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Garcia v. New Jersey Dep't of Corrections

October 22, 2008

WILLIAM GARCIA, APPELLANT,
v.
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, RESPONDENT.



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

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 29, 2008

Before Judges Collester and Graves.

William Garcia, a state prison inmate, appeals from a final decision by the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC) imposing disciplinary sanctions for "conduct which disrupts or interferes with the security or orderly running of the correctional facility," in violation of N.J.A.C. 10A:4-4.1(a) *.306. On appeal, Garcia presents the following arguments:

POINT I

THE DECISION OF THE HEARING OFFICER WAS NOT BASED ON SUBSTANTIAL CREDIBLE EVIDENCE THAT APPELLANT COMMITTED A PROHIBITED ACT AND AS SUCH IT CLEARLY VIOLATED APPELLANT'S RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS AND IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE SHOULD BE REVERSED.

POINT II

APPELLANT WAS DEPRIVED OF HIS DUE PROCESS RIGHT TO A FAIR HEARING BY THE HEARING OFFICER'S REFUSAL TO MAKE THE RECORDED PHONE CONVERSATION OF APPELLANT AVAILABLE [] TO BE PLAYED AT THE HEARING IN SUPPORT OF APPELLANT'S DEFENSE SINCE IT WAS NOT CONFIDENTIAL AND THERE WAS MEANS AVAILABLE FOR IT TO BE PLAYED[.] THEREFORE THE ADJUDICATION SHOULD BE REVERSED.

After reviewing these contentions in light of the administrative record and the applicable law, we are satisfied the DOC's final decision is supported by sufficient credible evidence, R. 2:11- 3(e)(1)(D), and that Garcia's arguments are without sufficient merit to warrant extended discussion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).

Accordingly, we affirm with only the following comments.

The charge against Garcia resulted from a Special Investigation Division (SID) investigation into the activities of an inmate group that Garcia belonged to known as the "Hispanic Americans for Progress" (HAP). The purpose of the investigation was to determine whether HAP was involved in money laundering, controlled dangerous substance trafficking, and the introduction of contraband into the prison.

Yvette Molina served as a civilian volunteer for HAP. However, she was banned from the prison in May 2005 for engaging in an inappropriate personal relationship with Garcia. During the SID investigation, telephone calls from Garcia to Molina were monitored and recorded. On December 11, 2006, SID recorded a telephone conversation between Garcia and Molina in which Garcia told Molina not to cooperate with the on-going SID investigation. SID Investigator Dolce summarized the recorded telephone conversation as follows:

On December 11, 2006 at 8:02 AM, inmate Garcia placed a call to civilian Yvette Molina's home telephone number. Upon reviewing this call, Garcia is heard speaking with Molina and she states that she has been contacted by SID, that they have called and written to her. Garcia tells her to not contact them; Molina states that she would like to cooperate. Garcia states that you do not have to talk to them; you do not have to call them. Garcia tells Molina that she does not have to talk to SID and that she should tell them to talk to her lawyer. Molina asked Garcia what would happen if she did not answer them. Garcia told her that she does not have to answer or talk with them (SID). Garcia tells Molina to not call SID. Garcia tells Molina that if they ask her to ...


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