DONALD E. SMITH APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 04/23/2018
FORREST COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. ROBERT B. HELFRICH TRIAL
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DONALD E. SMITH (PRO SE)
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
DARRELL CLAYTON BAUGHN
CARLTON, P.J., GREENLEE AND McCARTY, JJ.
Donald Smith filed a motion in the Forest County Circuit
Court for release from incarceration, believing he was
eligible to be released on parole. The circuit court denied
the request, finding that he had not served sufficient time.
Although Smith is eligible for parole, it is beyond the reach
of this Court to order his release. We affirm the circuit
court's conclusion that the petition should be denied.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Smith is an inmate at the Central Mississippi Correctional
Facility. His appeal today stems in part from a guilty plea
made in 1973, when he admitted to committing murder, and in
turn received a life sentence. He also pled guilty to robbery
and kidnapping, adding forty- five and thirty years to his
life sentence. Forty years ago the Mississippi Supreme Court
held that these sentences would be served consecutively,
rebuffing Smith's request to serve them concurrently.
Smith v. State, 477 So.2d 259, 260 (Miss. 1985).
Before the end of the 1970s, Smith was also convicted for
aggravated assault, adding two more years to run
consecutively to his 1973 sentences; another instance of
aggravated assault, with twenty more years; and two counts of
aggravated assault, this time of police officers and with a
weapon, each of which earned twenty more years of time.
In the past forty years Smith has filed multiple requests for
legal relief in both the state and federal
courts. Over time his focus has shifted to parole.
The appeal before us stems from a 2017 pleading in Forrest
County styled a "Petition for Release under Mississippi
Code Ann. § 47-5-139," a law that sets out the
parameters of parole. Smith asked the circuit court "to
enter an Order releasing him from incarceration" based
upon his calculation that he was eligible for parole.
The circuit court denied the request, ruling that Smith
"has not served the mandatory time required for parole
eligibility for the conviction of murder, robbery or
kidnaping," and determined that "by plain statutory
language, Smith is not entitled to the relief he seeks . . .
." The circuit court denied a request to reconsider the
ruling, and the case traveled to our Court for review.
Although the petitioner is eligible for parole-a legal
reality even the State concedes before us-we do not have the
power to order his release from incarceration, as that is
reserved to the Parole Board. Accordingly, we affirm for
The relief Smith requested was for the Judiciary to order his
release from incarceration based upon his parole eligibility.
Yet it is the Parole Board, not the courts, that has
exclusive authority over the grant or denial of parole.
Willard v. Miss. State Parole Bd., 212 So.3d 80, 83
(¶10) (Miss. Ct. App. 2016). Our Legislature has vested
the determination of the grant of parole with the Parole
Board: "An offender shall be placed on parole only when
. . . the board believes ...