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Quddoos Farra'd v. New Jersey Department of Corrections

December 13, 2011

QUDDOOS FARRA'D, APPELLANT,
v.
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, RESPONDENT.



On appeal from the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 26, 2011

Before Judges Graves and Koblitz.

Appellant Quddoos Farra'd, an inmate at the New Jersey State Prison, is serving a thirty-five-year prison term with a seventeen year, six-month period of parole ineligibility. He appeals the June 15, 2010 decision of the Department of Corrections (Department) imposing discipline for "lying [or] providing [a] false statement to a staff member." N.J.A.C. 10A:4-4.1(a)*.305. Farra'd was sanctioned to fifteen days detention, ninety days administrative segregation, sixty days loss of commutation time and twenty-five days loss of recreation privileges. On appeal, Farra'd argues that the hearing officer rendered an arbitrary and capricious finding of guilt unsupported by substantial evidence, that an allegation stemming from an inmate statement in a complaint form cannot form the basis for a disciplinary action and that the Department failed to provide appropriate due process, especially in light of Farra'd's status as an elected inmate representative. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

The facts which gave rise to the allegation against Farra'd are largely uncontested. On May 19, 2010, at approximately 12:45 p.m., Senior Corrections Officer (SCO) Patrick Scully ordered Farra'd and the other inmates in his housing unit to lock into their cells because the Department Commissioner was coming to tour the prison. Later that day, Farra'd submitted a written Inmate Remedy Form (IRF) captioned "problem [with] Sgt. Aronow," claiming that SCO Scully ordered Farra'd to lock into his cell "per Sgt. Aronow" as part of a pattern of harassment by Aronow against Farra'd. Farra'd indicated this lock-in order interfered with his "Wing Representative duties."*fn1 In a written report, SCO Scully denied that Aranow gave the order to lock in. He also denied telling Farra'd that the order came from Aronow.

The initial adjudication hearing was postponed because Farra'd requested the opportunity to confront witnesses and a polygraph examination. Farra'd represented himself and did not seek the assistance of a counsel substitute. The hearing officer rejected the witness statements prepared by Farra'd, but his witnesses were permitted to give written statements obtained through the Department pursuant to regulation. N.J.A.C. 10A:4-9.5(e) and (f).

On appeal, Farra'd raises the following issues,

POINT I

Accuser erred in writing & hearing officer erred in processing a disciplinary charge against an alleged false statement in a submitted remedy complaint form by not having the authority or jurisdiction to hear a cross - claim

POINT II

Hearing officer erred in not investigating and allowing a retaliation defense

POINT III

Hearing officer erred in the denial of request for evidence of the activity schedule and 3 ...


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