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Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Arthur Moseley # 199398 vs. SCDOC

South Carolina Department of Corrections

Arthur Moseley # 199398

South Carolina Department of Corrections





This matter is before the Administrative Law Court (ALC or Court) pursuant to the appeal of Arthur Moseley, an inmate incarcerated with the Department of Corrections (Department). Moseley was convicted of violating SCDC Disciplinary Code § 903, Use or Possession of Narcotics, Marijuana or Unauthorized Drugs, Including Prescription Drugs, after pleading not guilty to the charge. As a result of his conviction, Moseley lost sixty (60) days of “good-time” credit. Moseley filed a grievance with the Department and received the Department’s final decision on October 22, 2004. On November 29, 2004, the Appellant filed this appeal with the Court.


On July 7, 2004, the Appellant was administered a random drug test while housed at Lieber Correctional Institution by Corporal Adcox. The Appellant tested positive for marijuana or “THC.” Corporal Adcox then performed a confirmation test using an American Bio-Medico test stick for THC which further corroborated the existence of marijuana in the Appellant. Thereafter, Corporal Adcox completed an Incident Report charging the Appellant with violating SCDC Disciplinary Code § 903. On July 15, 2004, the Appellant was given written notice of the charge of violating Section 903 based upon the above incident.

A hearing was held on July 20, 2004, before a Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO). During the hearing, the DHO read a narrative of Corporal Adcox’s Incident Report into the Record and received testimony from the Appellant and Nurse Rosario as evidence. At the conclusion of the hearing, the DHO found the Appellant guilty of violating SCDC Disciplinary Code § 903 and sanctioned the Appellant with the loss of sixty (60) days of “good time” credit. After the hearing, the DHO completed a Major Disciplinary Report and Hearing Record, which documented the DHO’s findings based on the Record.

The Appellant filed a grievance appealing his conviction of violating SCDC Disciplinary Code § 903. The Warden denied the Appellant’s grievance. After he appealed the Warden’s decision, the Department denied his grievance. This appeal followed.[1] In his Appeal Brief, the Appellant alleges that there was insufficient evidence presented at the hearing to find him guilty of this charge. More specifically, he alleges that he was taking medication that tainted the drug test.[2]


The Court’s jurisdiction to hear this matter is derived entirely from the decision of the South Carolina Supreme Court in Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. 354, 527 S.E.2d 742 (2000). The Court’s appellate jurisdiction in inmate appeals is limited to state created liberty interests typically involving: (1) cases in which an inmate contends that prison officials have erroneously calculated his sentence, sentence-related credits, or custody status; and (2) cases in which an inmate has received punishment in a major disciplinary hearing as a result of a serious rule violation. Id.[3]

When reviewing the Department’s decisions in inmate grievance matters, the Court sits in an appellate capacity. Id. at 756. Consequently, the review in these inmate grievance cases is limited to the Record presented. An Administrative Law Judge may not substitute his judgment for that of an agency “as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact.” S.C. Code Ann. § 1‑23‑380(A)(6) (Supp. 2003). Furthermore, an Administrative Law Judge may not reverse or modify an agency’s decision unless substantial rights of the Appellant have been prejudiced because the decision is clearly erroneous in view of the substantial evidence on the whole Record, arbitrary or affected by an error of law. See Section 1-23-380(A)(6); See also Marietta Garage, Inc. v. South Carolina Dept. of Public Safety, 337 S.C. 133, 522 S.E.2d 605 (Ct. App. 1999); South Carolina Dept. of Labor, Licensing and Regulation v. Girgis, 332 S.C. 162, 503 S.E.2d 490 (Ct. App. 1998). “‘Substantial evidence’ is not a mere scintilla of evidence nor the evidence viewed blindly from one side of the case, but is evidence which, considering the Record as a whole, would allow reasonable minds to reach the conclusion that the administrative agency reached or must have reached in order to justify its action.” Lark v. Bi‑Lo, 276 S.C. 130, 135, 276 S.E.2d 304, 306 (1981). Accordingly, the possibility of drawing two inconsistent conclusions from the evidence does not prevent an administrative agency’s finding from being supported by substantial evidence. Grant v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 319 S.C. 348, 461 S.E.2d 388 (1995).

Additionally, in Superintendent, Massachusetts Correctional Institution, Walpole v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 456, 105 S.Ct. 2768 (1985), the U.S. Supreme Court held that “the relevant question is whether there is any evidence in the record that could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary board.” Moreover, in Al-Shabazz, the Court underscored that since prison officials are in the best position to decide inmate disciplinary matters, the Courts and therefore this tribunal adhere to a “hands off” approach to internal prison disciplinary policies and procedures when reviewing inmate appeals under the APA. Al-Shabazz at 757; See also Pruitt v. State, 274 S.C. 565, 266 S.E.2d 779 (1980) (stating the traditional “hands off” approach of South Carolina courts regarding internal prison discipline and policy).

In this case, the Appellant alleges that the Department should not have revoked sixty (60) days of accrued good time. Inmates have a protected liberty interest in their earned statutory good-time credits under the Fourteenth Amendment. Therefore, when, as here, the Department revokes an inmate’s good-time credits as punishment in a “major disciplinary hearing” involving “more serious rule violations,” prison officials must provide that inmate with “minimal due process.” Al-Shabazz at 750. Consequently, specific administrative procedures must be followed before depriving an inmate of statutorily granted earned credit, including adequate advance notice of the charges, adequate opportunity for a hearing in which the inmate can present witnesses and documentary evidence, and an impartial hearing officer who prepares a written statement of all the evidence presented and the reasons for his decision. Id. at 751 (citing Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563-72, 94 S.Ct. 2963, 2978-82 (1974)).


I find that the Appellant was afforded all process due him pursuant to Al-Shabazz. The Record indicates that the Appellant received written notice of the charges against him in excess of twenty-four (24) hours prior to a hearing that was held before an impartial Disciplinary Hearing Officer. At the hearing, the Appellant was given the opportunity to offer evidence, call witnesses, and confront his accuser. In addition, although not constitutionally required, the Appellant was afforded a counsel substitute who assisted him in his defense. After the DHO determined that the Appellant was guilty of the charged offense, he prepared a written report stating the evidence he relied upon and the penalty assessed in finding the Appellant guilty of the disciplinary infraction. Finally, as evinced here, the Appellant was permitted to appeal the DHO’s decision through the inmate grievance process.

Drug Test

The Appellant contends that he was taking medication that tainted the drug test. In Superintendent, Massachusetts Correctional Institution, Walpole v. Hill, supra, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the revocation of good time must be supported by “some evidence in the record.” However, “[a]scertaining whether this standard is satisfied does not require examination of the entire record, independent assessment of the credibility of witnesses, or weighing of the evidence. Instead, the relevant question is whether there is any evidence in the record that could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary board.” Id. at 455. Moreover, “[t]he fact finder is imbued with broad discretion in determining credibility or believability of witnesses.” Small v. Pioneer Machinery, Inc., 329 S.C. 448, 465, 494 S.E.2d 835, 843 (Ct. App. 1997). Therefore, it was the DHO’s prerogative to decide what part of each witness’ testimony he believed or disbelieved.

A Disciplinary Code Section 903 violation is, in part: “Any inmate testing positive for any unauthorized drug . . . as specified in SCDC Policy/Procedure GA-03.03, ‘Inmate Drug Testing/Screening Program.’ ” The Record establishes that the Appellant tested positive for marijuana on the initial screening test and the American Bio-Medico confirmation test. Furthermore, though Sergeant Justice testified that it was very rare for any medication to taint a test for THC, the DHO nonetheless sought the testimony of the medical staff concerning the Appellant’s medications. Nurse Rosario confirmed that the Appellant was taking no medication that would create a false positive on the drug test. Moreover, the Appellant offered no evidence to suggest that the tests were defective or inaccurate. When viewed in light of the DHO’s discretion, the Record sufficiently establishes that the Appellant tested positive for an unauthorized drug. Accordingly, I find that there is substantial evidence to support the Appellant's conviction of violating SCDC Disciplinary Code § 903.


IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the appeal of the Appellant is DISMISSED and the Final Decision of the Department is AFFIRMED;




Ralph King Anderson, III

Administrative Law Judge



April 21, 2005

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






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