July 21, 2015
WILLIAM DEWAYNE SAVELL A/K/A DEWAYNE SAVELL, APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE
FROM WHICH APPEALED: NESHOBA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF
JUDGMENT: 08/06/2014. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. MARCUS D. GORDON.
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: DISMISSED APPELLANT'S PETITION
FOR POST-CONVICTION RELIEF AND DENIED APPELLANT'S REQUEST
FOR PRETRIAL-HEARING TRANSCRIPT.
APPELLANT: WILLIAM DEWAYNE SAVELL (Pro se).
APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: SCOTT STUART.
LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND CARLTON, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND
GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR.
JAMES, J., CONCURS IN PART WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.
WILSON, J., NOT PARTICIPATING.
NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - POST-CONVICTION
After unsuccessfully appealing his murder conviction and then
filing several other unsuccessful motions, William Dewayne
Savell filed a " Petition for Order to Show Cause"
with the Neshoba County Circuit Court. Savell argued that
his latest petition was not a petition for post-conviction
relief (PCR) but instead sought
a determination of " why the respondents should not
produce a transcript of the [pretrial] hearing in
Savell's case."  Treating Savell's filing as a
PCR petition, however, the circuit court dismissed
Savell's petition and denied his request for a
In appealing the circuit court's denial of his request
for a pretrial-hearing transcript and dismissal of his
show-cause petition, Savell disputes the circuit court's
seizure of his motorcycle, which he claims he intended to
sell to use the proceeds to hire a defense attorney for his
trial. Savell argues on appeal to this Court
that the circuit court's refusal to provide him with a
copy of his pretrial-hearing transcript impaired his ability
to appeal and violated his due-process rights. Finding no
error, we affirm.
After a jury convicted Savell of the murder of Mandy Davis,
the circuit court sentenced him to life imprisonment in the
custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Savell v. State, 928 So.2d 961, 964 (¶ 1)
(Miss. Ct.App. 2006). Savell then appealed his conviction and
sentence to this Court. Id. Finding no error, we
In 2009, Savell filed a " Petition for an Order of
Disinterment for Autopsy" with the circuit court.
Savell v. State, 78 So.3d 376, 377 (¶ 1) (Miss.
Ct.App. 2011). The circuit court treated the petition as a
PCR motion and dismissed because Savell failed " to
obtain leave from the supreme court as required by
Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-39-7 (Supp.
2010)." Id. at (¶ 7). In addressing
Savell's appeal of the circuit court's judgment, this
Court noted that Savell had previously filed three
applications for leave to proceed with the supreme court,
each of which was denied or dismissed. Id. at
(¶ ¶ 3-6). After finding that Savell failed to
obtain permission from the supreme court before filing his
2009 PCR motion in circuit court, we affirmed the circuit
court's dismissal of Savell's 2009 motion.
Id. at 378 (¶ 10).
On August 4, 2014, Savell filed a new petition with the
circuit court, which is the focus of the matter presently
before this Court. In his " Petition for Order to Show
Cause," Savell repeatedly asserted that he was not
attacking the trial proceedings resulting in his murder
conviction and that his petition failed to constitute a PCR
petition. Instead, Savell insisted that his petition for a
show-cause order sought to establish that the circuit
court's failure to provide him a copy of the transcript
of his pretrial indigency hearing deprived him of due process
and impeded his ability to file an appeal. According to
Savell's assertions, the pretrial-hearing transcript
would show that the circuit court violated Savell's
fundamental constitutional rights. Savell argued that the
missing transcript reflected that the circuit court erred by
first seizing personal property Savell allegedly intended to
use to hire an attorney and by then declaring Savell
Despite Savell's repeated assertions that his petition
was not actually a PCR petition, Savell requested that the
respondents named in his petition provide answers regarding
the investigation into
Davis's murder and certain evidence presented at
Savell's trial. Specifically, Savell's petition
questioned why authorities failed to investigate a "
shoe print" when Savell claimed he could " show
positive proof that the gray tennis shoes were irrelevant and
not involved in the crime."  Savell's petition
also challenged the testing of certain biological evidence
gathered during the investigation into Davis's murder.
On August 6, 2014, the circuit court entered an order denying
Savell's petition. The circuit court found that, although
Savell claimed his petition was not a PCR petition, he sought
to attack " the testimony and evidence that the State
used to convict him." As a result, the circuit court
concluded that Savell's petition was, in fact, a PCR
The circuit court further found that Mississippi Code
Annotated section 99-39-7 (Supp. 2014) required Savell to
obtain permission from the supreme court before filing a PCR
petition in circuit court. Because Savell failed to seek
leave from the supreme court, the circuit court found that it
lacked jurisdiction to entertain Savell's petition. The
circuit court therefore dismissed the petition. In addition,
the circuit court found Savell's petition to be
time-barred since it was filed outside the three-year time
limit provided by the Uniform Post-Conviction Collateral
Relief Act (UPCCRA). See Miss. Code Ann. § 99-39-5(2)
(Supp. 2014) (" A motion for relief under this article
shall be made within three (3) years after the time in which
the petitioner's direct appeal is ruled upon[.]" ).
In addressing Savell's request for the pretrial
transcript from his indigency hearing, the circuit court
acknowledged that the court reporter who transcribed
Savell's trial was now deceased. The circuit court
further stated that it was " unaware of the existence of
the subject of [Savell's] request." As a result, the
circuit court denied Savell's request for his
pretrial-hearing transcript. Aggrieved by the circuit
court's judgment dismissing his current petition and
denying his request for his pretrial-hearing transcript,
Savell now appeals to this Court.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
" When reviewing a circuit court's denial or
dismissal of a PCR [petition], we will reverse the judgment
of the circuit court only if its factual findings are
'clearly erroneous'; however, we review the circuit
court's legal conclusions under a de novo standard of
review." Boyd v. State, 65 So.3d 358, 360
(¶ 10) (Miss. Ct.App. 2011) (citation omitted).
Following his conviction and sentence for Davis's murder,
Savell appealed his case on the merits. Savell, 928
So.2d at 967 (¶ 14). Upon review, this Court affirmed
Savell's conviction and sentence. Id. at 964
(¶ 1). As a result, Mississippi statutory law requires
Savell to obtain the supreme court's permission to
proceed before filing a subsequent PCR petition with the
circuit court. See Miss. Code Ann. § 99-39-7.
As provided by section 99-39-7:
Where the conviction and sentence have been affirmed on
appeal or the appeal has been dismissed, the motion under
this article shall not be filed in the trial court until the
motion shall have first been presented to a quorum of the
Justices of the Supreme Court of Mississippi, convened for
said purpose either in termtime or in vacation, and an order
granted allowing the filing of such motion in the trial
Despite Savell's assertions that his petition presents an
independent original action, the circuit court found that his
petition for a show-cause order constituted a PCR petition
that sought to challenge the testimony and evidence the State
used to convict Savell of Davis's murder. As our caselaw
establishes, " [a] pleading cognizable under the UPCCRA
will be treated as a motion for [PCR] that is subject to the
procedural rules promulgated therein, regardless of how the
plaintiff has denominated or characterized the
pleading." Knox v. State, 75 So.3d 1030, 1035
(¶ 12) (Miss. 2011) (citations omitted). We also
acknowledge that Savell fails to cite any authority to show
that he is entitled to a free transcript when filing an
independent original action.
Because Savell's petition for a show-cause order
presented a " pleading cognizable under the
UPCCRA," we find that it was essentially a PCR petition
and that the circuit court correctly treated it as such.
See id. As a result, Savell was required to seek
leave to proceed from the supreme court before filing his PCR
petition with the circuit court. However, as the record
reflects, Savell failed to do so.
As our caselaw recognizes, where the conviction and sentence
were affirmed on direct appeal, " [j]urisdiction over
any subsequent filing for [PCR] is vested in the [supreme
court]." Savell, 78 So.3d at 378 (¶ 9).
" Additionally, the supreme court's denial of an
application for leave to seek [PCR] in the circuit court is a
final judgment and bars successive applications for relief
pursuant to the UPCCRA." Doss v. State, 126
So.3d 1026, 1028 (¶ 6) (Miss. Ct.App. 2013) (citing
Miss. Code Ann. § 99-39-27(9) (Supp. 2013)). Thus,
without first obtaining permission from the supreme court for
leave to proceed, Savell possessed no right to file his
present PCR petition with the circuit court. Therefore, based
on the facts of this case and our precedent, we affirm the
circuit court's denial of Savell's request for a
transcript and the dismissal of Savell's PCR petition.
THE JUDGMENT OF THE NESHOBA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT IS AFFIRMED.
ALL COSTS OF THIS APPEAL ARE ASSESSED TO NESHOBA COUNTY.
C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, MAXWELL AND
FAIR, JJ., CONCUR.
J., CONCURS IN PART WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.
J., NOT PARTICIPATING.
Savell named the following as respondents
to his petition: Marcus Gordon, Patti Duncan Lee, Mark
Duncan, Christopher Collins, and Edmund Phillips Jr.
As reflected in the record, the hearing at
issue in Savell's current petition is the pretrial
hearing held to determine his indigency status.
Prior to Savell's trial, the circuit
court held the hearing to determine whether Savell was
indigent. After determining Savell to be indigent, the
circuit court appointed attorneys to represent Savell on his
pending murder charge.
During the investigation into Davis's
murder, authorities discovered shoe prints at a location
related to the crime that matched a pair of shoes later
seized from Savell's home. Savell, 928 So.2d at 966
 See Dobbs v. State, 6
So.3d 1085, 1088 (P6) (Miss. 2009) (" The Mississippi
Uniform Post-Conviction Collateral Relief Act provides for
the filing of a [PCR] motion for the purpose of attacking a
criminal conviction and/or sentence." ).