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Edwards v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 24, 2019

JONATHAN EDWARDS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/26/2018

          MARION COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. PRENTISS GREENE HARRELL TRIAL JUDGE:

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JONATHAN EDWARDS (PRO SE)

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

          BEFORE CARLTON, P.J., WESTBROOKS AND C. WILSON, JJ.

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. The Marion County Circuit Court convicted Jonathan Edwards of burglary pursuant to a guilty plea. Appearing pro se, he appeals the circuit court's denial of his motions for post-conviction collateral relief. After review of the record, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. On December 17, 2015, Jonathan Edwards was indicted by a Marion County grand jury for six counts of burglary of a dwelling and one count of attempted burglary. On January 6, 2017, the State filed a "Motion to Amend Indictment" encompassing each of the seven charges. Citing seven separate, prior convictions, the State's motion sought to also charge Edwards as a habitual offender pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-81 (Rev. 2015).

         ¶3. At a hearing in the Marion County Circuit Court on January 18, 2017, the State's motion was granted. During the same hearing, Edwards pled guilty to two of the seven charges in open court; the remaining five counts were dismissed.[1] The court's order, entered January 27, 2017, sentenced Edwards as a habitual offender, for two counts of burglary of a dwelling, pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 97-17-23 (Rev. 2014). Edwards was ordered to serve two concurrent terms ("hard time") of twenty-five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, one term for each charge.[2] At the time of his arrest Edwards was on parole from a fifteen-year sentence resulting from a prior unrelated felony conviction. As a result of the burglary arrest and convictions, Edwards's parole was revoked, and he was ordered to serve the initial sentence in prison, consecutive to the January 27, 2017 burglary sentence.

         ¶4. On September 8, 2017, Edwards filed two motions for post-conviction collateral relief (PCR) with the circuit court. Following a seven-month interlude, Edwards also filed a "Motion to Expedite Procedures" on April 16, 2018, along with a brief in support of the PCR motions. Approximately one month later, on May 29, 2018, Edwards filed a "Petition for an Order to Show Cause" with the Mississippi Supreme Court, alleging the circuit court's refusal to respond to Edwards's previous motions. The circuit court issued its June 26, 2018 opinion denying the PCR motions, and the petition for show cause was subsequently dismissed as moot on July 18, 2018. Aggrieved, Edwards now appeals.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶5. We will not disturb a trial court's denial of a PCR motion "absent a finding that the trial court's decision was clearly erroneous." Jackson v. State, 67 So.3d 725 (¶16) (Miss. 2011); Hughes v. State, 106 So.3d 836, 838 (¶4) (Miss. Ct. App. 2012). However, issues of law will be reviewed de novo. Brown v. State, 731 So.2d 595, 598 (¶6) (Miss. 1999).

         ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION

         ¶6. Edwards raises numerous issues before this Court. In the following discussion, we have reorganized and merged some points for clarity and concision.

         I. Guilty Plea: Intelligent, Knowing, and Voluntary

         ¶7. Edwards asserts that neither the State nor the circuit court provided notice of the amended indictment prior to the entry of his guilty plea. Edwards also claims that he was not informed that his new sentences would run consecutive to a prior fifteen-year sentence. Purportedly absent this knowledge, Edwards argues that his guilty plea was not intelligent, knowing, and voluntary. We disagree.

         ¶8. Edwards presents no case law to support his assertion that the court and/or his attorney had a duty to inform him of how the sentence imposed by the court would affect his revoked parole. But, it is clear from the record that the court thoroughly explained the possible sentences associated with Edwards's plea during the following exchange:

The court: I will expect you to know what you could get though, so I will ask you. The only restriction I have is I can't give you more than the max, so I expect you to know what I'm going to give you. And I'm going to ask you, Jonathan, do you know what I can give you for burglary of a dwelling?
Edwards: Yes, sir.
The court: How much?
Edwards: 3 to 25 years.
The court: That's right. And how many do ...

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