OF JUDGMENT: 01/26/2018
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JAMES T. KITCHENS JR. TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: THOMAS ROBY (PRO SE)
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
LAURA HOGAN TEDDER
BARNES, C.J., TINDELL AND McCARTY, JJ.
Thomas Roby pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery.
For each count, the trial court sentenced Roby to twelve
years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of
Corrections, with seven years to serve and five years of
post-release supervision; the sentences were to run
concurrently. Roby, appearing pro se, filed a motion for
post-conviction relief (PCR), which the trial court
dismissed. On appeal, Roby argues that his guilty plea was
involuntary and had no factual basis. Finding no error, we
affirm the dismissal of his PCR motion.
In April 2012, a Clay County grand jury indicted Roby for two
counts of armed robbery. In March 2015, Roby, through
counsel, filed a notice of an alibi defense, in which he
alleged that on April 15, 2007-the date of the armed
robberies-he had met with his probation officer in Illinois.
After several agreed continuances, Roby's trial was set
for July 25, 2016; however, on that day, Roby failed to
appear in court. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
The next day, Roby's counsel filed a motion for
continuance. He explained that on July 25, 2016, Roby had
reported to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Columbus,
Mississippi, and was physically unable to participate in his
trial. Roby did appear, however, at the courthouse on July
26, having been released from the hospital the previous day.
The State was prepared to go forward with trial, having
subpoenaed witnesses who were present and ready to testify
against Roby. With the jury set to return at 1:30 p.m. to
commence trial proceedings, Roby decided to change his plea
A plea hearing ensued. The trial judge questioned Roby in
detail about his plea and discussed at length the
ramifications of his pleading guilty. Roby stated under oath
that his attorney had explained the plea petition and that he
understood it, as well as what the State had to prove to
convict him. Roby admitted that he did have a defense to the
charges and had spoken to his attorney about that defense. He
also admitted that he understood the many rights he was
waiving by entering a guilty plea. Roby admitted that he had
received several threats to plead guilty but that the threats
were not why he was pleading guilty. Additionally, when the
trial judge questioned Roby about whether he was under the
influence of any illegal drugs or alcohol, Roby admitted that
he was "under methadone, " which he had been given at
the hospital in Columbus the day before, but he denied any
addiction to opiates:
Q. Today, are you under the influence of any illegal drugs or
alcohol or undergoing any kind of mental treatment at this
A. Yes. I'm under [m]ethadone.
Q. So, you have an addiction to ...