On appeal from the New Jersey Department of Corrections.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Simonelli and Hayden.
Appellant Travis Gillispie appeals from the December 6, 2010 final agency decision of respondent New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC), which upheld the decision of a hearing officer to impose disciplinary sanctions for committing prohibited act *.009, misuse or possession of a cellular telephone, in violation of N.J.A.C. 10A:4-4.1(a). We affirm.
At all times relevant to this appeal, appellant was an inmate at New Jersey State Prison (NJSP). On May 27, 2010, the Special Investigations Division (SID) seized a cell phone from another inmate. A forensic search revealed that appellant had used the cell phone while incarcerated to make several outgoing calls.
On November 3, 2010, appellant was charged with prohibited act *.009, and, on November 4, 2010, was served with notice of the charge. At a hearing on November 9, 2010, appellant requested and received counsel substitute and together they reviewed the adjudication report and evidence considered by Hearing Officer Jantz (HO Jantz). Appellant declined to call witnesses or confront/cross-examine adverse witnesses; he pled guilty, and requested leniency. Appellant admitted that he had used the cell phone to call family members "a few times." After considering all of the evidence and appellant's guilty plea, HO Jantz found appellant guilty of the charge, and sanctioned him to 15 days' detention with credit for time served, 300 days' administrative segregation, 300 days' loss of commutation time, permanent loss of contact visits, and 180 days' loss of phone privileges.
On November 12, 2010, appellant administratively appealed. He again admitted his guilt, requested leniency, apologized for his actions, and promised not to repeat the offense. Appellant provided a written statement that recounted his appearance before HO Jantz and entry of his guilty plea on November 9, 2010. The statement requested leniency based on appellant's favorable institutional record. Associate Administrator Christopher Holmes upheld HO Jantz's decision. This appeal followed.
On appeal, appellant contends for the first time that he never appeared at the hearing, the DOC did not prove the charge, substitute counsel rendered ineffective assistance, and HO Jantz should have independently investigated the charge. We will decline to consider questions or issues raised for the first time on appeal unless they involve jurisdiction or are of public importance. Alloway v. Gen. Marine Indus., L.P., 149 N.J. 620, 643 (1997); see also State v. Robinson, 200 N.J. 1, 20 (2009) (reiterating the principle of not considering an issue raised for the first time on appeal absent an exception). No exception applies here.
In any event, we have considered appellant's contentions in light of the record and applicable legal principles and conclude they are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). We are satisfied that there is substantial credible evidence in the record as a whole supporting the DOC's decision, and the decision is not arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable. Henry v. Rahway State Prison, 81 N.J. 571, 579-80 (1980); Ramirez v. Dep't of Corr., 382 N.J. Super. 18, 23 (App. Div. 2005); N.J.A.C. 10A:4-9.15(a). The SID investigation confirmed that appellant had used the cell phone several times while incarcerated. Appellant appeared at the hearing before HO Jantz, pled guilty, and admitted that he had used the cell phone to make several outgoing calls to family members. He, thus, is guilty of committing prohibited act *.009.
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