Court of Appeals of Georgia.

Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

Ron O. Young, for Appellant.

Margaret Heap , for Appellee.



During the summer and early fall of 2004, Ron O. Young raped and/or sexually assaulted five women. In October 2006, he was tried and convicted for multiple offenses, including four counts of rape, and the trial court sentenced him to life without parole. Young appealed, and his convictions were affirmed in an unpublished opinion. See Case Number A08A0591 (decided April 2, 2008). In 2016, Young purported to file a "Motion to Correct Void Sentence," arguing that his sentence of life without parole is impermissible. The State moved to dismiss the motion, arguing that it was filed by a fellow prisoner. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss, and Young filed this appeal.

Pretermitting whether dismissal was proper, Young is not entitled to a direct appeal. A direct appeal may be taken from an order denying or dismissing a motion to vacate a void sentence only if the defendant raises a colorable claim that the sentence is, in fact, void. See Harper v. State, 286 Ga. 216, 217 n.1 (686 S.E.2d 786) (2009); Burg v. State, 297 Ga.App. 118, 119 (676 S.E.2d 465) (2009). A sentence is void only if it imposes punishment that the law does not allow. Crumbley v. State, 261 Ga. 610, 611 (1) (409 S.E.2d 517) (1991). "Motions to vacate a void sentence generally are limited to claims that — even assuming the existence and validity of the conviction for which the sentence was imposed — the law does not authorize that sentence, most typically because it exceeds the most severe punishment for which the applicable penal statute provides." Von Thomas v. State, 293 Ga. 569, 572 (2) (748 S.E.2d 446) (2013).

Contrary to Young's contention, life without parole is a lawful sentence for rape. See OCGA § 16-6-1 (b) ("A person convicted of the offense of rape shall be punished by death, by imprisonment for life without parole, by imprisonment for life, or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life."). Accordingly, Young has failed to raise a colorable void sentence claim, and this appeal is hereby DISMISSED.


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