Rule 36- Clerical Mistakes

Except as indicated, all indented material is copied directly from the court’s opinion.

Decisions of the Tennessee Supreme Court

Decisions of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals

State v. Troutt, No. M2021-01248-CCA-R3-CD, p. 3 (Tenn. Ct. Crim. App. Nov. 18, 2022). 

While a trial court’s ruling on a Rule 36 motion is generally reviewed on appeal for an abuse of discretion, see Marcus Deangelo Lee v. State, No. W2013-01088-CCA-R3- CO, 2014 WL 902450, at *3 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 7, 2014) (citation omitted), the court in this appeal must determine whether the trial court correctly ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the Defendant’s motion. This court is required to “consider whether the trial and appellate court have jurisdiction over the subject matter, whether or not presented for review.” Tenn. R. App. P. 13(b). Because a determination of whether subject matter jurisdiction exists is a question of law, we will review the trial court’s ruling on jurisdiction de novo without a presumption of correctness. See State v. Cawood, 134 S.W.3d 159, 163 (Tenn. 2004) (citation omitted).

Hardin v. State, No. E2021-01244-CCA-R3-PC, p. 5-6 (Tenn. Ct. Crim. App. Aug. 15, 2022). 

Under Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36, “[a]fter giving any notice it considers appropriate, the court may at any time correct clerical mistakes in judgments, orders, or other parts of the record, and errors in the record arising from oversight or omission.” Clerical errors “‘arise simply from a clerical mistake in filling out the uniform judgment document’ and may be corrected at any time under Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.” State v. Wooden, 478 S.W.3d 585, 595 (Tenn. 2015) (quoting Cantrell v. Easterling, 346 S.W.3d 445, 453 (Tenn. 2011)). “Where a trial court fails, by reason of clerical mistake, oversight, or omission, to record a defendant’s sentence accurately on a judgment, the trial court maintains the power to correct the clerical error under Rule 36.” State v. Brown, 479 S.W.3d 200, 213 (Tenn. 2015). “To determine whether the judgment contains a clerical error, a court ordinarily must compare the judgment with the transcript of the trial court’s oral statements,” which is controlling. Id. As this Court has previously explained:

“[T]he record in the case must show that the judgment entered omitted a portion of the judgment of the court or that the judgment was erroneously entered. The most reliable indicator that clerical error was made is the transcript of the hearing or other papers filed in connection with the proceedings which show the judgment was not correctly entered. In the absence of these supporting facts, a judgment may not be amended under the clerical error rule after it has become final.”

State v. Hobert Dean Davis, No. E2000-02879-CCA-R3-CD, 2002 WL 340597, at *3 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 4, 2002) (quoting State v. Jack Lee Thomas, Jr., No. 03C01-9504- CR-00109, 1995 WL 676396, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Nov. 15, 1995). A trial court’s ruling on a Rule 36 motion is reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard. Marcus Deangelo Lee v. State, No. W2013-01088-CCA-R3-CO, 2014 WL 902450, at *3 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 7, 2014).


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