Smith stated that his decision to leave was “quite simple,” that it was time to return home. Governor Reeves will appoint his successor.
On May 12th, Tony Smith resigned from the Mississippi State Parole Board. Smith had served on the Parole Board since 2020 when Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves appointed him to the four-year term. Governor Reeves is tasked with filling the vacant seat.
In a statement to the Magnolia Tribune, Smith said that it has been an honor to serve on the Mississippi Parole Board. He added that his decision to leave was “quite simple” and that it wasn’t political.
Below is Smith’s full statement on his resignation:
Let me say it has been an honor to serve on the MS Parole Board.
My decision to leave the board was quite simple, it was time to return home to spend time with my wife, family and small business. Being away from home 3-4 nights a week becomes tiring when your away from family and friends.
I do want to offer my thanks to Governor Reeves for the opportunity to serve in such an important position in our state. The work done by this board is incredibly difficult and, even more so, important.
Thank you to my friends and family for your continued support.
Smith is a former member of the Mississippi State Senate where we represented District 47. He served in this capacity from 2012-2016. He owns Stonewall’s BBQ in Picayune and served as an Alderman for the City of Poplarville from 2017-2020.
Requirements to Serve on the Parole Board
Miss. Code § 47-7-5 states that any person who is appointed to serve on the Parole Board shall possess at least a bachelor’s degree or a high school diploma and four (4) years’ work experience. It declares that each member is required to devote their full time to the duties of office and shall not engage in any other business or profession or hold any other public office.
The Parole Board has the exclusive responsibility for the granting of parole as provided by Sections 47-7-3 and 47-7-17 and has exclusive authority for revocation of the same. The board also has the exclusive responsibility for investigating clemency recommendations upon request of the Governor. An affirmative vote of at least four (4) members of the Parole Board is required to grant parole to an inmate convicted of capital murder or a sex crime.
According to MS Code § 47-7-5 (2020), the State Parole Board is required to be composed of five members, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. With Smith’s resignation, four members remain on the Board.
Recent Parole Board Action
The Parole Board recently considered the release of James Williams, III, which has drawn criticism from across the state. In 2005, Williams was convicted of murdering his father and stepmother in Mississippi. Williams, who was 17 at the time of the 2002 murders, was originally sentenced to two consecutive life terms with no possibility of parole. However, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling stated that juveniles should be given the possibility of parole.
RELATED: More than two dozen State Representatives urge Mississippi Parole Board not to release James Williams, III
In April, a majority of the Mississippi Parole Board voted to grant parole to Williams. How members vote on such matters is not typically released to the public.
Williams was released from prison on Tuesday, May 16th.