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Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Ahmad Clarence Garland vs. SCDOC

South Carolina Department of Corrections

Ahmad Clarence Garland

South Carolina Department of Corrections



Grievance No. ACI-0301-00

I. Introduction

South Carolina Department of Corrections (DOC) brings this motion to dismiss on the ground that Ahmad Clarence Garland (Garland) failed to timely file the notice of appeal. After a review of the arguments, the motion is granted.

II. Analysis

Under Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. 354, 527 S.E.2d 742 (2000), jurisdiction over inmate appeals from DOC decisions involving certain specified non-collateral matters vests in the Administrative Law Judge Division (ALJD). Appeals must be filed within the time limits set by ALJDTR 62 since an untimely challenge prohibits the hearing body from deciding the matter. Mears v. Mears, 287 S.C. 168, 337 S.E.2d 206 (1985); Burnett v. S.C. Highway Dep't, 252 S.C. 568, 167 S.E.2d 571 (1969); Stroup v. Duke Power Co., 216 S.C. 79, 56 S.E.2d 745 (1949). ALJDTR Rule 62 identifies the time to challenge period as follows:

The notice of appeal from the final decision of an agency to be heard by the [Division] shall be filed with the Division and a copy served on each party and DOC within thirty (30) days of receipt of the decision from which the appeal is taken.. . .

TR 62 (emphasis added).

The issue here is whether Garland filed within thirty days of receipt of the DOC decision.

The Step 2 Grievance form shows that Garland acknowledged receipt of the DOC decision on August 16, 2000. Given such a receipt date, the thirty days for filing ended on September 15, 2000. Thus, with a notice of appeal in this case having been filed on September 20, 2000, Garland's filing is fatally late.

The filing is late even though Garland received the written DOC decision without the right to retain permanent possession of the document. Rather, Garland had to return the document to a DOC employee for further processing. However, the operable event under ALJDTR Rule 62 is the date of receipt not the date permanent possession is acquired.

While receipt involves possession, receipt and possession do not subsume the same time-line. Indeed, the act of receipt comes to an end the moment after possession is obtained while possession itself may or may not continue. See State v. Knowles 2000 WL 1421350, Iowa App., Sept. 27, 2000 (where "[t]he trial court's definition adequately and properly differentiated 'receive' from 'possess' by pointing out that receiving is the act by which one acquires something, that is the act by which one comes into possession (rather than the possession itself)."). In short, the fact of interruption of possession does not remove the fact of receipt. Accordingly, Garland had receipt on August 16, 2000 and failed to file a notice of appeal within the required thirty day period.

III. Order

DOC's motion to dismiss is hereby GRANTED due to a lack of jurisdiction caused by a late filing of a notice of appeal.




Administrative Law Judge

Post Office Box 11667

Columbia, South Carolina 29211-1667

Dated: March 26, 2001

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






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