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Barnes v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 22, 2017

HERMAN BARNES APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/10/2016

         COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: MARION COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. ANTHONY ALAN MOZINGO TRIAL JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: HERMAN BARNES (PRO SE).

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

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND CARLTON, JJ.

          CARLTON, J.

         ¶1. Herman Barnes filed a motion for postconviction relief (PCR) in the Marion County Circuit Court seeking relief from the Mississippi State Parole Board's decision to review his parole eligibility after four years, instead of once every year. The circuit court dismissed Barnes's PCR motion for lack of jurisdiction. Barnes filed a motion for reconsideration, which the circuit court subsequently denied. Barnes now appeals, claiming that the Parole Board's decision violates Mississippi Code Annotated section 47-7-18(6) (Rev. 2015). Finding no error, we affirm the circuit court's dismissal of Barnes's PCR motion.

         FACTS

         ¶2. On September 3, 1983, a Marion County jury convicted Barnes of capital murder, and the circuit court sentenced him to life in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). On November 14, 1983, a Marion County jury convicted Barnes of aggravated assault on a law-enforcement officer, and the circuit court sentenced Barnes to serve five years in the custody of the MDOC. Then, on March 2, 1984, a Marion County jury convicted Barnes of an additional count of capital murder.[1] The circuit court sentenced Barnes to a consecutive life term, with instructions that he serve his sentences in the following order:

[Barnes] is to begin serving his sentence [for the 1984 capital-murder conviction] after the completion of his sentence imposed [for aggravated assault of a law-enforcement officer, . . .] and the [five-year] sentence [for aggravated assault of a law-enforcement officer] is to begin to run consecutive and after the completion of his sentence [for the 1983 capital-murder conviction].

         Barnes is currently an inmate at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility.

         ¶3. During sentencing, the trial court set November 12, 2003, as Barnes's initial parole date. The record reflects that the Parole Board denied Barnes parole on that date, as well as on two additional dates. The record shows that following Barnes's most recent denial of parole on March 9, 2016, the Parole Board setoff Barnes's next parole-eligibility hearing for four years.

         ¶4. On April 26, 2016, Barnes filed his PCR motion, alleging that he is entitled to a parole hearing at least "once per year"; therefore, Barnes argues the Parole Board possessed no authority to impose a four-year setoff. On May 11, 2016, the circuit court dismissed Barnes's PCR motion for lack of jurisdiction. The circuit court explained:

Barnes complains of the denial of parole. While decisions concerning parole eligibility may fall under the [Mississippi Uniform Post[] Conviction Collateral Relief Act (UPCCRA)], the denial of parole does not. Miss. Code Ann. § 99-39-5; see Evans v. State, [188 So.3d ...

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