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Brunet v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

July 23, 2019

CHARLES BRUNET APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/18/2018

          JONES COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. DAL WILLIAMSON JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: CHARLES BRUNET (PRO SE).

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: JEFFREY A. KLINGFUSS.

          BEFORE BARNES, C.J., McDONALD AND C. WILSON, JJ.

          BARNES, C.J.

         ¶1. Charles Brunet, appearing pro se, appeals the judgment of the Jones County Circuit Court, which denied his motion for post-conviction relief (PCR). Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. In October 2016, Brunet pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery on two children, and three counts of molestation on another child, under Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-3-95 (Rev. 2014) and section 97-5-23 (Rev. 2014), respectively. The criminal acts on these family members occurred between 2011 and 2015. At the time of Brunet's arrest, the children were aged fourteen, twelve, and nine. When sentenced, Brunet was nearly seventy-six years old. Because of Brunet's advanced age, the State recommended that for each count Brunet would be sentenced only to fifteen years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with twelve years to serve and three years suspended, with the sentences to run concurrently. The trial court accepted the State's recommendation, noting the sentences would be served day-for-day because the offenses are sex crimes.

         ¶3. In May 2018, Brunet filed a self-styled "Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence." Brunet argued that his sentence violated his right to due process because it exceeded his life expectancy and was thus cruel and unusual punishment. The trial court treated his motion as a PCR petition, finding his sentence was not excessive as it was within the statutory limits for the two crimes. The trial court also found under Kirksey v. State, 728 So.2d 565 (Miss. 1999), that the sentence was not disproportionate when compared to other sentences imposed for the same crimes. Further, the trial court found Brunet's plea to be freely, voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently given. The trial court concluded Brunet's motion was without merit, and Brunet timely appealed.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶4. The trial court's denial or dismissal of a PCR motion is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. We will only disturb the trial court's factual findings if they are clearly erroneous. Legal conclusions, however, are reviewed de novo. Ivey v. State, 134 So.3d 796, 797 (¶4) (Miss. Ct. App. 2013) (citing Hughes v. State, 106 So.3d 836, 838 (¶4) (Miss. Ct. App. 2012)).

         ANALYSIS

         ¶5. It is well established that sentencing is "within the discretion of the trial court . . . and generally is not subject to appellate review if it is within the limits prescribed by the applicable statute. This includes sentences based on guilty pleas." Burrough v. State, 9 So.3d 368, 372 (ΒΆ10) (Miss. 2009) (citations omitted). Moreover, "[a] sentence . . . is not disproportionate when compared to ...


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