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Juan Quinones v. the New Jersey Department of Corrections

September 14, 2012

JUAN QUINONES, APPELLANT,
v.
THE 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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION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 August 27, 2012

Before Judges Nugent and Ostrer.

Appellant Juan Quinones, an inmate at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel (ADTC), appeals from a final decision of the Department of Corrections (DOC) finding him guilty of committing prohibited act .256, "refusing to obey an order of any staff member." N.J.A.C. 10A:4-4.1. As a result of the violation, Quinones received a sanction of fifteen days' detention, ninety days' administrative segregation, sixty days' loss of commutation time, fourteen hours of extra duty, and fifteen days' loss of recreation privileges. We affirm.

These are the facts concerning Quinones' violation. On May 23, 2011, at approximately 1:30 p.m., Quinones was working as a line server in the facility's kitchen. At that time, Institutional Trade Instructor (ITI) Andrew Dorfman told Quinones "that before he leaves the kitchen . . . he has to check with me." Quinones responded, "No I don't," and left the kitchen. Dorfman charged Quinones with a .256 violation for refusing to obey Dorfman's order, and Quinones was placed on "lay-in" pending adjudication of the charges.

The next day, May 24, 2011, Sergeant Brown*fn1 served the charge on Quinones and investigated the incident. Quinones declined to make a statement, deciding to reserve any statement for a hearing. He did not identify any witnesses to the incident.

Following two postponements, a hearing took place on June 8, 2011. Quinones pled not guilty. He did not request counsel substitute. The hearing officer considered Dorfman's statement and report concerning the incident, and the following statement from Quinones: "I asked if I could leave. The C/O told me to wait. The ITI said I didn't ask him if I could leave. I told him I didn't have to. He wrote me up." Quinones declined to name any witnesses and declined the opportunity to confront or cross-examine adverse witnesses. After evaluating the evidence, the hearing officer found Quinones guilty of the .256 charge.

Following the hearing, the hearing officer prepared an "Adjudication of Disciplinary Charge" report that states defendant did not request counsel substitute, declined to name any witnesses, and declined to confront or cross-examine adverse witnesses. Defendant signed the report beneath the acknowledgement that it "accurately reflect[ed] what took place at the disciplinary hearing."

On June 9, 2011, Quinones filed an administrative appeal of the hearing officer's decision. The administrator upheld the decision of the hearing officer, finding that Quinones had been afforded procedural due process and that the decision of the hearing officer was supported by substantial evidence. This appeal followed. Quinones raises the following issues:

POINT I

THE CERTIFICATION OF INDIGENCY PROVIDES THAT THE APPELLANT IS INDIGENT AND SETS FORTH THE FACTS IN THE CERTIFICATIONS OF INDIGENCY INCLUDED IN THE MOTION PAPERS PURSUANT TO [RULE] 2:7-1.

POINT II

THERE WAS A VIOLATION OF DUE PROCESS IN THAT THE APPELLANT WAS NEVER TOLD THAT HE COULD REQUEST A PARALEGAL TO REPRESENT HIM IN THIS MATTER. HE WAS NOT TOLD THAT HE HAS A RIGHT TO CALL WITNESSES, NOR WAS HE TOLD [THAT] ...


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