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Wise v. New Jersey Dep't of Corrections

June 15, 2010

JEFFREY WISE, APPELLANT,
v.
NEW JERSEY 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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION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 April 20, 2010

Before Judges Wefing and Grall.

Jeffrey Wise is an inmate in the custody of the Department of Corrections (the "Department"). He is appealing from a Final Decision of the Department finding him guilty of a disciplinary infraction and imposing sanctions. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

Wise is serving his sentence at New Jersey State Prison and, at the relevant time period, worked as a paralegal at the institution. He was originally charged with *.306, conduct which disrupts the institution, based upon his having sent a birthday card to a civilian employee who worked at the prison.

The charge was later amended to .709, failure to comply with a written rule or regulation. N.J.A.C. 10A:4-4.1.

The New Jersey State Prison rule in question states:

[u]ndue familiarity between inmates and staff or a volunteer is prohibited. Inmates must limit their contact with staff and volunteers to authorized and official interactions. Any inmate who participates in, or engages in, any unauthorized contact, interaction, or relationship with a staff member or volunteer shall be subject to disciplinary action. Examples of undue familiarity or an inappropriate contact/relationship includes, but is not limited to: giving or receiving favors, gifts, services, displays of affection or any sexual behavior or contact . . . .

Defendant admitted sending a birthday card to the civilian employee. The card in question did more than simply extend good wishes on the employee's birthday. The printed text contained the following message:

May your special day be filled with pleasure And memories you'll always treasure . . . May it bring the joy and gladness, too, That others have just knowing you.

Happy Birthday

Defendant inscribed a personal message on the card.

You're one of the trealest [sic] sisters I have yet to meet. That said, I'm honored to be your brother & friend, and may you have the privilege of being blessed with birthdays in the abundance. And may age as gracefully as the ...


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