Long v. Commonwealth, 2021-CA-0977-MR

CourtCourt of Appeals of Kentucky
Writing for the CourtDIXON, JUDGE:
PartiesELBERT PHILLIP LONG APPELLANT v. COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY APPELLEE
Decision Date17 June 2022
Docket Number2021-CA-0977-MR

ELBERT PHILLIP LONG APPELLANT
v.

COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY APPELLEE

No. 2021-CA-0977-MR

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

June 17, 2022


NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

APPEAL FROM DAVIESS CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE LISA P. JONES, JUDGE ACTION NO. 76-CR-18196

BRIEFS FOR APPELLANT Elbert Phillip Long, pro se

BRIEF FOR APPELLEE: Daniel Cameron LaGrange, Todd D. Ferguson Assistant Attorney General

BEFORE: DIXON, JONES, AND K. THOMPSON, JUDGES.

OPINION

DIXON, JUDGE:

Elbert Phillip Long appeals the order denying his pro se motion to amend his sentence pursuant to CR[1] 60.02 and 60.03, entered July 23, 2021, by the Daviess Circuit Court. After careful review of the briefs, record, and law, we reverse and remand.

1

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In 1977, Long was convicted of murder and attempted rape and was sentenced, respectively, to life imprisonment and five years to run consecutively. His convictions were affirmed on direct appeal. Long v. Commonwealth, 559 S.W.2d 482 (Ky. 1977). Thereafter, Long filed a multitude of collateral challenges regarding his convictions and sentences, as well as state and federal civil actions pertaining to the conditions of his confinement. In June 2021, Long again sought to vacate, amend, or correct his sentence pursuant to CR 60.02 and 60.03, renewing his claim that his sentence was illegal. Determining that Long's motion was successive and procedurally barred, the court denied relief, and this appeal followed.

ANALYSIS

Long raises various claims on appeal[2]; however, we need only address his contention that his consecutive sentences of life imprisonment and five years are illegal and subject to correction at any time.

"A sentence that lies outside the statutory limits is an illegal sentence[.]" McClanahan v. Commonwealth, 308 S.W.3d 694, 701 (Ky. 2010).

2

Illegal sentences are considered void only to the extent they exceed statutory limits and are always subject to correction. Phon v. Commonwealth, 545 S.W.3d 284, 304-07 (Ky. 2018). KRS[3] 532.110 and KRS 532.080 provide that life imprisonment is the longest permissible sentence which may be imposed, and consequently, it is settled law that a court exceeds this limitation when additional sentences arising from the same judgment are ordered to be served consecutively to a life sentence. Goben v. Commonwealth, 503 S.W.3d 890, 923 (Ky. 2016); Bedell v. Commonwealth, 870 S.W.2d 779, 783 (Ky. 1993)[4]; Shannon v. Commonwealth, 562 S.W.2d 301,...

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