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Funchess v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 26, 2019

JAMES CHARLES FUNCHESS A/K/A JAMES C. FUNCHESS A/K/A JAMES FUNCHESS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/26/2018

          MADISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOHN HUEY EMFINGER

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JAMES CHARLES FUNCHESS (PRO SE)

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BILLY L. GORE

          BEFORE J. WILSON, P.J., GREENLEE AND McCARTY, JJ.

          McCARTY, J.

         ¶1. James Charles Funchess pleaded guilty to one count of sale of cocaine within 1, 500 feet of a school. He was sentenced to sixty years, with thirty years suspended and five years of postrelease supervision. Funchess filed two prior motions for postconviction relief (PCR). This appeal concerns Funchess's third motion for PCR. His first two were dismissed by the trial court, and he appealed both dismissals. This Court consolidated the appeals and affirmed the trial court's decisions. Funchess v. State, 202 So.3d 1286, 1288 (¶1) (Miss. Ct. App. 2016) (Funchess I).

         ¶2. Funchess now appeals, asserting (1) his indictment was insufficient, (2) his plea was involuntary, (3) he received ineffective assistance of counsel, and (4) the sentence was illegal. Finding no error, we affirm.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶3. "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." Bass v. State, 237 So.3d 172, 173 (¶4) (Miss. Ct. App. 2017).

         DISCUSSION

         ¶4. When a prisoner has already filed a PCR motion, the second or a successive PCR motion is barred. Miss. Code Ann. § 99-39-23(6) (Rev. 2015). Because this is Funchess's third PCR motion, it is barred as successive.

         ¶5. Yet "[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). However, "mere assertions of constitutional-rights violations do not suffice to overcome the procedural bar." Id. In addition to the successive-writ bar, Funchess argues similar issues as those set forth in his prior PCR motions, which we addressed fully in Funchess I. Regardless, we will review the issues to determine whether Funchess has overcome the procedural bar.

         I.Indict ...


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