OF JUDGMENT: 09/18/2015
FROM WHICH APPEALED: SUNFLOWER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON.
CAROL L. WHITE-RICHARD, JUDGE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: ANTHONY L. SCHMIDT, JR. OFFICE OF
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: DARRELL C. BAUGHN
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: JERRY BLAND (PRO SE)
The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) appeals the
Sunflower County Circuit Court's decision requiring it to
develop a parole case plan for Jerry Bland. We reverse and
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In 1982, Bland pleaded guilty to capital murder, burglary of
a dwelling, and uttering a forgery. He was sentenced to life
imprisonment for the capital murder, to ten years for the
burglary, and to fifteen years for the forgery. Bland first
was eligible for parole in October 1998, but he was denied.
Since then, Bland has had seven more parole hearings, and his
next hearing currently is scheduled for May 21, 2018.
After House Bill 585 went into effect in July 2014, Bland
sought a parole case plan pursuant to newly enacted
Mississippi Code Section 47-7-3.1. On July 1, 2015, Bland filed
his "first step" with MDOC's Administrative
Remedy Program (ARP). In response, MDOC said that House Bill 585
was not retroactive and that it applied only to those
offenders sentenced on or after July 1, 2014. MDOC informed
Bland that he was not entitled to a parole case plan, but
that he would "continue to be considered for Parole
Docket and be reviewed by the Parole Board." Bland
proceeded to ARP's "second step, " and MDOC
again informed him that he was not entitled to a parole case
Bland then filed a motion for judicial review in the Circuit
Court of Sunflower County,  and the circuit judge reversed
MDOC's decision, finding that Section 47-7-3.1 applied
retroactively to offenders sentenced before July 1, 2014.
MDOC now appeals to this Court and presents two arguments:
1. Bland is not eligible to receive a parole case plan,
pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. § 47-7-3.1, since he was
convicted prior to July 1, 2014; and
2. Developing a case plan is moot since Bland's parole
eligibility date is in the past, so the purpose of the case
plan which is to facilitate ...