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Barron v. Department of Corrections

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


May 14, 2008

WILLIAM BARRON, 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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION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 March 5, 2008

Before Judges Payne and Sapp-Peterson.

William Barron, a state prison inmate, appeals from a final agency decision denying his lost property reimbursement claim. The agency denied the claim, finding that the investigation failed to prove neglect on the part of the correctional staff, and also that the lost property, a debit card, was not an authorized item that an inmate could possess. We affirm.

According to Barron, his mother visited him on February 3, 2007, and following her visit, he realized he had a vending machine debit card that belonged to her. Barron turned over the debit card to the visiting hall supervisor, who placed the card in the visiting hall sergeant's office. The card was apparently never returned to his mother. Barron submitted a lost property claim, and following an investigation, the investigating officer recommended that the claim be denied because possession of a debit card is not authorized for inmates. The assistant superintendent adopted this recommendation and denied Barron's claim, adding a finding that the investigation failed to prove neglect on the part of correctional staff. Barron appealed the denial to the prison administrator, who also denied the claim. The present appeal followed.

On appeal, Barron contends:

POINT I THE ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION DENYING BARRON'S CLAIM WAS ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS, BECAUSE, CONTRARY TO THE DECISION, [THE VISITING HALL SUPERVISOR] WAS NEGL[I]GENT IN HIS ACTIONS, RESULTING IN THE LOSS OF THE DEBIT CARD.

In view of the fact that it is undisputed that the lost debit card belonged to Barron's mother, we agree with DOC that Barron lacked standing to initiate a lost property claim. See Jersey Shore Med. Center-Fitkin Hosp. v. Estate of Baum, 84 N.J. 137, 144 (1980) (holding a party lacks the requisite standing to assert the rights of a third party absent a showing of sufficient personal stake and adverseness). Moreover, Barron does not dispute that he was not authorized to possess a debit card for the vending machines located in the visiting hall. Consequently, he was not entitled to recover damages for the lost debit card. See N.J.A.C. 10A:2-6.2(a) (providing that among the factors the agency is to consider before approving or disapproving an inmate claim for reimbursement of lost property is whether it has been proven that the inmate was authorized to have possession of the item identified in the claim and whether the personal property is considered contraband.).*fn1

Affirmed.


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