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Whitlock v. Ladner

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 11, 2017

TREMAYNE WHITLOCK A/K/A TREMANE WHITLOCK APPELLANT
v.
BRIAN LADNER, LATISHA BROOKS AND LARRY MYERS A/K/A LEROY MYERS APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/24/2016

         CIRCUIT COURT RANKIN COUNTYHON. WILLIAM E. CHAPMAN III JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: TREMAYNE WHITLOCK (PRO SE)

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: ANTHONY LOUIS SCHMIDT JR.

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., ISHEE AND GREENLEE, JJ.

          GRIFFIS, P.J.

         ¶1. Tremayne Whitlock appeals the circuit court's dismissal of his administrative-remedy complaint against the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). We find no error and affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Whitlock is currently serving a life sentence for murder in the custody of the MDOC. On June 28, 2015, at approximately 12:25 p.m., Leroy Myers, a correctional officer with the MDOC, observed Whitlock bring a package through the back door of the kitchen and hide the package in a closet. The package was subsequently confiscated and searched and contained five cell phones, five cell-phone chargers, and five pounds of tobacco.

         ¶3. Whitlock was issued a rule violation report (RVR) and charged with possession of major contraband. He was subsequently ordered to be placed in administrative segregation pending an investigation. On July 2, 2015, a disciplinary hearing was held wherein the hearing officer, Latisha Brooks, found Whitlock guilty of possession of major contraband. Whitlock was reclassified to the cellular-telephone-management housing unit and lost all privileges for ninety days.

         ¶4. Whitlock appealed the hearing officer's decision through the MDOC's administrative remedy program (ARP). Brian Ladner, a warden with the MDOC, reviewed the appeal and found the RVR would remain in place as stated.

         ¶5. After he exhausted his administrative remedies with the MDOC, Whitlock filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Rankin County against MDOC officers Ladner, Brooks, and Myers. Neither MDOC nor Ladner, Brooks, or Myers was properly served with process.

         ¶6. Whitlock filed a pro se "motion for entry of default" pursuant to Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 55[1] Thereafter, the attorney general filed a response to Whitlock's complaint on behalf of Ladner, Brooks, and Myers.

         ¶7. The circuit court ordered MDOC to respond "relative to whether MDOC's decision was supported by substantial evidence, was not arbitrary or capricious, was within the scope and powers of MDOC[, ] and did not violate the constitutional rights of [Whitlock]." The circuit court further ordered MDOC to include a true and correct legible copy of file documents from the Central Mississippi ...


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