On appeal from the New Jersey Department of Corrections.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 11, 2012 -
Before Judges Alvarez and St. John.
Karriem Nunally, an inmate currently confined in Northern State Prison, appeals from the August 2, 2011 final determination of the Department of Corrections (DOC) after administrative proceedings during which he entered a guilty plea to prohibited act *.205 (misuse of authorized medication) in violation of N.J.A.C. 10A:4-4.1(a). He also appeals from the sanctions imposed: fifteen days detention with credit for time served, 183 days of administrative segregation of which 182 days were suspended for sixty days, 365 days loss of commutation time, and 365 days of random drug testing.
On July 19, 2011, Senior Corrections Officer Ronnie Perry reached into Nunally's bulging right front pocket and removed a pill dispensing cup wrapped in clear plastic, containing thirteen Vicodin and six Benadryl tablets. In accordance with prison protocol, such medications are to be consumed in the presence of the medical staff, and Vicodin pills are to be crushed on the spot before consumption.
A report prepared that same date by the Director of Custody Operations C. Prestien-LaPenta states that the day prior, Nunally's medications had been discontinued because authorities discovered he was hoarding them. On July 20, charges were served upon him and the matter was referred to a hearing officer.
The hearing was initially scheduled on July 25, 2011, but was postponed so the hearing officer could obtain photographs of the seized item. The matter concluded the following day after Nunally, with the assistance of counsel substitute, entered a guilty plea.
Nunally administratively appealed the decision and the sanctions, resulting in the reduction of the administrative segregation days from 365 to 183, of which 182 were suspended for sixty days.
Nunally raises the following issues for our consideration:
THE DEVIATION FROM THE REQUIREMENT THAT INMATE[S] IN PREHEARING DETENTION SHOULD RECEIVE A HEARING WITHIN THREE CALENDAR DAYS OF THEIR PLACEMENT IN PREHEARING DETENTION FROM ALLEGED [IN]FRACTION WAS VIOLATED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS ACCORDING TO N.J.A.C. 10A:4-9.8(c), (d) AND (e).
THE AGENCY'S DISPOSITION OF THE CHARGE DEVIATED FROM PROCEDURAL STANDARDS AND VIOLATED APPELLANT'S DUE PROCESS PROTECTION AS ...