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Carryl v. Maine Department of Corrections

Superior Court of Maine, Kennebec

October 5, 2016

FITZGERALD CARRYL, Petitioner
v.
MAINE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Respondent

          DECISION AND ORDER

          William R. Stokes Justice, Maine Superior Court

         The 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.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On 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).

         Influencing 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.

         An 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).

         On 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.

         In the 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).

         The 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 ...


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