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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jun 14, 2013

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Maurice Edward Carter, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Benjamin Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, District Attorney General; and Howard Chambers, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): SUMMERS

The petitioner pled guilty in Smith County to one count of aggravated statutory rape and one count of criminal exposure to HIV and received an effective sentence of twenty years. The petitioner’s guilty pleas were entered with the condition that he reserved the right to appeal a certified question of law pursuant to Rule 37(b)(2)(A) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure regarding the search and seizure of certain evidence. The Court dismissed the appeal based on a lack of jurisdiction. The petitioner brought this post-conviction petition asserting that his trial counsel was ineffective in reserving the certified question and bringing the appeal. The post-conviction court dismissed the claim without a hearing or the appointment of counsel, finding that the issues had been previously determined on direct appeal. See T.C.A. § 40-30-106(h) (2010). The petitioner appeals, asserting that this Court on direct appeal concluded it was without jurisdiction and did not rule on the merits of his claims. After a thorough examination of the facts and law, we conclude that the petitioner has stated a colorable claim; and we reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court and remand the case for further proceedings.