OF JUDGMENT: 07/06/2017
FROM WHICH APPEALED PEARL RIVER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, TRIAL
JUDGE HON. DINA RICHELLE LUMPKIN
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: HALDON J. KITTRELL
LEE, C.J., FAIR AND WILSON, JJ.
Following a jury trial in the Pearl River County Circuit
Court, Rodney Wayne Smith was convicted under Mississippi
Code Annotated section 97-9-45 (Rev. 2014), which makes it a
crime for "any person sentenced to the Mississippi
Department of Corrections [(MDOC)] for any term [to] escape
or attempt to escape from his particular unit or camp of
confinement or the boundaries of the penitentiary as a
whole." At the time of his "escape," Smith was
on "house arrest" under the jurisdiction of the
MDOC in the "Intensive Supervision Program" (ISP).
See Miss. Code Ann. §§ 47-5-1001 through
-1015 (Rev. 2015). Smith cut his monitoring device off his
ankle and fled. Smith claims that his conviction must be
reversed and rendered because an escape from house arrest
does not constitute an escape from the
"penitentiary" under section 97-9-45. However, the
Legislature has made clear that an escape from house arrest
is a felony escape. See Miss. Code Ann. §
47-5-1007(8) (Rev. 2015). Therefore, Smith's conviction
under section 97-9-45 is affirmed.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The only issue that Smith raises on appeal is an issue of
statutory interpretation that does not turn on the particular
facts of his case. Therefore, we only generally summarize the
underlying facts that led to his indictment and conviction in
On May 12, 2014, Smith pled guilty to racketeering, Miss.
Code Ann. § 97-43-5 (Rev. 2014), and was sentenced to
twenty years in MDOC custody, with eighteen years suspended,
two years of ISP (house arrest), and eighteen years of
post-release supervision. While on ISP, Smith was required to
wear an electronic monitoring device on his ankle at all
times, and he was allowed to leave his home in Poplarville
only to go to work or to attend other meetings or activities
preapproved by his ISP officer, Scott Davis. On December 22,
2014, Smith failed to report to Davis as required by his ISP
agreement. Davis used Smith's electronic monitoring
device to locate him at his girlfriend's house in
Picayune. However, by the time Davis reached
Smith's girlfriend's house, Smith had already left.
Davis then received notice of a "device tamper,"
which meant that Smith had cut his monitoring device off of
his ankle. Smith had left the device at his house. Davis
tried to call Smith several times, but Smith would not answer
On January 6, 2015, Davis received information that Smith was
at another house in Pearl River County. Davis went to the
house with two officers from the Pearl River County
Sheriff's Department, but when they arrived at the house,
Smith fled into the woods and escaped. United States Marshals
finally caught Smith on January 13, 2015, at his
ex-wife's house in Hancock County.
Smith was indicted for escape under section 97-9-45,
supra, as a nonviolent habitual offender.
See Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-81 (Rev. 2015).
Smith filed a pretrial motion to dismiss the indictment,
arguing that his escape from house arrest was not subject to
prosecution under section 97-9-45; however, the circuit court
denied his motion. Smith was then convicted following a jury
trial in the Pearl River ...