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Quddoos Farra'd v. New Jersey Department of Corrections

February 22, 2012

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION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 December 14, 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 September 17, 2010 decision of the Department of Corrections (Department) imposing discipline for his refusal to accept a housing unit assignment while incarcerated at South Woods State Prison (SWSP). N.J.A.C. 10A:4-4.1(a).254. Farra'd was sanctioned to fifteen days detention, ninety days administrative segregation and sixty days loss of commutation time. On appeal, Farra'd argues that the hearing officer rendered an arbitrary and capricious finding of guilt unsupported by substantial evidence and that the Department failed to provide appropriate due process, in particular, by allowing two different hearing officers to conduct the disciplinary hearing. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

The relevant facts which gave rise to the allegation against Farra'd are largely uncontested. On September 8, 2010, Farra'd was received at the SWSP intake section and was informed of his housing assignment in the prison's general population. Farra'd claims that he told Sgt. J. Bondi he wanted to be placed in protective custody due to difficulties he experienced with the institution's staff the previous time he was housed there and due to his ongoing litigation against the institution. He indicates that Sgt. Bondi told him that protective custody is not used to protect inmates from staff, but that the request would have to be decided by the prison authorities. Farra'd claims that other inmates who arrived with him overheard this conversation. Senior Corrections Officer (SCO) P. Zadoroczny*fn1 and SCO Nichols were called by the Department at the hearing. They claimed that Farra'd gave no reason for refusing his housing assignment.

Farra'd was afforded a counsel substitute. His hearing took place before two hearing officers. The first hearing officer took a verbal statement from Farra'd. The second hearing officer heard the Department's evidence and made findings.

Farra'd raises the following issues on appeal:

POINT I

HEARING OFFICER ERRED BY DENYING EYE WITNESS STATEMENTS OF PRISONERS & PORTERS THAT WAS PRESENT DURING THE ALLEGED VIOLATION.

POINT II

HEARING OFFICER ERRED IN THE DENIAL OF CONFRONTATION WITH SGT. BON[D]I WHO INTERVIEWED DEFENDANT AT TIME OF ALLEGED VIOLATION DENYING EXCU[L]PA[]TORY EVIDENCE AND DUE PROCESS.

POINT III

DEFENDANT WAS DENIED A FAIR AND IMPARTIAL HEARING DUE TO CHANGE IN HEARING OFFICERS ...


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