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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Claude Shields, #217816 vs. SCDOC

South Carolina Department of Corrections

Claude Shields, #217816

South Carolina Department of Corrections



Grievance No. MCI 159-08

In the above-captioned matter, Appellant appeals the decision of Respondent South Carolina Department of Corrections (Department) to deny his grievance concerning his disciplinary conviction for Striking an Inmate with or without a Weapon, 810 under SCDC Inmate Disciplinary System Policy OP-22.14. He contends that the conviction should be overturned because insufficient evidence existed to support his guilt. Based upon the record presented in this appeal, I find that the Department’s decision to deny Appellant’s grievance must be affirmed.


This appeal is before this Court pursuant to Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. 354, 527 S.E.2d 742 (2000), Sullivan v. South Carolina Department of Corrections, 355 S.C. 437, 586 S.E.2d 124 (2003), and Slezak v. South Carolina Department of Corrections, 361 S.C. 327, 605 S.E.2d 506 (2004). Appellant contends that his Striking an Inmate with or without a Weapon conviction should be overturned because his conviction was not supported by the evidence, and that he did not receive due process of law. In response to Appellant’s grievance, the Department determined that the evidence presented at the disciplinary hearing sufficiently supported his conviction; that the hearing was conducted in compliance with procedural requirements; and that the punishment imposed—fifty dollars ($50.00) restitution; loss of six (6) days good time; loss of one hundred and eighty (180) days canteen and phone privileges; sixty (60) days disciplinary detention; and loss of contact visitation for one hundred and eighty (180) days—was appropriate for the offense.


Due Process

The Record reveals that Appellant was afforded all the required due process in prison disciplinary cases: (1) Notice of the Charges (Striking an Inmate with or without a Weapon); (2) disclosure of evidence against Defendant (Disciplinary Offense Report was read); (3) an Opportunity to be heard (Hearing on May 14, 2008); (4) a neutral and detached hearing body (Hearing Officer); (5) aid of Counsel substitute or other substitute aid; and (6) a written statement by the Fact Finder as to the Evidence relied upon (Major Disciplinary Report and Hearing Record). Therefore, by a final agency decision dated July 16, 2008, the Department denied Appellant’s grievance. Appellant now appeals that denial before this Court.

The charging officer, Lieutenant Clark Brown, reported that on May 1, 2008, First Responders informed him that Inmate Marcus Thomas, #284553, was found near the laundry area with a cut above his left eye and was transported to medical. When Lt. Brown asked Thomas what happened to him, he said, “nothing Lieutenant.” Lt. Brown then sent Sergeant Hipps to the laundry area. Sgt. Hipps returned to the control room with Appellant and told him Appellant had hit Thomas. Lt. Brown reported. He reported that Appellant admitted to hitting Thomas once and walking away. However, in a written statement, Appellant said he threw a punch at Thomas but did not remember hitting him. Appellant raises as an issue that insufficient evidence existed to show that he actually hit Thomas. During the hearing, Lt. Brown stated again that Appellant told him that he hit Thomas. Appellant claimed he only threw a punch but did not remember if he hit him.

Having fully considered the documents filed by Appellant and the Department and having closely reviewed the record in this matter, I find that Appellant’s disciplinary conviction and the sanctions imposed upon him as a consequence of that conviction were the result of a routine and good-faith exercise of the Department’s administrative responsibilities that is sufficiently supported by the evidence in the record. Further, there is nothing in the record to suggest that the Department’s decision was arbitrary, capricious, or the result of personal bias or prejudice. Accordingly, the Department’s decision in this matter should be affirmed.


For the reasons set forth above,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Department’s decision to deny Appellant’s grievance is AFFIRMED.

AND IT IS SO ORDERED. ______________________________

Carolyn C. Matthews

Administrative Law Judge

February 4, 2009

Columbia, South Carolina


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