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Harper v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 17, 2013

Ronnie HARPER a/k/a Ronnie Denver Harper a/k/a Ronnie D. Harper, Appellant
v.
STATE of Mississippi, Appellee.

Page 789

Ronnie Harper, appellant, pro se.

Office of the Attorney General by Jeffrey A. Klingfuss, attorney for appellee.

Before LEE, C.J., BARNES and ROBERTS, JJ.

LEE, C.J.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶ 1. On November 14, 2011, Ronnie Harper pleaded guilty to sexual battery in Harrison County Circuit Court. The State recommended that Harper be sentenced to twenty years, with twelve years to serve and eight years suspended followed by three years of post-release supervision, all in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). The court did not follow the recommendation, and sentenced Harper to twenty years in the custody of MDOC.

¶ 2. Harper filed his pro se petition for post-conviction relief, which the trial court denied on June 29, 2012. This appeal followed.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶ 3. When this Court reviews a trial court's denial of a petition for post-conviction relief, " [w]e will not disturb the trial court's factual findings unless they are found to be clearly erroneous." Mann v. State, 2 So.3d 743, 745 (¶ 5) (Miss.Ct.App.2009). However, we review questions of law under the de novo standard. Id.

Page 790

DISCUSSION

¶ 4. Harper appeals, arguing that (1) his trial counsel was ineffective; (2) his sentence breached the plea agreement; and (3) the trial court used the wrong standard of review when it denied his petition.

I. INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL

¶ 5. Harper argues that his counsel was ineffective when he gave erroneous advice that led Harper to enter an involuntary and unintelligent guilty plea. Additionally, he claims that his counsel's performance was deficient when he failed to communicate to the trial court that the plea-bargain ...


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