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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jan 29, 2014

Head Comment: CORRECTION: On page 21, last sentence of the last paragraph: The crimes that warrant lifetime community supervision are all quite serious felonies – not the type of conviction to which a defendant would be likely to confess falsely. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-524(a).

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

Branden Bellar, Carthage, Tennessee, for the appellant, Derrick Brandon Bush.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; L. Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; Sallie Wade Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): KOCH

This appeal concerns the retroactive application of Ward v. State, 315 S.W.3d 461 (Tenn. 2010), in which this Court held that trial courts have an affirmative duty, before accepting a guilty plea to a crime carrying a mandatory sentence of community supervision for life, to inform the defendant desiring to plead guilty of the consequence of lifetime supervision. In April 2011, a prisoner, who pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted rape in December 2000, filed a petition for post-conviction relief in the Criminal Court for Sumner County alleging that his guilty pleas were not knowingly or intelligently entered because he had not been informed that he would be subject to lifetime community supervision following his release from prison. The trial court decided that the Post-Conviction Procedure Act’s statute of limitations should be tolled on due process grounds and that the prisoner was entitled to post-conviction relief because Ward v. State should be applied retroactively. The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed, finding no grounds for due process tolling and that Ward v. State did not announce a new rule of constitutional law requiring retroactive application. Bush v. State, No. M2011-02133-CCA-R3-PC, 2012 WL 2308280 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 15, 2012). We granted the prisoner’s appeal to clarify the standards governing retroactive application of this Court’s authoritative interpretations of the Tennessee Constitution and to resolve related issues in the interpretation of the Post-Conviction Procedure Act. In accordance with the retroactivity framework for post-conviction proceedings the Tennessee General Assembly codified in Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-30-122 (2012), we have determined that our holding in Ward v. State does not require retroactive application and, therefore, that the prisoner is not entitled to tolling under Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-30-102(b)(1) (2012). We also hold that the prisoner’s case does not warrant due process tolling. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals.