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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Thomas J. Torrence #94651 vs. SCDOC

South Carolina Department of Corrections

Thomas J. Torrence #94651

South Carolina Department of Corrections




On July 5, 2000, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (Department) filed a motion to dismiss this matter. The Department moved to dismiss the Appellant's claim under SCRCP 12(b)(1), ALJDTR 57, ALJDRP 33 (lack of jurisdiction over the claim); and Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. 354, 527 S.E.2d 742 (S.C. 2000). More specifically, the Department sets forth as its grounds for dismissal that the Appellant did not timely serve the Department with his Notice of Appeal and that the Department has granted the Appellant the relief he was seeking in this matter and is therefore no longer "aggrieved." However, this case is dismissed because the Appellant did not timely file this matter with Circuit Court.

The Administrative Law Judge Division's (Division) jurisdiction to hear this matter is derived entirely from the decision of the South Carolina Supreme Court in Al-Shabazz v. State, Op. No. 24995 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed February 14, 2000) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 6 at 21), 2000 WL 156547. In Al-Shabazz, the Supreme Court created a new avenue by which inmates could seek review of final decisions of the Department in "non-collateral" matters, i.e., matters in which an inmate does not challenge the validity of a conviction or sentence, by appealing those decisions to the Division and ultimately to circuit court pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act. However, this avenue of relief applies only to

all PCR [post-conviction relief] actions filed and all administrative matters in which Department [Department of Corrections] renders a final decision after the date of this opinion [February 14, 2000]. It also shall apply to all cases currently pending in circuit court or before this Court in which the inmate is similarly situated to petitioner, i.e., cases in which Department has decided a noncollateral or administrative matter and the inmate has not had the opportunity to obtain APA review in the manner we have outlined.

Al-Shabazz at 45 (emphasis added).

In this case, the Department rendered its final decision on July 15, 1999, and the Appellant received that decision on August 3, 1999 -- well before the Al-Shabazz case was decided. Even though the Appellant established that he has a matter pending in Marlboro County Non-Jury Common Pleas Court, that case is a separate and distinct action from an inmate grievance action filed as a post-conviction relief action prior to Al-Shabazz. Accordingly, this Division does not have jurisdiction to entertain the Appellant's appeal, and this matter is hereby dismissed.



Ralph King Anderson, III

Administrative Law Judge

September 13, 2000

Columbia, South Carolina


s You are entitled to appeal this final order of the Administrative Law Judge Division by filing a petition for judicial review in circuit court within thirty (30) days after receipt of this order. S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-610 (Supp. 1999). The petition may be filed in any circuit court as long as the chosen forum is neither arbitrary nor unreasonable, and provided that no statute controls venue in a particular type of case. The review of the administrative law judge's order must be confined to the record. The reviewing tribunal may affirm the decision or remand the case for further proceedings; or it may reverse or modify the decision if the substantive rights of the petitioner have been prejudiced because the finding, conclusion, or decision is: (a) in violation of constitutional or statutory provisions; (b) in excess of the statutory authority of the agency; (c) made upon unlawful procedure; (d) affected by other error of law; (e) clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative and substantial evidence on the whole record; or (f) arbitrary or capricious or characterized by abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.

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