Assigned on Briefs at Knoxville June 25, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. C-18-1999
Donald H. Allen, Judge
Petitioner, Samuel Winkfield, appeals the Madison County
Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for a
writ of error coram nobis from his second degree murder and
tampering with evidence convictions, for which he received an
effective sentence of twenty-five years. We affirm the
judgment of the coram nobis court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Winkfield, Clifton, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent
C. Cherry, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Jody Pickens,
District Attorney General; and Alfred Earls, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which Norma McGee Ogle and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE
case relates to the 2007 shooting death of the
Petitioner's roommate, James Charles Haney. The
Petitioner was indicted for first degree premeditated murder,
first degree felony murder, especially aggravated kidnapping,
tampering with evidence, and conspiracy to tamper with
evidence. The jury acquitted the Petitioner of first degree
felony murder and conspiracy to tamper with evidence but was
unable to reach verdicts on the remaining charges. The trial
court granted a mistrial, and at the second trial, the
Petitioner was convicted of second degree murder and
tampering with evidence. The jury was unable to reach a
verdict on especially aggravated kidnapping, and the charge
was ultimately dismissed. See State v. Samuel Armod
Winkfield, No. W2008-01347-CCA-R3-CD, 2010 WL 796917
(Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 9, 2010), perm. app. denied
(Tenn. Aug. 25, 2010). The Petitioner unsuccessfully sought
post-conviction relief on the basis that he received the
ineffective assistance of counsel because counsel failed to
investigate adequately, to produce defense witnesses, to
obtain expert testimony, to cross-examine witnesses
adequately, and to explore alternative defense theories.
See Samuel Winkfield v. State, No.
W2012-02413-CCA-R3-PC, 2013 WL 6001929 (Tenn. Crim. App. Nov.
8, 2013), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Apr. 11, 2014).
The Petitioner also unsuccessfully sought federal habeas
corpus relief. See Samuel Winkfield v. Cherry Lindamood,
Warden, No. 17-6194, 2017 WL 6887029 (6th Circ. 2017).
August 17, 2018, the Petitioner filed the instant petition
for a writ of error coram nobis. In the petition, he stated
that he was entitled to relief because the State violated the
rules of discovery and Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S.
83 (1963), by failing to disclose plea agreements with trial
witnesses, police statements and grand jury testimony of
trial witnesses, "evidence detailed in its
investigation," police "lead/tip sheets,"
officer notes, an October 19, 2006 9-1-1 recording, crime
scene photographs, and records related to the victim's
injuries. The Petitioner argued that if he had received a
complete discovery package, he would have been able to
undermine the State's theory that the Petitioner
"committed any crime" and to impeach the
State's witnesses. The Petitioner also argued that (1)
the trial court provided the jury with incorrect instructions
relative to the elements of each offense, (2) the evidence
was insufficient to support his convictions, (3) the trial
court and the prosecutor failed to inquire about a potential
conflict of interests related to trial counsel's
simultaneous representation of a State's witness, (4) the
"predicate convictions used to convict and sentence the
Petitioner . . . and establish him as a violent [offender] at
100% [service] is void because the plea upon which it rested
was obtained in violation of prior case law," (5) his
sentence is excessive, and (6) he received the ineffective
assistance of counsel.
State contended that the petition was untimely and requested
that it be dismissed. Alternatively, the State denied
suppressing evidence and violating the rules of discovery.
The State asserted that it had an open-file discovery policy
and that the Petitioner was provided "full access to all
[S]tate files." The State argued that anything not
contained in the discovery materials were matters of public
record and were accessible by the Petitioner. The State
argued that the Petitioner's remaining issues were not
cognizable for coram nobis relief.
coram nobis court summarily denied relief and dismissed the
petition. The court ruled that the petition was untimely
after determining that the Petitioner was convicted in
January 2008 and that this court denied relief in March 2010.
The court found that the petition included two attachments,
reflecting the prison in which the Petitioner was confined
had been on lock-down status in April 2018 and July 2018, and
determined that this did not entitle the Petitioner to
equitable tolling of the statute of limitations because the
lock-down periods were approximately ten years after the
judgments became final.
coram nobis court likewise determined that judgments of
conviction showing the State's witnesses had criminal
histories were public records and were accessible by the
Petitioner and his trial counsel. The court noted that the
July 23, 2007 judgment of conviction for State's witness
William L. Hammond did not constitute new evidence because it
existed at the time of the January 2008 trial. Relative to
State's witness Larry Futtrell, the court found that,
according to the Petitioner's motion to reveal the plea
agreement, the defense knew the substance of Mr.
Luttrell's proposed trial testimony. The court noted that
Mr. Luttrell and the Petitioner were confined in the same
jail and found that judgments reflecting prior convictions
would have been public records. The court, likewise, found
that the Petitioner failed to provide reasons why discovery
was not addressed in the post-conviction proceedings.
coram nobis court determined that Brady violations
could not be raised in a coram nobis petition and that no
basis existed to toll the statute of limitations for any
cognizable claim. The court found that the petition did not
include documents or evidence showing that new evidence
existed. That court found that the Petitioner only attached
Mr. Hammond's 2007 judgment of conviction, the
Petitioner's judgments of conviction, a discovery motion
filed by trial counsel, a letter to the prosecutor, and a