Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Mississippi Department of Corrections v. Cook

Supreme Court of Mississippi

February 9, 2017

MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
v.
BENJAMIN COOK

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/13/2015

         SUNFLOWER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. W. ASHLEY HINES

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: ANTHONY LOUIS SCHMIDT, JR. OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: DARRELL CLAYTON BAUGHN

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: BENJAMIN M. COOK (PRO SE)

          BEFORE RANDOLPH, P.J., COLEMAN AND MAXWELL, JJ.

          COLEMAN, JUSTICE

         ¶1. The Circuit Court of Sunflower County directed the Mississippi Department of Corrections to issue Benjamin Cook (pro se) a parole case plan under Mississippi Code Section 47-7-3.1(1), which went into effect on July 1, 2014. The Department of Corrections appeals, arguing that Cook is not entitled to a parole case plan because he was convicted and sentenced prior to July 1, 2014. The sole issue on appeal is whether Cook, a parole-eligible inmate convicted and sentenced prior to July 1, 2014, is entitled to a parole case plan under Section 47-7-3.1(1). Because the Court held in Fisher v. Drankus, 204 So.3d 1232 (Miss. 2016), that a parole-eligible inmate convicted and sentenced prior to July 1, 2014, was not entitled to receive a parole case plan under Section 47-7-3.1(1), we reverse and render.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         ¶2. Cook is an inmate in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). On August 11, 1994, Cook pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison.[1] Cook had his first parole hearing on July 8, 2013, and was denied parole. On May 4, 2015, Cook was denied parole for the second time, and Cook's next parole hearing date was set for May 4, 2017. On July 1, 2015, Cook submitted a grievance through the Administrative Remedies Program (ARP). Cook stated that he was a parole-eligible inmate and requested that the MDOC issue him a parole case plan[2] in accordance with Section 47-7-3.1.

         ¶3. On July 7, 2015, the MDOC issued a first step response denying Cook's request. The MDOC's response provided: "House Bill 585[3] states that all offenders who are [parole] eligible, are to be issued a case plan at admission effective 7/1/2014. However, this Bill is not retroactive and only applies to offenders sentenced on or after 7/1/2014. Offenders who were eligible for Parole before 7/1/2014 will continue to be considered for Parole Docket and be reviewed by the Parole Board." Cook appealed the decision and proceeded to step two of the ARP. On July 24, 2015, the MDOC issued a second step response, denying Cook's appeal. The MDOC's second step response provided: "House Bill 585, states a ca[s]e plan will be made on [] parole eligible offenders sentenced on or after July 1, 2014. This Bill is not retroactive and only applies to offenders sentenced on or after July 1, 2014. Offenders who were eligible for parole before July 1, 2014 will continue to be considered for Parole via a Parole docket and be reviewed by the Parole Board."

         ¶4. On August 19, 2015, Cook filed a "motion for judicial review" in the Circuit Court of Sunflower County. Cook requested that the circuit court order the MDOC to prepare and issue him a case plan. Cook argued that all parole-eligible offenders are entitled to a case plan under House Bill 585 regardless of their date of parole eligibility. The MDOC filed a response and admitted that Cook was parole-eligible. The Department of Corrections also admitted that House Bill 585 provided for case plans for inmates sentenced from July 1, 2014, forward, but it argued that the law was not retroactive. The MDOC argued that inmates sentenced prior to July 1, 2014, were not eligible for parole case plans under House Bill 585 and moved to dismiss the case with prejudice.

         ¶5. On October 19, 2015, the circuit court found that Cook was entitled to a case plan and ordered the MDOC to issue Cook a parole case plan in accordance with Section 47-7-3.1. On November 5, 2015, the MDOC timely filed a notice of appeal.

         ANALYSIS

         A. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.