Alfred Hicks, appellant, pro se.
Office of the Attorney General by Elliott George Flaggs, attorney for appellee.
Before IRVING, P.J., ISHEE and FAIR, JJ.
¶ 1. Alfred Hicks, while an inmate in custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, was indicted for possession of a cell phone in violation of Mississippi Code section 47-5-193. He entered a guilty plea and was sentenced on June 26, 2008.
¶ 2. Hicks waited four years to file a motion for post-conviction relief (PCR) to vacate and set aside his conviction and sentence. Finding his motion untimely and that there existed no exception to the statutory-time bar, the trial court dismissed the motion. Aggrieved, Hicks appeals to this Court. We find no error and affirm the trial court's judgment.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
¶ 3. When this Court reviews the trial court's dismissal of a PCR motion, we " will not disturb the trial court's factual findings unless they are found to be clearly erroneous. However, where questions of law are raised [,] the applicable standard of review is de novo." Terry v. State, 755 So.2d 41, 42 (¶ 4) (Miss.Ct.App.1999).
¶ 4. The proper interpretation of statutes is reviewed de novo. Tillis v. State, 43 So.3d 1127, 1131 (¶ 9) (Miss.2010). In statutory interpretation:
The first question is whether the statute is ambiguous. When a statute is unambiguous, this Court applies the plain meaning of the statute and refrains from the use of statutory construction principles. The Court may not enlarge or restrict a statute where the meaning of the statute is clear. In interpreting statutes, this Court's primary objective is to employ that interpretation which best suits the legislature's true intent or meaning.
¶ 5. Hicks had three years from the entry of the judgment of his conviction to file a PCR motion pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-39-5(2) (Supp.2012). Generally, claims made outside of the three-year statute of limitations must raise one of the exceptions found in Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-39-5(2)(a)-(b). " Accordingly, we must look to see whether an exception to these procedural bars applies. The movant bears the burden of showing he has met a statutory exception." Bell v. State, 95 So.3d 760, 763 (¶ 10) (Miss.Ct.App.2012) (citation omitted).
¶ 6. Also, " errors affecting fundamental constitutional rights are excepted from the procedural bars of the [Uniform Post-Conviction Collateral Relief Act]." Rowland v. State, 42 So.3d 503, 506 (¶ 9) (Miss.2010). However, mere assertions of constitutional-rights violations do not suffice to overcome the procedural bar. Chandler v. State, 44 So.3d 442, 444 (¶ 8) (Miss.App.Ct.2010). " There must at least appear to ...