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Norwood v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 3, 2015

ALBERT LEE NORWOOD A/K/A ALBERT NORWOOD, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/22/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOHN C. GARGIULO. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: MOTION FOR RECORDS AND TRANSCRIPT DENIED.

ALBERT LEE NORWOOD, APPELLANT, Pro se.

FOR APPELLEE: SCOTT STUART, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND MAXWELL, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 395

MAXWELL, J.

¶1 Albert Norwood appeals the circuit court's denial of his request for documents from his guilty plea. Because his document request was not part of a direct appeal or motion for post-conviction relief, we lack jurisdiction. We thus dismiss.

Facts and Procedural History

¶2 On April 9, 2012, Norwood pled guilty to failing to re-register as a convicted sex offender.[1] The judge sentenced him to serve fours years, with credit for time served.

¶3 On October 15, 2013, Norwood mailed a letter to the circuit court asking for various documents from his failure-to-register case. The court treated Norwood's letter as a motion and denied his request, noting he failed to show good cause for free documents. Norwood appealed.[2]

Discussion

¶4 " Jurisdiction is a question of law[,] which this Court reviews de novo." Bullock v. State, 1 So.3d 941, 942 (¶ 4) (Miss.Ct.App. 2009) (quoting Trustmark Nat'l Bank v. Johnson, 865 So.2d 1148, 1150 (¶ 8) (Miss. 2004)). There are two avenues of appeal for a criminal defendant--(1) a direct appeal from the conviction and (2) an appeal from a postconviction relief (PCR) motion. Shanks v. State, 906 So.2d 760, 761 (¶ 3) (Miss.Ct.App. 2004). Norwood forfeited his right to a direct appeal when he pled guilty. Miss. Code Ann. § 99-35-101 (Supp. 2014). So

Page 396

his only available avenue was to bring a PCR motion. Bullock, 1 So.3d at 943 (¶ 5). But he failed to do so.

¶5 What he was really doing here was fishing for documents. However, the Uniform Post-Conviction Collateral Relief Act (UPCCRA) does not give a prisoner " the right to institute an independent, original action for a free transcript or other documents, and then if dissatisfied with the trial court's ruling, to directly appeal that ruling to the appellate court as a separate and independent action." Id. at (¶ 7).

¶6 But Norwood does have the option of requesting documents as part of a PCR motion. Id. at (¶ 6). If Norwood files a proper and timely PCR motion--and it withstands summary dismissal under Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-39-11(2) (Supp. 2014)--he then " may be entitled to trial transcripts or other relevant documents under the discovery provisions of [section] 99-39-15, upon good cause shown and in the discretion of the trial judge." Bullock, 1 So.3d at 943 (¶ 6).

¶7 We thus dismiss for lack of appellate jurisdiction.

¶8 THIS APPEAL IS DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE DUE TO LACK OF JURISDICTION. ALL COSTS OF THIS APPEAL ARE ASSESSED TO HARRISON COUNTY.

LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.


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