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Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Quentin Anderson #244495 vs. SCDOC

South Carolina Department of Corrections

Quentin Anderson #244495

South Carolina Department of Corrections




This matter is before the Administrative Law Judge Division ("Division") pursuant to the appeal of Quentin Anderson, an inmate incarcerated with the Department of Corrections ("Department") since April 9, 1997. On March 1, 2000, Inmate Anderson was convicted of violating Disciplinary Code 2.11, Threatening To Inflict Harm On Another Inmate, after an incident occurring in the cafeteria on February 23, 2000. As a result of his conviction, Inmate Anderson lost 30 days of phone privileges, was given 20 hours of extra duty, and was placed on cell restrictions for 15 days. Inmate Anderson filed a grievance with the Department on March 6, 2000, and received the Department's final decision on June 12, 2000. On June 21, 2000, Inmate Anderson filed this appeal pursuant to the jurisdiction conferred by the South Carolina Supreme Court in Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. 354, 527 S.E.2d 742 (2000). In his appeal, Inmate Anderson alleges that Department employees failed to comply with its grievance procedures in violation of his due process rights.

I find that Inmate Anderson has failed to allege any facts sufficient to support a cognizable due process claim. The Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of procedural due process applies only to the deprivation of a life, liberty, or property interest. Board of Regents of State College v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 569, 92 S. Ct. 2701, 2705 (1972). The statutory right to sentence-related credits is a protected liberty interest under the Fourteenth Amendment. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 94 S. Ct. 2963 (1974); Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. at 369-370, 527 S.E.2d at 750. An inmate is entitled to minimal due process before any such sentence-related credits may be taken away. Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. at 370, 527 S.E.2d at 750. However, no liberty interest is implicated when an inmate is faced with lesser penalties, such as the loss of television, canteen, or telephone privileges. Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. at 372, 527 S.E.2d at 751, fn.8.

Moreover, because it is a form of punishment that is neither "atypical" nor a "significant hardship," extra duty infringes no liberty interest. Boglin v. Weaver, 2001 WL 228172 (S.D. Ala. March 1, 2001), citing Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 486 (1995). Finally, inmates have no protectable interest in being free from cell restrictions because cell restrictions are a form of punishment "well within the terms of confinement ordinarily contemplated by a prison sentence." See Ky. Dep't of Corr. v. Thompson, 490 U.S. 454 (1989). Therefore, an inmate facing a disciplinary proceeding in which he loses only telephone privileges, is given extra duty, and is placed on cell restrictions is not entitled to an Al-Shabazz-type hearing. See Al-Shabazz, 338 S.C. at 372, 527 S.E.2d at 751, citing Wolff, 418 U.S. at 571 ("We do not suggest, however, that the procedures required by today's decision for the deprivation of good time credits would also be required for the imposition of lesser penalties.").

I find that Inmate Anderson has no liberty interest in canteen privileges or freedom from the extra duty and cell restrictions he received as punishment for violating Department rules in February 2000. As such, Inmate Anderson is not entitled to an Al-Shabazz-type hearing, in which he is represented by counsel substitute if necessary, and in which he has the opportunity to present and cross-examine witnesses. Therefore, because Inmate Anderson was not entitled to a hearing regarding a Facility rules violation resulting in the loss of canteen privileges and the inability to earn "good time" credit, the Major Disciplinary Hearing provided by the Department was more than sufficient, even if there is some question whether Inmate Anderson actually waived his right to counsel substitute. The Department routinely affords inmates charged with Facility rules violations and other minor infractions some process; this does not indicate, however, that any process is required, much less the procedures described in Al-Shabazz when a life, liberty, or property interest at stake. Accordingly, the Department's final decision is AFFIRMED.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Appellant's appeal is DISMISSED, and the Final Decision of the Department is hereby AFFIRMED.




Administrative Law Judge

May 8, 2001

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






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