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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Terrence Howze #162810 vs. SCDOC

South Carolina Department of Corrections

Terrence Howze #162810

South Carolina Department of Corrections





In the above-captioned matter, Appellant Terrence Howze appeals the decision of Respondent South Carolina Department of Corrections (DOC or Department) to revoke ninety days of his “good-time” credit and temporarily suspend certain of his prison privileges as punishment for the use of marijuana in violation of DOC Disciplinary Code § 1.10. Having reviewed the record, the applicable law, and the briefs filed by the parties in this matter, I conclude that the decision of the Department must be affirmed.


On October 1, 2003, Corporal B. Gordon administered an OnTrak urinary drug test on Appellant during a random drug test. The test returned a positive result for marijuana. A subsequent confirmation test also indicated the presence of marijuana in Appellant’s system. Based upon these positive test results for the use of marijuana, Appellant was charged with violating DOC Disciplinary Code § 1.10, The Use or Possession of Narcotics, Marijuana, or Unauthorized Drugs, Including Prescription Drugs.

Appellant was notified of the charge against him on October 8, 2003, and a hearing on the charge was held before a DOC Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) on October 13, 2003. At the hearing, the incident report filed by Corporal Gordon was read into the record and Corporal Gordon was present to confirm the details of Appellant’s drug test. Appellant, who was represented by counsel substitute, also testified at the hearing. In his testimony, Appellant contended that he does not use illegal drugs and challenged the reliability of the OnTrak drug testing system. At the close of the hearing, the DHO found Appellant guilty of the charge against him and prepared a written report containing his findings. As punishment for the offense, the DHO revoked 90 days of Appellant’s good-time credit, suspended his canteen and telephone privileges for 30 days, suspended his visitation privileges for 120 days, and imposed 5 hours of extra duty. Appellant appealed his disciplinary conviction to the Department and then to this Court. On appeal, Appellant contends that Corporal Gordon mishandled the urine samples during the drug test because he did not wear gloves during the test or wash his hands before conducting the test. However, Appellant did not raise this objection to his drug test during the evidentiary hearing conducted by the DHO.


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). Having carefully reviewed the record in this matter under the due process standards set out in Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974), Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. 354, 527 S.E.2d 742 (2000), and their progeny, I find that Appellant’s disciplinary conviction must be affirmed. The disciplinary hearing conducted by the DHO was procedurally sound and the DHO’s conclusions are sufficiently supported by the evidence in the record. Moreover, there is no evidence in the record to suggest that Corporal Gordon failed to comply with Department policies in conducting the drug test on Appellant or that Appellant’s sample was contaminated in any way. Accordingly, Appellant’s disciplinary conviction must stand.


For the reasons set forth above,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Appellant’s October 13, 2003 disciplinary conviction for the use of marijuana is AFFIRMED.






Administrative Law Judge

June 13, 2005

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






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