Assigned on Briefs September 4, 2019
from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 05-05703 Chris
Frank D. Taylor, appeals from the dismissal of his motion to
correct an illegal sentence under Tennessee Rule of Criminal
Procedure 36.1. Because Defendant has failed to state a
colorable claim for relief, we affirm the trial court's
dismissal of the motion.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
D. Taylor, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; and Amy P.
Weirich, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Alan E. Glenn and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ., joined.
TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE
2008, Defendant was convicted by a Shelby County jury of
first degree felony murder and attempted especially
aggravated robbery for offenses committed in January of 2005.
Defendant was seventeen years old at the time of the
offenses. Defendant received a life sentence for the first
degree felony murder conviction and a concurrent term of
eight years' imprisonment for the attempted especially
aggravated robbery conviction. Defendant appealed to this
Court, and on August 23, 2010, the judgments of the trial
court were affirmed by this Court. State v. Frank
Deangelo Taylor, No. W2008-01863-CCA-R3-CD, 2010 WL
3307072 (Tenn. Crim. App. Aug. 23, 2010), perm. app.
denied (Tenn. Nov. 29, 2010). Defendant subsequently
filed a petition for post-conviction relief, the denial of
which was affirmed by this Court. Frank Taylor v.
State, No. W2012-01993-CCA-R3-PC, 2014 WL 4262158 (Tenn.
Crim. App. Aug. 28, 2014), perm. app. denied (Tenn.
Dec. 18, 2014).
January 24, 2019, Defendant filed a motion for correction of
an illegal sentence pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal
Procedure 36.1 with the trial court. Defendant argued that
his sentence was unconstitutional because a life sentence for
a juvenile violates the United States Constitution's
prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The trial
court dismissed the motion without a hearing because
Defendant failed to state a colorable claim for relief. It is
from that dismissal that Defendant now appeals.
argues that his sentence of life imprisonment violates the
prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment in the
United States and Tennessee Constitutions because he was a
juvenile at the time of the offense. See U.S. Const.
amend VIII; Tenn. Const. art. I, § 16. Defendant asserts
that his sentence is in "strict violation of [Miller
v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012)], since it specifically
states that a mandatory [sentence of] life imprisonment
without parole for those under the age of [eighteen] at the
time of their crimes violates the 8th Amendment's
prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment." Defendant
contends that his sentence, of which he must serve at least
51 years before becoming eligible for release, see
T.C.A. § 40-35-501(i)(1), has the effect of a sentence
of life without parole because statistics show that he will
likely die in prison. The State argues that his sentence is
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)(2). Our supreme court 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. at 595. 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.
court may summarily dismiss a Rule 36.1 motion if it does not
state a colorable claim for relief. Tenn. R. Crim. P.
36.1(b)(2). A colorable claim is "a claim that, if taken
as true and viewed in a light most favorable to the moving
party, would entitle the moving party to relief under Rule
36.1." Wooden, 478 S.W.3d at 593. This Court
reviews de novo the trial court's determination that ...