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Bass v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi, En Banc

October 3, 2017

TERRELL G. BASS A/K/A TERRELL GENE BASS A/K/A TERRELL BASS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/17/2016

         MARION COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. ANTHONY ALAN MOZINGO

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: TERRELL G. BASS (PRO SE)

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: LAURA HOGAN TEDDER

          LEE, C.J.

         ¶1. Terrell Bass appeals the dismissal of his second motion for postconviction relief (PCR). Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Bass was indicted for two counts of capital murder and one count of aggravated assault after he killed his estranged wife, Tonya Stogner, and Ronald Plummer, and shot and injured Hershel Stogner. He took a plea deal, pleading guilty to one count of capital murder, one count of manslaughter, and one count of aggravated assault. In exchange for his guilty plea, Bass avoided the possibility of the death penalty. Bass was sentenced to life for capital murder, twenty years for manslaughter, and twenty years, with ten years suspended and five years' postrelease supervision for aggravated assault. All sentences were ordered to be served in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections and ordered to run consecutively.

         ¶3. Bass, in his second PCR motion, raised three issues: (1) he received ineffective assistance of counsel, (2) his guilty plea was involuntary, and (3) his indictment was fatally defective. The circuit court dismissed Bass's PCR motion as time-barred and noted that it did not meet any of the exceptions to the bar. Bass now appeals.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶4. "When reviewing a trial court's denial or dismissal of a PCR motion, we will only disturb the trial court's factual findings if they are clearly erroneous; however, we review the trial court's legal conclusions under a de novo standard of review." Purnell v. State, 126 So.3d 949, 951 (¶4) (Miss. Ct. App. 2013) (citation omitted).

         DISCUSSION

         ¶5. First, we find that Bass's PCR motion is time-barred. Under Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-39-5(2) (Rev. 2015), a claimant who pleads guilty has three years from the judgment of conviction to file his PCR motion. Here, Bass was convicted in 2009 and filed his second PCR motion in 2016-well beyond the three-year time-bar. As such, his PCR motion is time-barred. Additionally, Bass's motion is barred as a successive writ. Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-39-23(6) (Rev. 2015) provides that when a prisoner has already filed a PCR motion, the second or a successive PCR motion is barred as a successive writ. We, of course, acknowledge that "[e]rrors affecting fundamental constitutional rights are excepted from the procedural bars of the [Uniform Post-Conviction Collateral Relief Act]." Williams v. State, 158 So.3d 1171, 1173 (¶4) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014) (citation omitted). However, "mere assertions of constitutional-rights violations do not suffice to overcome the procedural bar." Id. Bass fails to do more than merely assert constitutional-rights violations, such that he does not survive the procedural bars. Additionally, Bass argues issues identical to those set forth in his first PCR motion, which we addressed fully in Bass v. State, 174 So.3d 883 (Miss. Ct. App. 2015) (Bass I). Nevertheless, we will again address the merits of his issues.

         I.Effective Assistance ...


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