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2011-UP-323 - Mason v. SCDC

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Charles Mason, Appellant,

v.

South Carolina Department of Corrections, Respondent.


Appeal from the Administrative Law Court
Carolyn C. Matthews, Administrative Law Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-323
Submitted May 1, 2011 – Filed June 22, 2011


AFFIRMED


Charles Mason, pro se, for Appellant.

Christopher D. Florian, of Columbia, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: Charles Mason appeals the Administrative Law Court's (ALC) order, which affirmed the South Carolina Department of Corrections' (the Department) decision finding Mason guilty of smuggling contraband and attempted escape.  On appeal, Mason argues the ALC erred in finding (1) the Department's disciplinary proceedings did not violate Mason's due process rights and (2) substantial evidence existed for the hearing officer to find Mason guilty of both disciplinary convictions. We affirm.[1]

1.  We find the ALC did not err in finding the Department's disciplinary proceedings did not violate Mason's due process rights.  The Department complied with the minimum due process requirements for prison disciplinary proceedings.  See Al-Shabazz v. State, 338 S.C. 354, 371, 527 S.E.2d 742, 751 (2000) (noting in order to comply with procedural due process for inmate disciplinary proceedings, the following constitutional rights are required: "(1) that advance written notice of the charge be given to the inmate . . . ; (2) that fact finders must prepare a written statement of the evidence relied on and reasons for the disciplinary action; (3) that the inmate should be allowed to call witnesses and present documentary evidence, provided there is no undue hazard to institutional safety or correctional goals; (4) that counsel substitute . . . should be allowed to help illiterate inmates or in complex cases . . . ; and (5) that the persons hearing the matter . . . must be impartial" (citing Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563-72 (1974))).

2.  We find the ALC properly found substantial evidence existed for the hearing officer to find Mason guilty of both convictions.[2]  This court may affirm the decision of the ALC if it is supported by substantial evidence.  S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-610(B)(e) (Supp. 2010).  "Substantial evidence is relevant evidence that, considering the record as a whole, a reasonable mind would accept to support an administrative agency's action."  Al-Shabazz, 338 S.C. at 380, 527 S.E.2d at 756. 

Here, substantial evidence exists to support the ALC's findings.  The Department presented evidence to support Mason's disciplinary conviction for smuggling contraband.  Officer Marsico's report identified the contraband, and the confidential informant connected Mason to the contraband.  Additionally, evidence existed to support the Department's finding Mason guilty of attempted escape.  Mason had several cuts on his body soon after the incident, and the warden's confidential informant had knowledge that Mason attempted to climb over the fence in order to get the packages. 

AFFIRMED.

SHORT, KONDUROS, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur. 


[1] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.

[2] We decline to address Mason's issue regarding the reliability of the confidential informant because this issue was not raised at the hearing.  See Al-Shabazz, 338 S.C. at 379, 527 S.E.2d at 755 (finding issues not raised to and ruled upon by the trial court are not preserved for review).