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Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

George Brown, #215442 vs. DOC

South Carolina Department of Corrections

George Brown, #215442

South Carolina Department of Corrections




This matter comes before the Administrative Law Judge Division (“ALJD”) pursuant to the appeal of George Brown, an inmate incarcerated with the Department of Corrections (“Department”). In his appeal, Brown challenges the Department’s calculation of his sentence.

The ALJD’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). On September 5, 2001, the ALJD issued an En Banc Order in McNeil v. South Carolina Department of Corrections, 00-ALJ-04-00336-AP (September 5, 2001), interpreting the Supreme Court’s ruling in Al-Shabazz. The McNeil decision holds that the ALJD’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. Id.

In this case, Brown challenges the calculation of his sentence. As such, I find that this tribunal has jurisdiction to hear Brown’s appeal.

This tribunal sits in an appellate capacity to review decisions from the Department; thus, it is restricted to reviewing the record presented. S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-380(A)(5) (Supp. 2000); Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. at 377, 527 S.E.2d at 754. This tribunal may not substitute its judgment for that of the Department unless the Department’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. 2000); Al-Shabazz, 338 S.C. at 380, 527 S.E.2d at 755-56; Lark v. Bi-Lo, Inc., 276 S.C. 130, 276 S.E.2d 304 (1981). Although generally “[t]he appealing party has the burden of furnishing a sufficient record from which [a] court can make an intelligent review,” Hamilton v. Greyhound Lines East, 281 S.C. 442, 444, 316 S.E.2d 368, 369 (1984), the Department has the duty of providing the record on appeal in inmate grievance matters. Al-Shabazz, 338 S.C. at 377, 527 S.E.2d at 754; see also ALJD Rule 59 (“Within forty-five (45) days of the date the case is assigned to an Administrative Law Judge (date of assignment), [the Department] shall file the record with the [ALJD] . . . .”).

In his grievance, Inmate Brown contends, among other things, that the Department has not properly reduced the term of his sentence by his sentence related credits in compliance with state statutes. In the Department’s final agency decision contained on the Step 2 Grievance form and its decision on the Step 1 form, the Department failed to address and rule upon this issue. It is error for an appellate tribunal, as the Division is in these proceedings, to address an issue unless it was properly preserved for appeal. For an issue to be preserved for appellate review by this tribunal, it must have been raised to and ruled upon by the Department. Kiawah Resort Assocs. v. S. C. Tax Comm’n, 318 S.C. 502, 458 S. E. 2d 542 (1998). Although the issue was properly raised at the Department level, it has not been ruled upon by the Department. Footnote Further, because Inmate Brown’s grievance issue has not been addressed in the Step 1 and Step 2 Grievance levels, I find that the Department’s final decision in this matter fails to set forth findings which are sufficiently detailed to enable this tribunal to conduct a meaningful appellate review. See Porter v. S.C. Pub. Serv. Comm’n, 333 S.C. 12, 21, 507 S.E.2d 328, 332 (1998) (The findings of an administrative body must be “sufficiently detailed to enable [the reviewing body] to determine whether the findings are supported by the evidence and whether the law has been applied properly to those findings.”).

Because the Department failed to rule upon the issue of the proper manner of deducting sentence related credits from the sentence, this case must be remanded to the Department.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this matter is remanded to the Department of Corrections for the issuance of a final agency decision containing detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law in conformance with the principles set forth herein on or before October 2, 2003.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Docket is closed and if Appellant is not satisfied with the Department’s final agency decision made pursuant to this Order, that a new appeal must be filed.





July 2, 2003

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






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