APPELLANT PRO SE: ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE:
LONNIE WICKLIFFE JEFFREY A. MODISETT
Michigan City, Indiana Attorney General of Indiana
Deputy Attorney General
COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA
LONNIE WICKLIFFE, )
vs. ) No. 77A01-9903-PC-94
STATE OF INDIANA, )
APPEAL FROM THE SULLIVAN CIRCUIT COURT
The Honorable P.J. Pierson, Judge
Cause No. 77C01-9901-MI-1
November 5, 1999
OPINION - FOR PUBLICATION
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
Appellant-Petitioner Lonnie Wickliffe (Wickliffe) appeals the Sullivan County Circuit
Court's ("Sullivan court") denial and subsequent transfer of Wickliffe's State Writ of Habeas
Corpus to the Marion County Superior Court ("Marion court").
Wickliffe raises several issues for our review which we consolidate and restate as
whether the Sullivan court properly transferred Wickliffe's Writ of Habeas Corpus to the
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Wickliffe was convicted of first-degree murder at the conclusion of a jury trial in
Marion Criminal Court on September 26, 1975. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Wickliffe appealed his conviction and the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's
judgment. Wickliffe v. State, 424 N.E.2d 1007 (Ind. 1981).
On January 4, 1999, while Wickliffe was imprisoned and detained at the Wabash
Valley Correctional Facility in Sullivan County, he petitioned for State Writ of Habeas
Corpus in the Sullivan court. On January 7, 1999, the Sullivan court denied and dismissed
Wickliffe's petition. On January 7, 1999, Wickliffe filed, pro se, a Motion For Leave For
Rehearing. On January 27, 1999, Wickliffe also filed, pro se, a Motion For Reduction of
Sentence. On February 2, 1999, the Sullivan court denied Wickliffe's motion for rehearing
and also entered an order that Wickliffe's sentence reduction motion attacked the validity of
his conviction, and pursuant to Ind.Post-Conviction Rule 1 § 1(c), transferred the cause to
the Marion County Superior Court. Wickliffe now appeals the transfer of his cause.DISCUSSION AND DECISION
Wickliffe argues that the Sullivan court improperly denied and transferred his State
Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Marion court. Wickliffe contends that the Sullivan court
should have instead granted him a special hearing on his Writ of Habeas Corpus to be held
in the Sullivan court. Therefore, we will review whether the Sullivan court should have
transferred the cause to the Marion court.
Ind.Post-Conviction Rule 1 § 1 states:
(c) This Rule does not suspend the writ of habeas corpus, but if a petitioner
applies for a writ of habeas corpus, in the court having jurisdiction of his
person, attacking the validity of his conviction or sentence, that court shall
under this Rule transfer the cause to the court where the petitioner was
convicted or sentenced, and the latter court shall treat it as a petition for relief
under this Rule.
Our supreme court addressed this issue in Miller v. Lowrance, 629 N.E.2d 846 (Ind.
1994), when it stated:
Appellee's petition for writ of habeas corpus attacks the validity of his
conviction and sentence which both serve as the bases for the confinement in
the Correctional Industrial Complex. Therefore it falls within the parameters
of P-C.R. 1(1)(c) of the Indiana Rules of Procedure which clearly requires the
Madison Circuit Court to transfer the petition to the Vanderburgh Circuit
Court. The Madison Circuit Court only had jurisdiction to receive the filing
of the petition and transfer the cause to the court where the petitioner was
convicted or sentenced.
Miller, 629 N.E.2d at 847 (citation omitted).
In the case at hand, Wickliffe's petition for writ of habeas corpus attacked the validity
of his conviction and sentence which serve as the bases for his confinement at the Wabash
Valley Correctional Facility in Sullivan County. Therefore, it falls within the parameters of
P-C.R. 1(1)(c) of the Indiana Rules of Procedure which clearly requires the Sullivan court
to transfer the petition to the Marion court. The Sullivan court only had jurisdiction to
receive the filing of Wickliffe's writ and transfer the cause to the court where he was
convicted or sentenced. Thus, the Sullivan court did not have jurisdiction to grant Wickliffe's
writ and grant him a special hearing in the Sullivan court and the Sullivan court properly
denied and transferred Wickliffe's writ to the Marion court.
KIRSCH, J., and SHARPNACK, C.J., concur.
Converted from WP6.1 by the Access Indiana Information Network