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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Johnny Padgett, #179791 vs. SCDOC

South Carolina Department of Corrections

Johnny Padgett, #179791

South Carolina Department of Corrections




This matter is before the Administrative Law Judge Division ("Division") pursuant to the appeal of Johnny Padgett, an inmate incarcerated with the Department of Corrections ("Department") since May 17, 2000. Inmate Padgett appeals the Department's August 22, 2000, denial of his grievance, in which he complained that the Department violated his rights by placing him in "Super Max," or lock-up, upon his re-incarceration in May 2000. In addition, Inmate Padgett attempts to appeal his conviction of a Department rules violation; however, Inmate Padgett has provided no evidence that he filed a grievance with the Department appealing such a conviction.

With respect to his security classification, I find that Inmate Padgett has failed to state a cognizable constitutional claim. The Division's jurisdiction to hear inmate appeals 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). In its appellate capacity, the Division is concerned with ensuring that the appellants receive all procedural process they are due when the constitutional rights of the appellants are implicated. 338 S.C. at 369, 527 S.E.2d at 750. As such, an inmate is entitled to due process anytime he is faced with the deprivation of a life, liberty or property interest. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974); Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. at 369, 527 S.E.2d at 750. However, an inmate has no liberty interest in his security and custody classification. Brown v. Evatt, 322 S.C. 189, 470 S.E.2d 848 (1996). See also Slezak v. Evatt, 21 F.3d 590 (4th Cir. 1994). (1) Moreover, with respect to Inmate Padgett's appeal of his conviction, I find that Inmate Padgett has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the Administrative Procedures Act. Hyde v. South Carolina Dept. of Mental Health, 314 S.C. 207, 442 S.E.2d 582 (1994). Absent such exhaustion, this Division has no jurisdiction to hear Inmate Padgett's appeal.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Inmate Padgett's appeal is DISMISSED and the Department's Final Decision is AFFIRMED.




Administrative Law Judge

May 16, 2001

Columbia, South Carolina

1. Custody classification is not subject to federal due process constraints. A liberty interest may be created by state law that imposes substantive limits on official discretion or mandates certain outcomes; however, South Carolina law creates only procedural protections and does not mandate custody classifications. Thus, custody classifications are within the Department's discretion and are subject only to internal review procedures that insure rationality and objectivity. "Classification decisions are not grievable. . ." and hence are not subject to review by this Division. Slezak at 597 (emphasis added).

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