The Mississippi Supreme Court has denied a request for a case to be remanded back to trial court by an Oktibbeha man serving a life sentence for cutting a woman with a knife almost two decades ago.
The state’s high court on Tuesday ruled against the latest filing from 59-year-old Tommie Lee Page, who was convicted by an Oktibbeha jury in October 2001 of aggravated assault after he was accused of breaking into a woman’s home and cutting another woman on the hand with a knife.
The larceny charge was ultimately retired in favor of the habitual offender sentence for aggravated assault.
Page, who is indigent, will also be prohibited from making future filings free of charge relating to his conviction and sentence.
Page is currently serving his sentence at the Marshall County Correctional Facility in Holly Springs.
According to court records, the victim injured in the incident claims she was lured into the back room of a coin-operated laundry by Page on the pretext that he could show her how to operate the dryers without putting in money.
The victim then said as she stood in the door, Page pulled her into the room and approached her with a drawn knife, before the two struggled and she grabbed the knife in an attempt to defend herself. The victim said she cried out for help, but before anyone else arrived, Page fled the building, apparently using a rear door.
Court records indicated that the victim was not personally acquainted with her assailant, but was able to identify him for investigating officers from a photographic lineup.
Following his arrest and subsequent trial, Circuit Court Judge John M. Montgomery sentenced Page to life in prison as a habitual offender.
Prior to the aggravated assault, Page had already been convicted of armed robbery in 1978 and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Court records also show Page was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1990 for an undisclosed offense. It is unclear at this time how long he served in either of the previous offenses that resulted in prison time.
In its latest decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Page is hereby restricted from filing further applications for post-conviction collateral relief or pleadings in that nature that are related to his conviction and sentence.
The court also pointed out that Page exhausted the maximum of three requests for post-conviction relief, but submitted filings on seven different occasions.
In his most recent filing, Page makes several claims, saying his sentence is illegal because he was erroneously sentenced for a crime that was neither tried nor proved; The indictment was fatally defective for erroneously charging him with the crime of aggravated assault and his due-process rights were violated, because the word “did” was omitted with respect to the grand jury indictment.
Page also claims the habitual offender portion of his sentence is illegal and that his conviction and sentence are illegal because the state failed to prove aggravated assault beyond a reasonable doubt.
When considering his multiple requests, the decision from the Supreme Court states that the court clerk shall not accept filings for any further applications for post-conviction collateral relief from Page that are related to this conviction and sentence unless he pays the applicable docket fee, which he previously did not have to pay due to his indigent status.
Last August, Page also made a motion for transfer of jurisdiction to the state Court of Appeals due to what his defense referred to as “newly discovered evidence.”
The motion was then denied by the Court of Appeals and court records show Page was warned that future filings deemed frivolous may result in monetary sanctions and restrictions on filing applications for post-conviction collateral relief.
This warning was then pointed out by the Mississippi Supreme Court, who deemed the latest filing frivolous.
In a written objection, Justice Leslie D. King, along with Justice James W. Kitchens, opposed the order “Because the imposition of monetary sanctions against indigent defendants and the restriction of access to the court system serve only to punish those defendants and to violate rights guaranteed by the United States and Mississippi Constitution.”