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LEROY M. REYNOLDS v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

MARCH 09, 1988

LEROY M. REYNOLDS
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, C.J.; ROBERTSON AND ANDERSON, JJ.

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

This appeal involves a prisoner's two-years-after-the-fact challenge to the validity and enforceability of his conviction of armed robbery entered upon his plea of guilt. Upon examination of the record, we find the plea to have been knowingly and voluntarily entered and that there is a substantial evidentiary basis undergirding the judgment of conviction entered thereon. Furthermore, the prisoner received more than effective assistance of counsel incident to the plea and all prior proceedings. The judgment of the Circuit Court denying post-conviction relief is affirmed.

 II.

 Leroy M. Reynolds and a companion, Will Arthur Young, were arrested around 9:00 a.m. on January 11, 1983, almost seven hours after the armed robbery of a Shell-Go Station in Leflore County, Mississippi. The woman operating the station was able to give police the tag number of the car in which two robbers had escaped. The car, which had been stolen from the Mississippi Valley State University campus in Itta Bena, was spotted heading toward a field in the direction of the campus. The fugitive car attempted to ram two police cars and a high speed chase ensued during which time the car ran into a curve, breaking off a rear wheel. Reynolds and Young fled into a cotton field. Bloodhounds were procured and, with their aid, Reynolds and Young were apprehended some three hours and seven miles later in a ditch.

 Upon being placed in a police car, Reynolds was read his Miranda rights. *fn1 Once at the police station, he waived his rights and confessed. Jon M. Barnwell, Esq., of the Greenwood, Mississippi Bar, was appointed to represent him.

 Reynolds filed a pre-trial motion to suppress his confession. On the afternoon of March 26, 1983, the second day of the suppression hearing, Barnwell advised Reynolds that things were not going well. Reynolds agreed to consider a plea-bargain. By this time it had become apparent that Reynolds was a suspect in six other armed robberies. Barnwell explained to Reynolds his rights regarding the plea and, as well, his exposure to multiple, lengthy sentences if convicted of all of the robberies.

 In this setting a plea bargain was struck. Reynolds would plead guilty to one armed robbery and to a separate charge of grand larceny. His sentence would be thirty-five years. The terms of the sentencing arrangement were explained in detail to Reynolds - thirty years with a mandatory ten years without parole and a five year sentence to run after the thirty. Young agreed and his plea was entered. The Circuit Court accepted the pleas, entered judgments of conviction on the two charges, and sentenced Reynolds as had been agreed.

 On May 21, 1985, Reynolds filed with the Circuit Court of Leflore County a motion for post-conviction relief on the grounds that his guilty pleas were involuntary and the fault of ineffective assistance of his lawyer. A full evidentiary hearing was held on Reynolds' application. On September 18, 1985, the Circuit Court, after hearing and considering all of the evidence, denied all relief. Reynolds appeals from this decision.

 III.

 Reynolds first mounts a series of challenges upon the Mississippi Uniform Post-Conviction Collateral Relief Act, Miss. Code Ann. 99-39-3 (Supp. 1985). Reynolds argues that this Act is unconstitutional and unenforceable for three separate reasons: (1) it constitutes a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in violation of Miss. Const. Art. 3, 21 (1890), thereby depriving him of due process of law, (2) that it somehow constitutes invidious discrimination denying to him the equal protection of the laws, and (3) that the statute infringes upon the inherent rule-making powers of this Court.

 The short answer is that Reynolds is without standing to raise any of these issues. We have carefully considered Reynolds' claims in light of the various provisions of the Post-Conviction Relief Act. We find no provision of that Act which has in any way disadvantaged him. More specifically, Reynolds has pointed to no right, privilege or opportunity that has been denied him by the Post-Conviction Relief Act but which he would have enjoyed had the Act never been passed. *fn2

 The record reflects that the Circuit Court afforded Reynolds a full evidentiary hearing on his claim for post-conviction relief. That claim was denied on its merits, not by reason of any provision of the Post-Conviction Relief Act which would not have ...


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