Id.
Furthermore, this exact claim of an illegal sentence was
previously litigated in Petitioner's habeas corpus
petition, and the doctrine of collateral estoppel prevents us
from revisiting the issue. See Alicia Shayne Lovera v.
State, No. W2014-00794-CCA-HC, 2014 WL 7432893, at *2-3
(Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 30, 2014), perm. app. denied
(Tenn. May 18, 2015). Accordingly, this Court's analysis
in Defendant's habeas corpus action controls the outcome
herein. Id. The trial court correctly ruled that
Defendant did not state a colorable claim for relief pursuant
to Rule 36.1.
aforementioned reasons, we affirm the judgment ...