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Johnston v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 4, 2017

JUSTIN JOHNSTON APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          Date of Judgment: 01/26/2016

         COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: RANKIN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. WILLIAM E. CHAPMAN III TRIAL JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JUSTIN JOHNSTON (PRO SE).

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: BILLY L. GORE JASON L. DAVIS.

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND CARLTON, JJ.

          GRIFFIS, P.J.

         ¶1. Justin Johnston appeals the circuit court's dismissal of his petition for a reclassification hearing. We find no error and affirm.

         FACTS

         ¶2. Johnston was indicted in the Circuit Court of Rankin County, Mississippi, on the charge of Count I, sexual battery, and Count II, statutory rape. On March 24, 2008, Johnston entered a plea of guilty to Count II, statutory rape, and was sentenced to serve thirty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with fifteen years suspended, followed by five years of supervised probation.[1]

         ¶3. On January 21, 2016, Johnston filed a pro se "petition for re-classification hearing" and requested that his statutory-rape charge be reclassified as a nonviolent offense. Johnston further filed a pro se "motion" wherein he requested parole consideration.

         ¶4. On January 26, 2016, the circuit court found it was without authority to reclassify Johnston as nonviolent and declined to recommend to the Mississippi Parole Board that Johnston be paroled. Thus, the circuit court dismissed the petition for a reclassification hearing and denied the motion for parole consideration. Additionally, the circuit court granted Johnston leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

         ¶5. Johnston now appeals and argues the circuit court erred in failing to grant reclassification.[2]

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶6. In reviewing a circuit court's dismissal of a post-conviction-relief petition, our standard of review is well established. King v. State, 47 So.3d 746, 747 (¶7) (Miss. Ct. App. 2010). We "will not disturb the [circuit] court's factual findings unless they are found to be clearly erroneous." Id. "However, where questions of ...


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