March 19, 2008
ELLIS ODEN, APPELLANT,
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, RESPONDENT.
On appeal from a Final Decision of the Department of Corrections.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted: March 5, 2008
Before Judges Cuff and Lihotz.
This is a prison disciplinary appeal. Appellant Ellis Oden is an inmate at Riverfront State Prison. He appeals from an adjudication of guilt of prohibited act *.004, fighting with another person, in violation of N.J.A.C. 10A:4-4.1. A sanction of fifteen days detention, 120 days loss of commutation credit and 120 days administrative segregation was imposed. We affirm.
The scope of our review is limited. The decision by the Department of Corrections will be disturbed only when this court finds that the agency's ruling is arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable or unsupported by substantial credible evidence in the record. In re Taylor, 158 N.J. 644, 657 (1999); Henry v. Rahway State Prison, 81 N.J. 571, 579 (1980).
An adjudication of an infraction must be supported by substantial credible evidence. McDonald v. Pinchak, 139 N.J. 188, 195 (1995); Jacobs v. Stephens, 139 N.J. 212, 219 (1995). See also N.J.A.C. 10A:4-9.15(a). Substantial evidence is "such evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." In re Application of Hackensack Water Co., 41 N.J. Super. 408, 418 (App. Div. 1956).
Here, the inmate admitted that he was involved in a fight with another inmate. The inmate asserted, however, that he was the victim of an unprovoked attack by another inmate and his actions were "purely self-defensive."
The hearing officer found that the other inmate was the aggressor but that Oden's response was out of proportion to the force used against him and the force needed to subdue and repel the other inmate. This finding is supported by the statement of a corrections officer who observed the inmates exchanging punches and the extensive injuries suffered by the other inmate. In addition, the witness statements offered by Oden provided virtually no probative evidence of the incident. Therefore, we conclude that the adjudication of guilt is supported by substantial evidence in the record and must be affirmed. DeCamp v. N.J. Dep't of Corrs., 386 N.J. Super. 631, 636 (App. Div. 2006).
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