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State v. Pittman

August 27, 1998

STATE V. PITTMAN


Before Prather, C.j., Roberts And Mills, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mills, Justice

97-CA-00265-SCT, __ So. 2d __

STATE OF MISSISSIPPI v. WILLIAM HENRY PITTMAN, a/k/a WILLIAM H. PITTMAN, JR.

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/22/97

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. T. FRED WICKER

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: RANKIN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - POST CONVICTION RELIEF

DISPOSITION REVERSED AND RENDERED - 8/27/98

MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:

MANDATE ISSUED:

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

¶1. This appeal comes from the Circuit Court of Rankin County, which on January 6, 1997, granted William Henry Pittman's Petition for Post-Conviction Collateral Relief after an extensive evidentiary hearing. The State assigns five issues as error in this appeal. We need address, however, only the issues dealing with res judicata.

ISSUES

I. WHETHER THE TRIAL COURT HAD JURISDICTION TO RULE UPON MATTERS OTHER THAN RES JUDICATA.

II. WHETHER THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY REFUSING TO RULE UPON THE ISSUES OF RES JUDICATA.

III. WHETHER PITTMAN IS BARRED FROM RELIEF BY THE PRINCIPLES OF RES JUDICATA.

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

¶2. William Henry Pittman pleaded guilty on July 7, 1989 to five charges of photographing minors for the purpose of sexual gratification in the Circuit Court of Rankin County. Pittman was sentenced to five concurrent twenty year sentences on these state charges. In addition, he was sentenced to concurrently serve a forty one month sentence he had received on related federal charges.

¶3. After serving his federal sentence, Pittman sought to have his guilty pleas set aside in both federal and state courts. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his claim. *fn1 However, the Rankin County Circuit Court granted Pittman's motion for summary judgment on May 27, 1992 based upon two separate grounds. The trial Judge first found Pittman's pleas were not entered consistent with the procedure demanded by then Rule 3.03 of the Uniform Rules of Circuit Court Practice (now Rule 8.04), and therefore, were involuntary as a matter of law. Additionally, the trial Judge found that Pittman was entitled to relief because he was advised by the trial judge that a person pleading guilty to a "sex crime" had to be certified by a psychologist before being released on parole.

ΒΆ4. The State responded to the grant of relief by filing a motion for summary judgment on the issues of res judicata and collateral estoppel. The trial Judge denied the State's motion. The State thereafter assigned three primary ...


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