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Pierce v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 29, 2017

ERIC PIERCE A/K/A ERIC V. PIERCE APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/13/2016

         ATTALA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JOSEPH H. LOPER JR. TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ERIC PIERCE (PRO SE)

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: SCOTT STUART

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          BARNES, J.,

         ¶1. Eric Pierce, appearing pro se, appeals the judgment of the Circuit Court of Attala County denying his motion for post-conviction relief (PCR) as a successive writ and time-barred. Finding no error, we affirm.

         STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. On February 3, 2009, Pierce was indicted for armed robbery. He pleaded guilty a few weeks later. The robbery occurred in November 2008 when Pierce was eighteen years old. The victim, Melton King, was the owner of a Sonic restaurant. He was walking across a grocery-store parking lot with a bank bag containing $1, 265 of Sonic's funds. Pierce came up to King, held a pistol to him, and instructed him to "give me the money." King gave Pierce money from his pocket and the bag of money. Pierce then fled. King pursued Pierce in his vehicle, hitting and injuring him. Law-enforcement officers were able to arrest Pierce in the parking lot. Pierce later confessed to the crime.

         ¶3. The circuit court sentenced Pierce to serve seventeen years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). On August 19, 2010, the circuit court dismissed Pierce's first PCR motion, wherein he argued that his plea was involuntary and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. He did not appeal the dismissal. His second PCR motion, seeking relief on the same grounds as his first PCR motion, was dismissed by the circuit court on February 3, 2012. Pierce appealed, and this Court affirmed the dismissal in Pierce v. State, 115 So.3d 869, 873 (¶14) (Miss. Ct. App. 2013), finding his motion was barred as successive, and his arguments were without merit.[1]

         ¶4. On April 25, 2016, Pierce filed his third PCR motion in the circuit court, arguing that he is excepted from any procedural bars because his sentence is illegal, and that his attorney misinformed him about pleading guilty. Pierce claims his initial plea was "not guilty, " but his counsel persuaded him to plead guilty as "the best option, " and told him that MDOC would release him once he turned twenty-one years old. The circuit court was not persuaded, and denied his motion as time-barred and successive. Pierce timely appealed.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶5. When considering a circuit court's denial of a PCR motion, the appellate court will not disturb the circuit court's factual findings unless they are clearly erroneous. Questions of law, however, are reviewed de novo. Moore ...


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