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State v. Readus

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

July 12, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
EDDIE READUS

          Session: January 16, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Bedford County No. 17127 Forest A. Durard, Jr., Judge

         Defendant, Eddie Readus, appeals the length of his effective sentence following a resentencing hearing that was granted by the trial court in response to Defendant's motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure (Rule 36.1). The State responds that Defendant failed to state a colorable claim for relief in his Rule 36.1 motion, and therefore, the trial court should have dismissed the motion, rather than granting a new sentencing hearing. We agree with the State. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court granting relief pursuant to Rule 36.1, vacate the amended judgment as to the Class C felony conviction, and reinstate the original judgment.

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

          Donna Orr Hargrove, District Public Defender; and Michael J. Collins, Assistant Public Defender, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Eddie Readus.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Robert James Carter, District Attorney General; and Michael Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas T. Woodall, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert L. Holloway, Jr., and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          THOMAS T. WOODALL, JUDGE.

         Procedural history

         Defendant was convicted by a jury of the sale and delivery of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine (counts one and two), both Class C felonies, and possession with intent to sell and possession with intent to deliver 0.5 grams or more of cocaine (counts three and four), both Class B felonies. The trial court merged count two into count one and count four into count three. Defendant was sentenced as a career offender in count one to 15 years and as a Range II multiple offender in count three to 15 years, to be served consecutively, for a total effective sentence of 30 years. On direct appeal, a panel of this court affirmed Defendant's convictions. Defendant did not raise as issues on direct appeal either his classification as a career offender in count one or the trial court's imposition of consecutive sentencing. State v. Eddie L. Readus, No. M2011-01918-CCA-R3-CD, 2012 WL 4055343 (Tenn. Crim. App. Sept. 17, 2012), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Jan. 22, 2013).

         Defendant sought post-conviction relief, alleging that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal. Defendant argued that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to explain sentencing to him or challenge consecutive sentencing on appeal. The post-conviction court concluded that Defendant did not receive the ineffective assistance of counsel but ruled sua sponte that he was entitled to a delayed appeal so that this court could determine whether his effective 30-year sentence was excessive. A panel of this court affirmed the post-conviction court's denial of post-conviction relief and reversed the court's granting of a delayed appeal. Eddie L. Readus v. State, No. M2013-01856-CCA-R3-PC, 2014 WL 1494086 (Tenn. Crim. App. Apr. 15, 2014). This court determined that Defendant was not denied his right to appeal from his original convictions. Id. at *6.

         Rule 36.1 motion

         On November 16, 2016, Defendant filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Rule 36.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. The trial court entered an order to set a hearing on the motion, finding that Defendant had met "the minimum threshold of a colorable claim for relief." In reviewing the presentence report and the sentencing transcript, the trial court determined that the sentencing court relied on eight prior felony convictions in classifying Defendant as a career offender for the Class C felony and a multiple offender for the Class B felony. The trial court noted, "[w]ithout more specificity as to some of [D]efendant's conviction classes contained in the [State's] Notice of Enhancement[, ] the Court cannot ascertain the merits of [D]efendant's allegations." The trial court appointed counsel to represent Defendant. Appointed counsel subsequently filed an amended motion to correct illegal sentence.

         At the hearing on Defendant's Rule 36.1 motion, the court entered as exhibits the judgments of conviction, a transcript of the sentencing hearing, the State's notice of enhancement, the post-conviction court's order, and the opinions of this court on direct appeal and ...


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