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State of Tennessee v. Carl Allen
Case Number: W2019-02162-CCA-R3-CD
Court: IN THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF TENNESSEE
Plaintiff's Attorney: Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant
Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Kristen Cook,
Assistant District Attorney General,
Just Call 855-853-4800 for Free Help Finding a Lawyer Help You.
Memphis, Tennessee - Criminal defense lawyer represented defendant Carl Allen charged with multiple theft and burglary charges.
At the guilty plea hearing, the prosecutor read aloud each charge, the agreed
sentence for each charge, and whether the sentence was to be served consecutively or
concurrently. Due to Defendant’s participation in a separate proceeding, the State said
that they were “going to step out on a very thin limb and recommend that [Defendant] be
placed on community corrections for a period of twelve years.” The State summarized
the facts that would have been shown for each count if Defendant had proceeded with a
trial. Defendant stipulated to the facts and asked the trial court to accept the negotiated
plea agreement. During the plea colloquy, Defendant acknowledged that his attorney
explained everything to him and that he understood his rights. The trial court explained
each charge to Defendant and the range of potential sentences. The trial court went over
each case and informed Defendant that the sentences for each count would run either
concurrently or consecutively as indicated on the plea forms. The trial court accepted the
negotiated plea and sentenced Defendant to an effective sentence of twelve years to be
served on community corrections.
On October, 4, 2018, the trial court revoked Defendant’s community corrections
and required Defendant to serve his twelve-year sentence in confinement. On October
14, 2019, Defendant filed a motion to correct illegal sentence. Defendant claimed that he
was not eligible for community corrections due to prior convictions for sexual battery,
assault, vandalism, and unlawful possession of a weapon.2
The trial court summarily
denied the motion on November 18, 2019. Defendant timely filed a notice of appeal.
Defendant argues that the trial court erred by denying his motion to correct illegal
sentence. The State argues that Defendant’s sentence is not illegal. We agree with the
Rule 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). Our supreme court has
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 sheet), appealable errors (those for which the
Sentencing Act specifically provides a right of direct appeal), and fatal errors (those so
2 There is nothing in the record about these prior convictions.
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profound as to render a sentence illegal and void). Id. Commenting on appealable errors,
the court stated that those “generally involve attacks on the correctness of the
methodology by which a trial court imposed sentence.” Id. In contrast, 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. Id.
Defendant contends that, because he was statutorily ineligible for community
corrections in the first place, the trial court lacked the authority to resentence him under
the terms of Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-36-106. Here, Defendant was
originally sentenced to community corrections as part of his plea agreement. Nothing in
the record, other than Defendant’s own assertions, proves that he was ineligible for
community corrections. The trial court found that Defendant qualified for community
corrections under the “special needs” provision. See T.C.A §40-36-106(c). Accordingly,
Defendant’s initial sentence was not illegal even if he were otherwise ineligible for
community corrections. See State v. Adarion C. Morris, No. M2018-02034-CCA-R3-
CD, 2019 WL 6591465, at *3-4 (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 5, 2019), no perm. app. filed.
Defendant further argues that the trial court erred by not orally ordering any of his
“sentences to be served consecutively to any of his specific sentences.” The State argues
that Defendant has waived the issue.
The record bears witness to the fact that Defendant did not raise this issue in his
motion to correct illegal sentence. See Tenn. R. App. P. 36(a). “Appellate review
generally is limited to issues that a party properly preserves for review by raising the
issues in the trial court and on review.” State v. Minor, 546 S.W.3d 59, 65 (Tenn. 2018).
Defendant is not entitled to relief.
Outcome: For the foregoing reasons, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.