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Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Mack Myers, #241427 vs. SCDOC

South Carolina Department of Corrections

Mack Myers, #241427

South Carolina Department of Corrections





This matter is before the Administrative Law Court (ALC or Court) pursuant to the appeal of Mack Myers, an inmate incarcerated with the Department of Corrections (Department or DOC). Myers was convicted of violating SCDC Disciplinary Code § 1.04 (Threatening to Inflict Harm on an Employee or Member of the Public). As a result of his conviction, Myers lost ninety (90) days of “good-time” credit. He filed a grievance with the Department and the Department issued a final decision on August 23, 2005. Following the Department’s denial of that grievance, Myers filed this appeal with the ALC.


On June 23, 2005, while waiting to return to his cell, Appellant Myers asked Officer Lawless about his property. Officer Lawless informed him that he would have to wait for Lieutenant James. Appellant became agitated and demanded his property. When Officer Lawless requested Appellant’s identification card, he refused and told the officer that if he touched him he would knock him out. At that point, Lieutenant Byrd told Appellant to go into the holding cell. As a result, Appellant was charged with violating SCDC Disciplinary Code § 1.04 (Threatening to Inflict Harm on an Employee or Member of the Public.

On July 13, 2005, a Major Disciplinary Hearing was held before a DOC Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO). At Appellant’s request, he was provided a counsel substitute. Also, Appellant requested that his accuser be present at the hearing. During the hearing, the DHO read a narrative of the Incident Report into the Record and received testimony from Officer Lawless and his counsel substitute read a statement from Chaplain Bryant into the Record. At the conclusion of the hearing, the DHO found the Appellant guilty of the charge and sanctioned him to the loss of ninety (90) days good time. After the hearing, the DHO completed a Major Disciplinary Report and Hearing Record which documented the DHO’s findings.

Appellant Myers filed a grievance with the Department appealing his conviction of the charge. After reviewing his contentions, the Warden denied Appellant’s grievance. The Appellant then appealed the Warden’s decision and the Department subsequently denied that grievance stating that the evidence supported the conviction and that the sanction imposed was appropriate for the violation that the Appellant committed. This appeal followed.

In his Appeal Brief, Appellant alleges that there is not substantial enough evidence to support the charge against him.


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.[1]

As set forth above, 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. 2005). 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, 455-456, 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, Appellant Myers alleges that the Department should not have revoked his ninety (90) 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)).


Appellant claims that the evidence presented was not sufficient to support a conviction in this case. He furthermore alleges that the charges were fabricated and that he was charged as retaliation for filing a grievance about an officer. Nevertheless, the Record clearly supports the facts recited in the “Background” portion of this Order. In evaluating the evidence presented at the hearing, “[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). Moreover, in Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455-56, 457 (1985), 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. Thus, if reasonable minds could arrive at the DHO’s conclusion based upon the evidence presented, the Department’s decision must be upheld regardless of the derivation of the evidence. See also Smith v. Samu, 54 F.3d 788 (10th Cir. 1995).

I find that there is substantial evidence to support the Appellant's conviction of violating SCDC Disciplinary Code § 1.04, Threatening to Inflict Harm on an Employee and/or Member of the Public. A Code 1.04 violation is:

Communication, verbal or written, by an inmate to an individual that s/he intends to injure that person or commit a violent or unlawful act dangerous to human life, presently or in the future; or one who commits a physical act of a threatening nature, and the probable result of such threats or action is to place the individual in fear of bodily injury; or one who causes evacuation of a building; or one who creates serious disruption or alarm. Any unauthorized body contact of an employee or member of the public which creates serious alarm, but does not result in bodily injury.

When viewed in light of the DHO’s discretion, the Record sufficiently establishes substantial evidence that the Appellant acted in a threatening manner. Accordingly, I find that there is substantial evidence to support the Appellant's conviction of violating SCDC Disciplinary Code § 1.04 (Threatening to Inflict Harm on an Employee and/or Member of the Public).


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 7, 2005

Columbia, South Carolina

[1] In Sullivan, the Supreme Court also found that other conditions of confinement could potentially implicate a state created liberty interest. However, those interests are “generally limited to freedom from restraint which. . . imposes atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.” Sullivan v. S.C. Department of Corrections 355 S.C. 437, 586 S.E.2d 124 (2003) (quoting Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995)). See also Slezak v. S.C. Department of Corrections , 361 S.C. 327, 605 S.E.2d 506 (2004).

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