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Means v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

October 23, 2019

COURTNEY MEANS
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Assigned on Briefs July 9, 2019

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 03-05193 J. Robert Carter Jr., Judge

         A Shelby County jury convicted the Petitioner, Courtney Means, of three counts of aggravated robbery involving multiple victims, and the trial court sentenced him to an effective twenty-four-year sentence. This court affirmed his convictions and sentence. State v. Courtney Means, W2005-00682-CCA-R3-CD, 2006 WL 709206, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Mar. 21, 2006), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 5, 2006). The Petitioner unsuccessfully filed a petition for post-conviction relief and a Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion for relief from an illegal sentence. The Petitioner then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging that his judgments are void because the court lacked authority to sentence him. After review, we affirm the habeas corpus court's judgment.

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

          Josie S. Holland, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Courtney Means.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Courtney N. Orr, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Leslie Byrd, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE

         I. Facts

         A. Procedural History

         This case arises from the Petitioner's robbing several elderly people over a period of multiple years. In case numbers 03-015190, 03-015192, and 03-015194, a Shelby County jury convicted the Petitioner of eight counts of aggravated robbery involving three separate incidents and four victims and occurring on December 18 and 22, 2002 ("2002 convictions"). The trial court merged the convictions for each victim, and then, applying four enhancement factors, sentenced the Petitioner to a total effective sentence of eighteen years for the four remaining convictions. State v. Courtney Means, No. M2004-01446-CCA-R3-CD, 2005 WL 1323260, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, June 3, 2005), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Dec. 5, 2005). This court affirmed the Petitioner's convictions and sentence. In case numbers 03-05193 and 03-05200, a Shelby County jury convicted the Petitioner of three counts of aggravated robbery against three victims, and the trial court sentenced him to an effective twenty-four-year sentence ("2003 convictions"). This court affirmed his convictions and sentence. Means, 2006 WL 709206, at *1.

         The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief from his 2002 convictions. Courtney Means v. State, No. W2008-01039-CCA-R3-CD, 2010 WL 2490771, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, June 21, 2010), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Oct. 20, 2010). The post-conviction court denied the Petitioner's petition, and this court affirmed. Id.

         The Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus relief in Federal Court challenging his 2002 convictions. Means v Lester, No. 11-2646-JPM-tmp, 2013 WL 3992506, at *1 (W.D. Tenn. Aug. 5, 2013), no perm. app. filed. The federal district court concluded that the trial court improperly applied two enhancement factors pursuant to Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004), and it instructed the State to either reduce the Petitioner's sentence from nine years for each count to eight years for each count, or afford the Petitioner a new sentencing hearing within 180 days of the entry of the order. Id. at *16. The State failed to comply with the order, and the Petitioner filed a petition for issuance of an unconditional writ of habeas corpus. Means v. Phillips, 136 F.Supp.3d 872, 892 (W.D. Tenn. 2015). The district court granted the petition and ordered that the Petitioner be released on these sentences. It further ordered that the State was permitted to re-arrest the Petitioner and resentence him for those convictions but that the sentence could not exceed eight years for each conviction. Id. at 896. Thereafter, by agreement of the parties, the Petitioner was sentenced to consecutive sentences of 7.2 years for each conviction, for a total effective sentence of 14.4 years.

         The Petitioner filed a Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 motion in which he alleged that his twenty-four-year sentence for his 2003 convictions was illegal. State v. Courtney Means, No. W2016-02209-CCA-R3-CD, 2017 WL 2482988, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, June, 7, 2017), no Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application ...


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