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Carryl v. Department of Corrections

Supreme Court of Maine

July 18, 2019

FITZGERALD CARRYL
v.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

          Submitted On Briefs: June 26, 2019

          Fitzgerald Carryl, appellant pro se

          Aaron M. Frey, Attorney General, and James E. Fortin, Asst. Atty. Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee Department of Corrections

          Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

          REPORTER OF DECISIONS

          MEAD, J.

         [¶1] Fitzgerald Carryl, an inmate at the Maine State Prison, appeals from a judgment of the Superior Court (Kennebec County, Stokes, J.) denying his petition for review of a final agency action and affirming a disciplinary action that resulted in the imposition of sanctions against him for the offense of assault. Because the record before us contains no competent evidence to support the hearing officer's determination that Carryl committed an assault, we vacate the judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         [¶2] The following facts are drawn from the procedural record. See Dubois v. Dep't of Envtl. Prot, 2017 ME 224, ¶ 3, 174 A.3d 314. In a disciplinary incident report dated April 15, 2018, a corrections officer stated that

On the above date and time after finding out about the assault on Prisoner [Y] I reviewed the camera system to try to determine who assaulted him. On the date and time around the assault [Carryl] is seen on the A-pod Camera 1 at 10:41 leaving cell 108 in A-pod and goes upstairs to cell 204, at 10:43 he is seen exiting the cell which meets the time frame of the assault. Due to this new information Carryl... will be receiving a write up for assault.

         [¶3] Carryl was then scheduled for a formal disciplinary hearing on the assault violation, and he requested to call the victim, Prisoner Y, as a witness. A disciplinary hearing was held on May 1, 2018. The disciplinary hearing officer denied Carryl's request to call Prisoner Y as a witness, stating that Prisoner Y "is the victim and won't be called because if he was to say that [Carryl] did do anything that would put him in danger."

         [¶4] The hearing officer determined that Carryl "is guilty based on the officer[']s report. I do believe that base[d] on the report from the officer it is more probable th[a]n not that [the] prisoner did do what's in the report." The recommended disposition was a thirty-day disciplinary restriction. Carryl appealed the finding of guilt and the recommended disposition to the Chief Administrative Officer who affirmed the hearing officer's decision.

         [¶5] Carryl appealed to the Superior Court in accordance with 5 M.R.S. § 11001-11008 (2018) and M.R. Civ. P. 8OC. The court denied Carryl's petition for review of the agency action and affirmed the disciplinary action. Carryl now appeals to us, see 5 M.R.S. § 11008; M.R. Civ. P. 8OC(m), challenging the legality of the denial of his request to call a witness at the disciplinary hearing and the sufficiency of the evidence. "When the Superior Court acts in an intermediate appellate capacity pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 8OC, we review the administrative agency's decision directly for errors of law, abuse of discretion, or findings not supported by substantial evidence in the record." Richard v. Sec'y of State, 2018 ME 122, ¶ 21, 192 A.3d 611 (quotation marks omitted).

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Right to ...


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