DECISION AND ORDER
William R. Stokes Justice, Maine Superior Court
matter before the court is an appeal by Fitzgerald Carryl, an
inmate at the Maine State Prison, from a disciplinary
proceeding that resulted in the imposition of sanctions
against him for the offense of "influencing staff,
" a Class A violation. This appeal has been brought in
accordance with 5 M.R.S. §11001-11008 (Administrative
Procedure Act) and M.R.Civ.P. 80C.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
October 9, 2015 Officer Steven French prepared a Disciplinary
Incident Report charging the Petitioner was the offense of:
"influencing staff, " a Class A infraction. In his
report, Officer French described the incident as follows:
"On the above date and approx. time I Ofc French while
working medium d pod was informed by my zone control officer
that inmate ___ had passed something to inmate ___. I called
inmate ___ to my desk and asked him if he had received
anything from inmate ___. The inmate said no. Ofc Payne
informed me that it was stuffed in his pants. I asked the
inmate if he had received anything and if it was in his
pants. Again the inmate replied no. I told the inmate we will
go inside the officer's bathroom and conduct a strip
search. As I turned to reach and get blue gloves in the
inmate acting like he was touching his shoe and stuffed the
dvd under my desk. Ofc Payne informed me that he had done
this. I told the inmate to give it to me. The inmate handed
me what appeared to be a porn dvd. The picture on the disk
and the name was very suggestive of this. As the pod was
returning from chow inmate ___, ___ approached my desk and
said "French, you are always taking stuff from us.'
After more inmates returned from chow inmate Carryl, F
#126304 approached my desk. The inmates started speaking to
me saying things to the effect of no one ever bother you
French. He also asked if I had begun to write up the inmates
and if I hadn't if there was anything we could do to make
it go away. The inmate continued to speak in this manner and
I explained to the inmate that this was a big deal and how I
found it strange he knew what had happened without being in
the pod. I also explained to the inmate that something
unauthorized inside the facility was a big deal. The inmate
then left my desk in a less than happy manner."
(Administrative Record, "AR" at 2).
staff is defined as "[p]romising, offering, or giving to
any Department staff any monetary or other benefit for the
purpose of influencing such staff in the performance of
official duties." POLICY 20.1, page 17.
investigation was initiated on October 10, 2015 and the
Petitioner gave the following statement:
"I did not even attempt to influence Officer French. The
inmate rule book subsection disciplinary violations supports
the fact as well as testimony by Officer French."
(AR at 4).
October 13, 2015 the Petitioner was notified that his
disciplinary hearing was scheduled for October 15, 2015. The
Petitioner indicated that he wished to call Officer French as
a witness at the hearing. (AR at 1). The disciplinary hearing
was actually held on October 22, 2015.
Summary of Hearing, the Disciplinary Hearing Officer
documented that the Petitioner continued to deny that he was
attempting to influence Officer French, although he
acknowledged speaking to him but indicated that he was
unaware of the “severity of the incident with the other
prisoner.” (AR at 7). With respect to calling Officer
French as a witness, the Hearing Officer wrote: 'The
prisoner wanted to call Officer French as a witness. I have
the Officers [sic] detailed report there for [sic] I
don't need to call the officer." (AR at 7). The
Petitioner was found guilty of the offense "based on the
staff report." Id. The Hearing Officer
recommended a SI00 monetary sanction, 30 days disciplinary
restriction and 30 days loss of good time. (AR at 8).
Petitioner filed a timely appeal on November 3, 2015. (AR at
10-12). The Chief Administrative Officer or designee affirmed
the finding of guilt and the recommended sanction on November
9, 2015. (AR at 14). This Petition for ...