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Pryer v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi, En Banc

June 5, 2014

TIMOTHY GENE PRYER a/k/a TIM a/k/a TIMOTHY PRYER a/k/a TIMOTHY G. PRYER
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: ITAWAMBA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/30/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. THOMAS J. GARDNER, III.

FOR APPELLANT: TIMOTHY GENE PRYER (Pro se).

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: JOHN R. HENRY, JR.

KITCHENS, JUSTICE. WALLER, C.J., RANDOLPH, P.J., LAMAR, PIERCE, AND KING, JJ., CONCUR. DICKINSON, P.J., DISSENTS WITH SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION JOINED BY CHANDLER AND COLEMAN, JJ.

OPINION

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - OTHER

KITCHENS, JUSTICE.

¶1. Timothy Pryer repeatedly requested documents from the Circuit Clerk of Itawamba County pursuant to the Mississippi Public Records Act. The circuit judge twice denied the request, finding that the documents did not exist within the clerk's file. Pryer appealed the latter order and the Court of Appeals affirmed, whereupon we granted a writ of certiorari. We affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Pryer sought from the circuit court: " the Order givin[g] Carol Gates the Office of Judge de facto or pro tempore and the order givin[g] Carol Gates authority to appoint indigent counsel for December

Page 714

2, 2004 [hearing] and the names of the 40 plus souls and their addresses according to the record." [1] The Itawamba County Circuit Court issued an order on June 6, 2011, " denying Pryer records and construing a request for records as a petition for Post-Conviction Relief (PCR)." (Emphasis in original.) This order does not appear in the record but is mentioned in the " Motion to Show Cause" filed by Pryer on June 20, 2011. In that motion, Pryer alleged:

that on December 2, 2004 A.D., Carol Gates [2] presided over an Indictment Arraignment as Judge de facto or pro tempore in the absence of Paul Funderburk.[3] That forty (40) plus souls were arraigned and that Carol Gates appointed indigent counsel by the name of Hon. Carolyn Benson to represent some or all of the forty (40) plus souls. Because Carol Gates is not licensed to practice law, Carolyn Benson received State funds under false pretenses, Funderburk and Gates facilitated the crime and are accessories before the fact. Because Gates and Judge Garner [4] [sic] have obviously conspired to circumvent the law and procedure, they are accessories after the fact.

(Emphases in original.) Asserting that " [t]he truth will come out," Pryer requested the above documents from the circuit judge.

¶3. On December 19, 2011, Pryer filed a petition for writ of mandamus in this Court, requesting that we direct the circuit judge to enter an order on the " Motion to Show Cause." This Court granted the petition for writ of mandamus on January 18, 2011, and the circuit court proceeded to enter an order on February 1, 2012. That order denied Pryer's motion, explaining that the documents requested were " not contained with the Circuit Clerk's file" and that " [t]his motion contains the exact same requests as the previously filed motions." The court continued, " the Motion to Show Cause contains completely unfounded and slanderous allegations against several court officials."

¶4. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the Itawamba County Circuit Court, holding that " we have no reason to believe that any such documents do exist. It further appears that Pryer is merely on a 'fishing expedition' for grounds upon which to attack his conviction and sentence." Pryer v. State, 139 So.3d 719, 2013 WL 2399645, at *2 (Miss. Ct. App. June 4, 2013). In his petition for writ of certiorari, Pryer argues that the Court of Appeals erred in two ways. First, Pryer argues that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to treat his request as a petition for post-conviction ...


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