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Buckhalter v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 5, 2019

FREDERICK EARL BUCKHALTER APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/03/2018

          HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LAWRENCE PAUL BOURGEOIS JR.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: FREDERICK EARL BUCKHALTER (PRO SE)

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: LISA L. BLOUNT

          BEFORE BARNES, C.J., McCARTY AND C. WILSON, JJ.

          C. WILSON, J.

         ¶1. Frederick Earl Buckhalter filed a motion for post-conviction relief (PCR) in the Harrison County Circuit Court, First Judicial District. The circuit court dismissed the motion for lack of jurisdiction due to Buckhalter's failure to exhaust all administrative remedies. Upon review, we find the circuit court had jurisdiction, so we reverse and remand.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. On August 2, 2010, Buckhalter pled guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. The circuit court sentenced Buckhalter to serve five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with all five years suspended, and placed Buckhalter on five years' post-release supervision (PRS), with two years reporting and three years non-reporting.

         ¶3. On July 17, 2012, a field officer filed a petition to revoke Buckhalter's PRS, alleging that Buckhalter had violated certain PRS terms. The circuit court held a hearing on the petition but decided not to revoke Buckhalter's PRS. Instead, the court entered an order "extending" Buckhalter's PRS for an additional three years.[1]

         ¶4. A little over a year later, on August 27, 2013, another field officer filed a second petition to revoke Buckhalter's PRS, again alleging that Buckhalter had violated certain PRS terms. The circuit court held a hearing on the second petition and entered an order revoking Buckhalter's PRS. In its order, the circuit court reinstated Buckhalter's original five-year sentence, which had previously been suspended. The court then suspended the reinstated sentence with time served as the period of incarceration. The court also placed Buckhalter back on reporting PRS for the remainder of the previously ordered five-year term.

         ¶5. On June 29, 2015, while still on reporting PRS, Buckhalter was arrested for possession of a controlled substance with intent to transfer or distribute. This arrest resulted in the filing of a third petition to revoke Buckhalter's PRS. On November 16, 2015, the circuit court held a hearing on the third petition. Following the hearing, the court entered an order revoking Buckhalter's PRS and requiring him to serve his original five-year sentence incarcerated in MDOC's custody. Buckhalter received credit for time served for his original 2010 sentence for unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

         ¶6. On November 4, 2016, Buckhalter filed a PCR motion titled "Motion for Double Jeopardy." In his motion, Buckhalter alleged that he had been sentenced twice for the same offense, i.e., unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. On April 3, 2018, the circuit court entered an order dismissing Buckhalter's "Motion for Double Jeopardy." In its order, the circuit court stated that it would treat Buckhalter's motion as a PCR motion but then stated that it lacked jurisdiction to address the PCR motion because Buckhalter failed to exhaust all administrative remedies. According to the circuit court, Buckhalter had to exhaust all administrative remedies before filing this motion with the court because he was "challeng[ing] the calculation of time served by him, which is a decision or policy of the [MDOC]." In other words, the circuit court found that ...


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