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James v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 11, 2018

RAY JAMES APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/27/2017

          SUNFLOWER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. CAROL L. WHITE-RICHARD JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: RAY JAMES (PRO SE)

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

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

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. Ray James was convicted of burglary of a dwelling and four counts of aggravated assault against a police officer. Eleven years later, James filed a motion for a sentence reduction or, in the alternative, a new trial or permission to appeal. Finding that James's motion was time barred, the circuit court denied his motion. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS

         ¶2. In July 2005, James was convicted of burglary of a dwelling and four counts of aggravated assault against a police officer. In 2010, the officer, Tony Cooper, was later convicted and sentenced on unrelated charges in federal court. In 2016, James filed a motion for a sentence reduction or, in the alternative, a new trial or permission to appeal. The circuit court stated that James's motion was time barred and that it had no authority to grant his request of a sentence reduction, a new trial and/or an out of time appeal. James timely appeals.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶3. "When reviewing a trial court's denial or dismissal of a [motion for postconviction relief (PCR)], 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." Creppel v. State, 199 So.3d 715, 718 (¶8) (Miss. Ct. App. 2016) (quoting Jackson v. State, 178 So.3d 807, 809 (¶8) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014)).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Procedural Bar

         ¶4. "Under Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-39-5(2) (Supp. 2012), a movant has three years to file a PCR motion, and failure to file a PCR motion within the three years is a procedural bar." Blount v. State, 126 So.3d 927, 930-31 (ΒΆ13) (Miss. Ct. App. 2013). But, the Mississippi Supreme Court has held that "errors affecting fundamental rights are exceptions to the rule that questions not raised in the trial court cannot ...


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