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Patel v. Dep't of Corrections

July 14, 2009

DIMPY PATEL, 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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION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 May 4, 2009

Before Judges Sapp-Peterson and Alvarez.

Dimpy Patel is an inmate serving a life sentence at New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) in Trenton. He appeals from the final administrative decision of the Department of Corrections (DOC) finding him guilty of seven disciplinary infractions, all violations of N.J.A.C. 10A:4-4.1: *.803/*.009, attempting to misuse or possess electronic equipment not authorized for use or retention by an inmate such as, but not limited to, a cellular telephone(s), two-way radio(s), other communication device(s) and/or computer(s) and/or related device(s) and peripheral(s); *.306, conduct which disrupts or interferes with institutional security; .754, giving money or anything of value to, or accepting money or anything of value from, a member of another inmate's family or another inmate's friend with an intent to circumvent any correctional facility or departmental rule, regulation or policy or with an intent to further an illegal or improper purpose; .705, commencing or operating a business or group for profit or commencing or operating a non-profit enterprise without the approval of the Administrator; .753, purchasing anything on credit; and .752, giving money or anything of value to, or accepting money or anything of value from another inmate. We affirm.

The guilty adjudications on all of the infractions stemmed from Patel's major involvement in a large conspiracy to obtain contraband through compromised NJSP employees. The contraband at issue included drugs and cell phones. Additionally, the conspiracy involved money laundering. As a result of the finding of guilt on the charges, Patel received sanctions that included the permanent loss of contact visitation privileges, a two-year, nine-month period of administrative segregation, a three-year, one-month loss of telephone privileges, a two-year, six-month loss of commutation time, and 30 days detention. On a second .754 infraction, Patel received an additional ninety-day period of administrative segregation, a thirty-day loss of telephone privileges, and a sixty-day loss of commutation time.

On appeal, Patel raises the following points for our consideration.

POINT I

NO. 360669 AND NO. 361251 WERE FATALLY MUL[]TIPLICITOUS[,] REQUIRING EITHER AN AMENDMENT TO COMBINE SPECIFIC CHARGES OR A MERGER OF THOSE CHARGES FOR SANCTION IMPOSITION PURPOSES.

POINT II

THE PUNISHMENT OF LOSS OF MONITORED TELEPHONE PRIVILEGES FOR AN AGGREGATE PERIOD OF THREE YEARS AND THREE MONTHS IS DISPROPORTIONATE TO THE CONDUCT.

i. THE SANCTION VIOLATES THE PRINCIPLE OF PROPORTIONALITY.

ii. THIS COURT MUST ...


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