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John McManus v. State of Mississippi
Case Number: 2019-CP-01822-COA
Judge: Donna M. Barnes
Court: IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI
Plaintiff's Attorney: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: DARRELL CLAYTON BAUGHN
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Jackson, MS - Criminal defense attorney represented John McManus with a alleging that in the computation of his sentences from the Lowndes County Circuit Court, he should have received credit for time served incarcerated in another county while awaiting trial.
On April 26, 2016, a Lowndes County grand jury indicted McManus of possession
of methamphetamine in an amount greater than 0.1 gram but less than 2 grams (Cause No.
2016-151-CRIC). The indictment noted that McManus had previously been convicted of
manslaughter in 1996, as well as possession of contraband in a correctional facility.
Subsequently, on November 4, 2016, McManus was indicted on two counts of uttering a
forgery in Lowndes County in Cause No. 2016-404-CRIC.
¶3. On May 25, 2018, McManus entered a guilty plea with the circuit court to the
possession charge, Cause No. 2016-151-CRIC, and one count of uttering a forgery greater
than $1,000 but less than $5,000 in Cause No. 2016-404-CRIC.3 For the forgery, the circuit
court sentenced McManus to five years in custody, with four years to be suspended
2 Although the State notes McManusis currently incarcerated in Carroll County, the
record indicates that when he filed his ARP request, he was incarcerated at the Mississippi
State Penitentiary located in Sunflower County.
3 Count 2 was retired to the files. The State also elected not to charge McManus as
a habitual offender on Count 1and agreed to retire two counts from the Clay CountyCircuit
Court for false pretense and uttering of a forgery.
conditioned on the terms of post-release supervision, and “a fine in the amount of $1,200,
plus all costs, and restitution in the amount of the check that was the subject of that matter.”
For the possession-of-methamphetamine conviction, the court sentenced him as a habitual
offender, see Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-81 (Rev. 2015), to serve three years in the custody
of the MDOC without eligibility for parole or probation. The sentence for possession was
ordered to run consecutively to the one-year term to be served in custody in Cause No. 2016-
¶4. In 2019, while in custody at the Mississippi State Penitentiary serving sentences for
three Lee County convictions, McManus filed a request through the MDOC’s ARP.
Specifically, with regard to his Lowndes County sentences, he sought credit for five-hundred
and fifteen (515) days of incarceration served at the Clay County jail. The first-step ARP
response form noted that the May 2018 order fromLowndes County did not award McManus
credit for the time he spent in jail. The second-step ARP response form, dated August 8,
2019, stated, “You have already been credited 515 jail time days. This includes the
timeframe that you are requesting[,] which you served prior to your sentencing date of
¶5. On August 28, 2019, McManus filed a motion for “[j]udicial [r]eview” with the circuit
court, claiming that the MDOC had wrongfully denied him relief through the ARP. Treating
4 The MDOC may have been referring to credit given for McManus’s Lee County
convictions and sentences. The Lee County Circuit Court’s order is not, however, in the
the motion as one for PCR, the circuit court denied McManus’s requested relief. Citing
Stanley v. State, 850 So. 2d 154 (Miss. Ct. App. 2003), the circuit court held that it “was
unable to comply with the [p]etitioner’s request as to his time spent incarcerated in another
district.” The court further found “that pursuant to Welch v. Epps, 158 So. d 360 [(Miss.
Ct. App. 2015),] it cannot credit time towards a sentence for a parole violation.”
¶6. McManus claims that the circuit court erred in denying his motion and that he should
have been given credit for his time served in the Clay County jail toward his sentences in
Lowndes County. The court record contains no evidence of this alleged time served in Clay
County; McManus has only attached to his brief a “Jail Time Report” from the MDOC,
stating that from June 8, 2016, to November 16, 2016, and from November 21, 2016, to
January 3, 2018, he was incarcerated in a ClayCounty, Mississippi jail on charges of uttering
a forgery in Cause No. 2016-112. He also attached an August 14, 2017 order from the Lee
County Circuit Court not contained in the court record. As this Court held in Davis v. State,
243 So. 3d 222, 239 (¶76) (Miss. Ct. App. 2017), documents attached to a pro se brief “are
not part of the record in the circuit court or the record on appeal” and, as such, “cannot be
considered on direct appeal.”
¶7. Regardless, the county in which to appeal the MDOC’s decision was not Lowndes
County, but Sunflower County, where McManus was incarcerated at the time he requested
relief through the ARP. See Singleton v. Banks, 239 So. 3d 1088, 1089 n.2 (Miss. Ct. App.
2017) (“In applying Mississippi Code Annotated section 11-11-3 (Rev. 2004) to a prisoner’s
appeal of an MDOC decision or policy, this Court has repeatedly held that such appeals
‘must be made in the circuit court of the county where the prisoner resides.’” (quoting
Roberts v. Miss. Dep’t of Corr., 219 So. 3d 588, 591 (¶9) (Miss. Ct. App. 2017))). Because
McManus filed the motion in Lowndes County, the circuit court treated the motion as one
¶8. Although the State acknowledges that an appeal of an ARP decision should have been
brought in the county where McManus was incarcerated, it nevertheless contends the circuit
court properly treated the motion as one for PCR. We disagree. As this Court has repeatedly
held, “a PCR motion is not a proper vehicle for challenging MDOC’s denial of credit for
time served.” Easterling v. State, 283 So. 3d 1198, 1200 (¶4) (Miss. Ct. App. 2019). In
Easterling, we further noted that had the prisoner in that case “filed a petition for judicial
review of an ARP decision, the case could have been transferred to the proper venue.” Id.
at 1200 n.2 (citing Roberts, 219 So. 2d at 590-91 (¶¶8-10)).
Outcome: Because it is evident that McManus was requesting judicial review of the MDOC’s decision, we find the appropriate remedy in this instance is to vacate the circuit court’s order and remand for the court to transfer McManus’s motion to the Sunflower County Circuit Court for further review.