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Huggins v. Dep't of Corrections

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


February 27, 2007

LEVI J. HUGGINS, APPELLANT,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, RESPONDENT.

On appeal from a Final Agency Decision of the Department of Corrections.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 31, 2007

Before Judges Wefing and Messano.

Levi J. Huggins appeals from the final administrative decision of the Department of Corrections (DOC) finding him guilty of disciplinary infraction *.204, use of any prohibited substances such as drugs, intoxicants or related paraphernalia not prescribed for the inmate by the medical or dental staff. N.J.A.C. 10A:4-4.1. After careful consideration of the record, we affirm.

In February, 2006, while serving a three year sentence at Northern State Prison for shoplifting and receiving stolen property, appellant wrote two letters requesting to be placed in protective custody. He claimed that he feared for his safety after threats were made to him and his girlfriend by a fellow inmate who was a gang member. On March 3, the Special Investigations Division (SID) took a statement from appellant. Referring to his two earlier letters, appellant admitted, "[w]hat I wrote was a lie." He explained that he asked for protective custody because "[he] owe[d] money for drugs I bought." He continued that "[he] could not afford the money no longer and inmates were doubling the fees." Based upon his own admissions, members of SID charged appellant with disciplinary infraction *.204.

At the disciplinary hearing held on March 6, appellant admitted that he used drugs and could no longer pay the money he owed for their purchase. He requested to be moved out of the prison facility. The hearing officer found appellant guilty of the charge and imposed sanctions of ninety days administrative segregation with credit for time served and permanent loss of contact visits. He recommended transfer to another facility.

Appellant filed an administrative appeal. He claimed that he was never asked to provide a specimen for drug testing, was never notified of his use immunity rights pursuant to N.J.A.C. 10A:4-9.3, and asserted that he never confessed to using narcotics at Northern State Prison. On April 5, his administrative appeal was denied and this appeal ensued.

Before us, appellant renews his assertion that he was not advised of his use immunity rights, and provides yet a third version of why he requested protective custody for himself. He now claims that he owed other inmates money for narcotics he purchased, but that these purchases occurred in 1999 in another facility. He denies ever using drugs at Northern State Prison.

But for the contention that he was never advised of his use immunity rights, appellant does not raise any other issues regarding the procedural aspects of the hearing. Avant v. Clifford, 67 N.J. 496 (1975). The documentary evidence considered by the hearing officer, however, clearly demonstrates appellant was advised of his use immunity rights on at least three occasions. Our independent review of the record satisfies us that appellant was accorded all of the procedural due process requirements articulated by the Supreme Court in McDonald v. Pinchak, 139 N.J. 188 (1995) and Jacobs v. Stephens, 139 N.J. 212 (1995).

Appellant's other arguments are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).

Affirmed.

20070227

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