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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Carl Stout, #187081 vs. SCDOC

South Carolina Department of Corrections

Carl Stout, #187081

South Carolina Department of Corrections





This matter is before the Administrative Law Judge Division ("Division") pursuant to the appeal of Carl Stout, an inmate incarcerated with the Department of Corrections ("Department"). On August 17, 2000, Stout filed an appeal with this Division alleging his sentence was incorrectly calculated, his classification was incorrect and he was improperly denied certain items while incarcerated. II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

The Division'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). As in all cases subject to appellate review by the Division, the standard of 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 unless the agency's determination is affected by error of law or is clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence in the whole record. S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-380(A)(6) (Supp. 1999); Al-Shabazz, 338 S.C. at 380, 527 S.E.2d at 756; Lark v. Bi-Lo, Inc., 276 S.C. 130, 276 S.E.2d 304 (1981).



Appellant argues that his sentence was calculated incorrectly. He argues specifically that time spent in the county jail was not factored into his sentence and that he was not given the correct amount of earned work credits and good time credits. However, since the filing of the appeal the Beaufort County jail has forwarded the information to the Department and adjustments have been made to the Appellant's sentence. The Appellant agrees with the changes made to his time served and good time credits making those issue moot. See Mathis v. South Carolina State Highway Dep't, 260 S.C. 344, 195 S.E.2d 713 (1973) (An issue is moot when a judgment on the issue will have no practical effect on an existing case or controversy.) However, he does still object to the amount of time he was credited for Earned Work Credits. The evidence in the record indicates that the Appellant earned work credit in the amount of 313.728. Therefore, I find the calculations made by the Department on November 8, 2000 are correct.


The Appellant argues that his classification is incorrect. The Appellant contends that the Department violated the ex post facto prohibition by changing its policy to make a person sentenced for a violent crime ineligible for a less secure custody status and work release. A violation of the ex post facto provision of the State and Federal Constitutions only arises when a change in the law applied retroactively increases the punishment for a crime. See Jernigan v. State, 340 S.C. 256, 261, 531 S.E.2d 507, 509 (2000). Only a change in law producing "a sufficient risk of increasing the measure of punishment attached to the covered crimes" constitutes an ex post facto violation. California Dep't of Corrections v. Morales, 514 U.S. 499, 509 (1995). In this case, the Appellant complains only of his stricter classification and the loss of work release. This is not punishment from which the Appellant is protected by the constitutional prohibitions against ex post facto laws.


The Appellant also contends the Department has improperly deprived him of inmate pay. In accordance with South Carolina Department of Corrections, Policy Number ADM-15.13, inmates who are not assigned to a job on January 29, 1998 or enter the custody of the Department on or after January 20, 1998, will not be eligible for inmate pay. The appellant was re-sentenced an admitted to the custody of the Department on October 29, 1998. Therefore, the Appellant has correctly been denied inmate pay.


Appellant further alleges that the Department has deprived him of his television, radio and his sneakers to which he is entitled. On September 5, 2001, the Division issued an En Banc Order in McNeil v. South Carolina Department of Corrections, 00-ALJ-04-00336-AP (September 5, 2001), interpreting the breadth of its jurisdiction pursuant to Al-Shabazz. The decision holds that the Division's appellate jurisdiction in inmate appeals is limited to two types of cases: (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 the Department has taken an inmate's created liberty interest as punishment in a major disciplinary hearing. Pursuant to ALJD Rule 70(F), the holding of the En Banc Order is binding upon this case. The issue as to the television, shoes and radio does not challenge the calculation of a sentence, sentence-related credits, or custody status. It also does not deprive Appellant of a created liberty interest as punishment in a major disciplinary hearing. Accordingly, the Division lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear this portion of the appeal. See Lake v. Reeder Constr. Co., 330 S.C. 242, 248, 498 S.E.2d 650, 653 (Ct. App. 1998) (The "[l]ack of subject matter jurisdiction can be raised at any time, can be raised for the first time on appeal, and can be raised sua sponte by the court").

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that based on the foregoing the final decision of the Department is AFFIRMED.




Administrative Law Judge

August 26, 2002

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






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