All Content

Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jul 17, 2014

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Benjamin Dempsey, Huntingdon, Tennessee, for the petitioner, Brandon Alexander Rankin.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Hansel McCadams, District Attorney General; and R. Adam Jowers, Assistant District Attorney General, for the respondent, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): SMITH

Petitioner, Brandon Alexander Rankin, pled guilty to second degree murder and accessory after the fact or facilitation to commit first degree murder, to which he was sentenced to concurrent 40-year sentences at 100%. Petitioner subsequently filed a timely motion to withdraw his guilty plea, and trial counsel filed a motion to withdraw as counsel on the same date. A hearing was conducted on the two motions. The trial court elected to classify Petitioner’s motion to withdraw the guilty plea as a post-conviction petition. Trial counsel’s motion to withdraw was sustained. Petitioner’s “Amended Petition for Post-Conviction Relief combined with Rule 36 Motion to Correct Clerical Error in Order” was filed through newly appointed counsel. The post-conviction court dismissed the amended petition as time barred. Petitioner timely appealed. After a review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude that the trial court erred in construing Petitioner’s motion to withdraw his guilty pleas as a petition for post-conviction relief. As a result, we reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court and remand for consideration of Petitioner’s motion to withdraw his guilty pleas.