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Dickens v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 6, 2013

Robert DICKENS a/k/a Robert Olen Dickens, Appellant
v.
STATE of Mississippi, Appellee.

Page 1142

Robert Dickens, appellant, pro se.

Office of the Attorney General by Billy L. Gore, attorney for appellee.

Before GRIFFIS, P.J., ROBERTS, MAXWELL and FAIR, JJ.

ROBERTS, J.

¶ 1. On June 3, 2008, Robert Dickens pled guilty to one count of sexual battery in the Itawamba County Circuit Court. He was sentenced to thirty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with fifteen years suspended and five years of post-release supervision (PRS). Dickens filed a motion for post-conviction relief (PCR) on March 20, 2012, attacking the voluntariness of his plea and the legality of his sentence. The circuit court summarily dismissed this motion on April 16, 2012, and Dickens executed the current appeal. Finding no error, we affirm the circuit court's judgment summarily dismissing Dickens's PCR motion.

Page 1143

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶ 2. In December 2007, an Itawamba County grand jury indicted Dickens on one count of sexual battery for placing his penis inside Keisha Johnson Davis's vagina against her will. Then, on June 3, 2008, Dickens appeared before the circuit court and entered a plea of guilty to the count of sexual battery charged in the indictment. At his guilty-plea hearing, Dickens confirmed that his plea was freely and voluntarily given, and that he was not threatened in any way to plead guilty. He also acknowledged the constitutional rights he was waiving by pleading guilty. The circuit court also explained that the maximum sentence for the crime of sexual battery was thirty years in the custody of the MDOC. The State then recommended that the circuit court sentence Dickens to thirty years in the custody of the MDOC, with fifteen years to serve day-for-day, fifteen years suspended, and five years of PRS.

¶ 3. The circuit court accepted Dickens's guilty plea and specifically found that Dickens " knowingly, understandingly, freely, and voluntarily entered this plea of guilty[, and] that there is a factual basis for that plea." The circuit court imposed the State's recommended sentence of thirty years in the custody of the MDOC, with fifteen years to serve, fifteen years suspended, and five years of PRS.[1]

¶ 4. Dickens filed a PCR motion on March 20, 2012, attacking his guilty plea and sentence. The circuit court summarily dismissed Dickens's PCR motion on April 16, 2012. In its order summarily dismissing the PCR motion, the circuit court stated that Dickens was time-barred from filing his motion and that only his claim of an illegal sentence was excepted from the time-bar. The circuit court further found that Dickens's claim that his sentence was illegal because it exceeded the maximum sentence authorized by law had no merit.

¶ 5. Based upon the summary dismissal of his PCR motion, Dickens executed the current appeal. He raises the following four issues for our review:

I. Whether the [circuit] court erred [in finding that Dickens's PCR motion was time barred.]
II. Whether the [circuit] court erred in not granting [Dickens] a[n evidentiary] hearing[.]
III. Whether the [circuit] court erred in not conducting a full-scale [evidentiary] hearing[,] also whether to ... allow ...

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