CHRISTOPHER N. CRATIN A/K/A CHRISTOPHER CRATIN A/K/A CHRISTOPHER NEAL CRATIN APPELLANT
COMMISSIONER MARSHALL FISHER APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 09/28/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. WILLIAM A.
GOWAN JR. TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: CHRISTOPHER N. CRATIN (PRO SE)
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
DARRELL CLAYTON BAUG
IRVING, P.J., BARNES AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.
Christopher Cratin, appearing pro se, appeals the Hinds
County Circuit Court's dismissal of his grievance filed
through the Mississippi Department of Corrections' (MDOC)
Administrative Remedy Program (ARP). After review of the
record, we vacate and remand to the circuit court for
dismissal for lack of jurisdiction.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In July 2008, Cratin was convicted of two counts of fondling
and one count of sexual battery in the DeSoto County Circuit
Court. Cratin was sentenced to concurrent fifteen-year terms
for his convictions. Cratin is currently incarcerated in
Issaquena County Correctional Facility.
Cratin filed his first grievance through MDOC's ARP in
April 2016, asserting that he was entitled to receive earned
time, and that MDOC's policy regarding the exclusion of
sex-crime offenders from meritorious earned time (MET)
violated state law.
In June 2016, Cratin received MDOC's decision denying his
ARP grievance. On the same day, Cratin sent a letter,
addressed to the commissioner of MDOC, arguing that his ARP
grievance was rejected without due consideration. MDOC
rejected Cratin's letter, stating it was a duplicate
request. Cratin appealed MDOC's ARP decision to the Hinds
County Circuit Court.
In September 2016, the circuit court entered an order of
dismissal. The circuit court acknowledged that it was unsure
whether it could exercise jurisdiction over Cratin's
complaint. Further, the circuit court stated if it could
exercise jurisdiction over Cratin's appeal, MDOC's
decision and policy prohibiting MET credit to sex offenders
was not violative of state law. Cratin appeals.
This Court cannot disturb the decision of an administrative
agency "unless the decision was unsupported by
substantial evidence, was arbitrary or capricious, was beyond
the agency's scope or powers, or violated the
constitutional or statutory rights of the aggrieved
party." Clark v. Miss. Dep't of Corr., 148
So.3d 403, 404 (¶5) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014) (citations
omitted). "The standard of review for the trial
court's decision to affirm or deny an administrative
agency's findings and decisions is abuse of
discretion." Id. Moreover, "[w]hether the
circuit court has jurisdiction is a ...