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Williams v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

February 28, 2017

JOSHUA WILLIAMS A/K/A JOSHUA DEVON WILLIAMS A/K/A JOSHUA D. WILLIAMS A/K/A JOSH WILLIAMS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/08/2015

         JEFFERSON DAVIS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. ANTHONY ALAN MOZINGO TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JOSHUA WILLIAMS (PRO SE)

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: ABBIE EASON KOONCE

         EN BANC.

          CARLTON, J.,

         ¶1. Joshua Williams appeals the Jefferson Davis County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for postconviction relief (PCR). On appeal, Williams asserts the following issues: (1) whether he was competent to enter valid guilty pleas; (2) whether he was denied effective assistance of counsel; and (3) whether he was unlawfully convicted of manslaughter. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS

         ¶2. On March 14, 2012, a Jefferson Davis County grand jury indicted Williams and his two co-indictees for one count of capital murder. See Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-19(2)(e) (Rev. 2006). At the plea hearing on July 23, 2013, the State moved to reduce Williams's capital-murder charge to manslaughter and armed robbery. See Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-35 (Rev. 2006); Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-79 (Rev. 2006). Following a plea colloquy at the July 23, 2013 hearing, the circuit court accepted Williams's guilty pleas to the armed-robbery and manslaughter charges. The circuit court subsequently sentenced Williams to twenty years for the manslaughter conviction and a consecutive ten-year term for the armed-robbery conviction, with both sentences to be served in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

         ¶3. Williams filed an unsuccessful motion to reconsider his sentences. He then filed a PCR petition and an amendment of his PCR claims, in which he asserted several additional assignments of error. After reviewing Williams's PCR petition, as well as "all files, records, transcripts, and correspondence pertaining to the judgment under attack[, ]" the circuit court filed an order on July 14, 2015, denying Williams's PCR petition and finding no merit to each of his asserted claims. Aggrieved by the circuit court's judgment, Williams appeals.[1]

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶4. "When reviewing a circuit court's denial or dismissal of a PCR motion, 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).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Whether Williams was competent to enter valid guilty pleas.

         ¶5. Williams asserts that the circuit court erred by not conducting a hearing to determine whether he was competent at the time he entered his guilty pleas. He further claims that, due to a history of mental-health issues, his guilty pleas were not entered voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently.

         A.Compet ...


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