OF JUDGMENT: 10/01/2018
LAUDERDALE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. LESTER F. WILLIAMSON JR.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JAMES A. WILLIAMS
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
BILLY L. GORE
BARNES, C.J., McCARTY AND C. WILSON, JJ.
Antonio Harris filed a petition for postconviction collateral
relief (PCR) in the Circuit Court of Lauderdale County. The
circuit court dismissed Harris' petition as being
time-barred with no applicable exception. We agree and
One day during summer break, Harris and his half-brother
drove to the Bonita Lakes Mall, where they broke into a car
in broad daylight. The pair ransacked the car, ultimately
absconding with four dollars and a Nintendo Game Boy. The
car's owner saw them and called the police. Harris and
his half-brother were arrested and charged with burglary of
Four months later, while out on bond for his burglary charge,
Harris began a sexual "relationship" with a
twelve-year-old girl (herein referred to by the initials
"T.C."). He saw T.C. while visiting his aunt at the
Eastern Gardens apartment complex-the same apartments where
the child lived. Harris drove T.C. from the complex to the
Salvation Army, where they had sexual intercourse. Harris
maintained that they only had intercourse twice, but T.C.
told a judge that it had been seven or eight times.
T.C.'s mother discovered the relationship and took her to
the hospital for a rape examination; Harris was subsequently
Harris was again released on bond, during which time he was
charged with yet another automobile burglary. This time, he
and his cousin went to the Cedar Bend Apartments around 3:45
a.m. and broke into a car. Witnesses at the apartment complex
saw Harris and chased him down the street with stolen
speakers in his hands. Harris admitted he was present during
the burglary but denied being the person whom witnesses saw
running away with the speakers.
Harris entered into a plea agreement for which he would
receive a recommendation for the minimum sentence of twenty
years to be served day-for-day on the statutory rape charge.
He subsequently withdrew his plea. He later accepted a new
plea offer, which stipulated: the State would recommend
concurrent sentences for the statutory rape and auto
burglaries, and the State would not object or appeal if the
circuit court sentenced Harris to a term below the minimum.
The plea agreement explicitly provided that the State was not
agreeing to any particular sentence and would not remain
silent at sentencing.
Harris agreed to the new plea agreement terms, which the
circuit court accepted on September 23, 2004. He was
sentenced to twenty years to be served day-for-day for the
statutory rape and three years for each of the burglary
convictions. The circuit court set the sentences to be served
concurrently in the custody of the Mississippi Department of
Over thirteen years later, on December 1, 2017, Harris filed
his PCR petition. Affidavits of Harris and his mother, Zelda,
were included. Harris insisted in his affidavit that the
circuit court "really came down on [him], making it look
like [he] was out committing crimes . . . then the
'statutory rape,' which was really having sex with an
under-age girl, who was all wanting me." Without holding
an evidentiary hearing, the circuit court signed an order
summarily dismissing Harris' motion as being time-barred.
Harris now appeals the circuit court's dismissal and
argues that his claims were excepted from any procedural bars
because his fundamental right to due process was violated. On
appeal, Harris challenges his sentence as not only being
violative of his plea deal, but also "fundamentally
unfair and [a violation of] his right to due process."
He maintains he was denied due process at sentencing when the
State and the circuit court inquired into his juvenile
This Court reviews the dismissal of a PCR petition for an
abuse of discretion. Williams v. State, 110 So.3d
840, 842 (¶11) (Miss. Ct. App. 2013). We will not
reverse a dismissal absent a finding that the lower
court's decision was clearly erroneous; however, we
review issues of law under a de novo standard. Salter v.
State, 184 So.3d 944, 948 (¶10) (Miss. Ct. App.
2015). The issue of whether Harris' petition is
procedurally barred is a question of law and is therefore
reviewed de novo. Shields v. State, 130 So.3d 160,
162 (¶8) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014).
Harris challenges the circuit court's dismissal of his
PCR petition as being time-barred. He argues that the
dismissal was erroneous and that his ...