Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Site Map | Feedback
2012-UP-012 - Wallace 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

Michael Wallace, Appellant,

v.

South Carolina Department of Corrections, Respondent.


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


Unpublished Opinion No.  2012-UP-012
Submitted January 3, 2012 – Filed January 25, 2012


REVERSED AND REMANDED


Michael Wallace, pro se.

Christopher D. Florian, of Columbia, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Michael Wallace appeals an order of the Administrative Law Court (ALC), affirming the decision of the South Carolina Department of Corrections (the Department) denying Wallace's inmate grievance.  On appeal, Wallace argues he was not afforded an opportunity for meaningful judicial review because the ALC filed the order without allowing Wallace to file an appellant's brief.  We agree.

The review of the [ALC's] order must be confined to the record. . . . The court of appeals may affirm the decision or remand the case for further proceedings; or, it may reverse or modify the decision if the substantive rights of the petitioner have been prejudiced because the finding, conclusion, or decision is . . . in violation of constitutional or statutory provisions. 

S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-610(B) (Supp. 2010). 

No person shall be finally bound by a judicial or quasi-judicial decision of an administrative agency affecting private rights except on due notice and an opportunity to be heard . . . nor shall he be deprived of liberty or property unless by a mode of procedure prescribed by the General Assembly, and he shall have in all such instances the right to judicial review. 

S.C. Const. art. I, § 22.

Our review of the record indicates the ALC issued the order affirming the Department's denial of Wallace's inmate grievance without the benefit of Wallace's brief.  When the ALC issued its order without considering any of Wallace's arguments, Wallace was denied the opportunity to be heard and was thus deprived of a liberty interest without judicial review.  See Ross v. Med. Univ. of S.C., 328 S.C. 51, 68, 492 S.E.2d 62, 71 (1997) (holding article I, section 22 of the South Carolina Constitution guarantees persons the right to notice and an opportunity to be heard by an administrative agency); see also S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-500 (Supp. 2010) (explaining the ALC is an agency).  Accordingly, we reverse and remand[1] with instructions to allow Wallace to file an appellant's brief and proceed with his appeal before the ALC.

REVERSED AND REMANDED.

FEW, C.J., THOMAS and KONDUROS, JJ., concur.


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