Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Walls

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

May 21, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
RONNIE WALLS

          Assigned on Briefs April 16, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Moore County No. 2012-CR-1248 Forest A. Durard, Jr., Judge

         The Petitioner, Ronnie Walls, appeals from the Moore County Circuit Court's denial of his pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence.[1] In March 2013, the Petitioner entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to introduce contraband into a penal institution and attempt to introduce contraband into a penal institution and was sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender to concurrent terms of six years, with the balance to be served on community corrections after four months imprisonment. This sentence was ordered to be served consecutively to all unexpired sentences. In August 2014, a warrant was issued alleging the Petitioner violated his community corrections sentence. He later agreed that he had failed to comply with the terms of his community corrections sentence based upon a new arrest and other violations. On October 31, 2014, he entered a guilty plea to the community corrections violation and agreed to a two-year increase in his sentence. Nearly three years later, the Petitioner filed a pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence, claiming that he is entitled to relief pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure because the trial court that accepted his guilty plea for his community corrections violation failed to advise him during the plea colloquy that he was entitled to a new sentencing hearing. The trial court denied relief, finding that the Petitioner failed to state a cognizable claim. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Donna Orr Hargrove, District Public Defender; Dorothy D. Buck, Assistant Public Defender, for the Defendant-Appellant, Ronnie Dewayne Walls.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Robert J. Carter, District Attorney General; and Holly Eubanks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Camille R. MCMULLEN, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE

         The record shows that a hearing was conducted on October 31, 2014, which encompassed the community corrections violation and the Petitioner's guilty plea to the same. At the top of the hearing, the trial court engaged in extensive questioning of the Petitioner and ensured that he was aware of the rights he had during the proceedings, the rights he was waiving should his guilty plea be accepted, and the burden of proof should he go forward with the hearing. The Petitioner acknowledged that he understood. During the colloquy, the Petitioner conceded that he entered a guilty plea to a new charge of criminal impersonation while on community corrections. The court then asked, "Okay. Now, is it your understanding that you agree to a resentencing of your case of eight years at 35 percent with 330 days credit; is that correct?" The Petitioner replied, "Yes." The Petitioner further agreed that it was his intent to plead guilty. The trial court then engaged in a litany of questions to determine if entry of the guilty plea was the Petitioner's "free and voluntary act." The Petitioner assured the court that no one had promised or threatened him anything and that he was acting of his own free will. Asked if he had any questions, the Petitioner replied, "No, sir." The trial court accepted the Petitioner's plea and entered an order revoking his community corrections along with an amended judgment resentencing him to eight years' imprisonment.

         On September 5, 2017, the Petitioner filed a pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure alleging that the trial court failed to give him proper jail credits for time he served while on community corrections.[2] Following the State's written response, on November 15, 2017, the Petitioner filed a pro se, handwritten "Amended Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence" urging the court to review his jail credits specifically related to his six-year sentence. The public defender's office was subsequently appointed to represent the Petitioner. On December 17, 2017, the Petitioner filed another pro se Rule 36.1 motion alleging that the trial court "erred when it resentenced him to the eight (8) year sentence" and "abused its discretion when it applied incorrect legal standards, sentencing [the Defendant] from a six (6) year sentence to an eight (8) year sentence without conducting a sentencing hearing."

         At the December 21, 2017 motion hearing, defense counsel addressed the Petitioner's primary issue and explained that the Petitioner's sentence was illegal because the trial court resentenced him, based on a negotiated plea, without conducting a sentencing hearing. The Petitioner did not contest the eight-year sentence imposed by the trial court and conceded that it was within the proper statutory range. At the conclusion of arguments, the trial court continued the matter to obtain a transcript of the community corrections violation hearing, and on April 20, 2018, issued a written order denying the Petitioner relief. The order provided, in pertinent part, as follows:

[The Petitioner] relies upon State v. Samuel, 44 S.W.3d 489, 491 (Tenn. 2001) for the proposition a resentencing hearing must be held. This reliance is misplaced. Had there been no agreed upon sentence, the [Petitioner] would be correct. However, as part of a plea acceptance, the [Petitioner] could agree to a specific sentence and, thereby, remove the necessity of the hearing. This is exactly what happened.
[The Petitioner] was free to voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently enter into an agreed disposition of his Community Corrections violation . . . . Defendants may agree for purposes of plea bargaining to mix and match ranges and percentages provided the offense is statutory eligible. . . . Consequently, a defendant would also be free to enter into an agreement in their actual range as well. . . . [Petitioner's] sentence herein was eligible and was within the range he originally ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.