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Smith v. Wesley

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

February 3, 2015

LAURON SMITH A/K/A LAURON EDWARD SMITH A/K/A LAURON E. SMITH, APPELLANT
v.
TARA WESLEY AND CHRISTOPHER B. EPPS, APPELLEES

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: RANKIN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/04/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. WILLIAM E. CHAPMAN III. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED AGENCY'S DECISION AND DISMISSED COMPLAINT.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: LAURON SMITH (PRO SE).

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: ANTHONY LOUIS SCHMIDT JR., JAMES M. NORRIS.

BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND ISHEE, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. JAMES, J., CONCURS IN PART WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.

OPINION

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - STATE BOARDS AND AGENCIES

BARNES, J.

¶1. Lauron Smith is an inmate in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Smith was convicted in 2012 for vehicle theft in Harrison County, Mississippi, and sentenced to six years of imprisonment. On June 20, 2013, Smith was issued a rules violation report (RVR) (No. 01326449) for walking out of a building without permission and refusing to obey staff's orders.[1] The MDOC hearing officer, Tara Wesley, found Smith guilty of the violation on June 26, 2013. His punishment was a thirty-day loss of privileges. According to the RVR issued, Smith refused to attend the hearing.[2]

Page 861

¶2. Smith filed an appeal on July 25, 2013, through the MDOC's Administrative Remedy Program (ARP), see Miss. Code Ann. § 47-5-803 (Rev. 2011), claiming he never received notice of the RVR hearing. Four days later, the MDOC returned Smith's ARP complaint because he had failed to attach a copy of the required RVR to the form.

¶3. On August 20, 2013, Smith filed a complaint with the Rankin Count Circuit Court, seeking review of the MDOC's administrative decision. The MDOC responded, arguing that Smith's complaint should be dismissed, as he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by Mississippi Code Annotated section 47-5-803(2).

¶4. On November 4, 2013, the circuit court affirmed the MDOC's decision and entered a judgment of dismissal. Smith now appeals the circuit court's judgment, and finding no error, we affirm.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶5. " We will not disturb the decision of an administrative agency, such as the MDOC, unless the decision is 'unsupported by substantial evidence, arbitrary or capricious, beyond the agency's scope or powers, or violative of the constitutional or statutory rights of the aggrieved party.'" Taylor v. Petrie, 41 So.3d 724, 727 (¶ 8) ...


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