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Dixon v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

June 14, 2018

MATTHEW DIXON
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs March 13, 2018

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County Nos. 98-02267, 98-02268, 98-02270 James M. Lammey, Judge

         The pro se Petitioner, Matthew Dixon, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus and post-conviction DNA analysis. Following our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed

          Matthew Dixon, Clifton, Tennessee, Pro Se.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; and Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Alan E. Glenn, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ALAN E. GLENN, JUDGE

         FACTS and PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The Petitioner was convicted in a Shelby County Criminal Court of premeditated first degree murder and two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping based on his participation with a group of fellow Gangster Disciple members in administering a brutal beating to two other gang members as punishment for their alleged violations of gang rules. State v. Mickens, 123 S.W.3d 355, 361 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2003), perm. app. denied (Tenn. 2003). One of the victims, Ricky Aldridge, who received the less severe punishment of a beating without the use of weapons, survived and testified against the Petitioner at his trial. Id. at 366-67. Among other things, Mr. Aldridge related how the Petitioner and his co-defendants held him and the murder victim, Marshall Shipp, by the backs of their pants before they began beating Mr. Shipp with bats and a tire iron. Mr. Shipp sustained severe blunt force trauma to his head with swelling and bleeding of the brain, blunt trauma to the lower legs, and a gunshot wound to the pelvis with extensive internal bleeding and died of his injuries approximately two days following the incident. Id.

         Another one of the State's witnesses at trial was Robert Walker, a "chief of security" for the Memphis Gangster Disciples, who testified that he was present when Mr. Shipp's "violations" were discussed by the Memphis "overseer" of the Gangster Disciples, Tony Phillips, who gave permission for lower level gang members to kill Mr. Shipp. Id. at 363-65.

         Following his conviction, the Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which was denied by the post-conviction court after an evidentiary hearing. We affirmed the judgment of the post-conviction court, and our supreme court denied the Petitioner's application for permission to appeal. See Matthew Dixon v. State, No. W2007-01091-CCA-R3-PC, 2008 WL 2673237, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. July 8, 2008), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Oct. 27, 2008).

         The Petitioner later filed a petition to reopen his petition for post-conviction relief, alleging as a later-arising claim his having learned that Robert Walker "had a secret deal with the prosecution for a more favorable plea agreement in exchange for his testimony against the [P]etitioner." Matthew Dixon v. State, No. W2015-00130-CCA-R3-PC, 2015 WL 6166604, at *3 (Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 21, 2015). The post-conviction court summarily dismissed the petition, finding that it was time-barred and that the Petitioner had not stated a valid claim for tolling the statute of limitations. Id. at *3-4. The Petitioner then appealed to this court. In our summary of the facts, we noted that Mr. Walker testified at the Petitioner's trial "that there was no deal in place with the State at that time, although he did hope for consideration in charges against him in exchange for his testimony." Id. at *3. We also noted that Mr. Walker testified before a federal grand jury in 1998 "that there was no specific plea agreement in place, but he had discussed the matter with the State and hoped for consideration." Id. Ultimately, however, we dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, finding that the Petitioner had failed "to properly seek review of the post-conviction court's denial of the motion to reopen[.]" Id. at *5.

         On September 14, 2016, the Petitioner filed the various pleadings at issue in this case, including one he styled as an "Amended Petition for Writ of Error Coram Nobis Relief and DNA Post Conviction Petition." The Petitioner claimed in his "Amended Petition" that he had filed an August 28, 2014 petition for post-conviction relief based on a later-arising claim and a March 1, 2015 petition for writ of error coram nobis, but had not heard anything from the courts regarding the status of those petitions. There are no 2014 petitions for error coram nobis or for Post-Conviction DNA analysis included in the record. However, it appears that the August 28, 2014 petition for post-conviction relief based on a later-arising claim referenced by the Petitioner is the same petition that was summarily ...


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