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Williams v. Department of Public Safety and Corrections

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

July 7, 2015

CLARENCE WILLIAMS
v.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY & CORRECTIONS

          On Appeal from the 19th Judicial District Court. In and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana. No. C-613273, Sec. 22 The Honorable Timothy Kelley, Judge Presiding.

         Clarence Williams, Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, Louisiana, Plaintiff/Appellant, In Proper Person.

         Terri L. Cannon, Legal Programs Department, Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, Louisiana, Attorney for Appellee, James Leblanc.

         BEFORE: GUIDRY, THERIOT, AND DRAKE, J. Guidry, J. concur in the result.

          OPINION

          [2014 0643 La.App. 1 Cir. 2] DRAKE, J.

         Plaintiff, Clarence Williams, an inmate housed at the Louisiana State Penitentiary (" LSP" ), appeals a district court judgment

Page 352

dismissing his petition for judicial review of a grievance he filed with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (" DPSC" ) pursuant to the Corrections Administrative Remedy Procedure (" CARP" ), La. R.S. 15:1171, et seq. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Mr. Williams had submitted a visiting request to the LSP, seeking to have his adult daughter, C. Bennett, added to his approved list of visitors. On May 12, 2009, the LSP denied the request of Mr. Williams. The LSP gave as its reason for the denial that on the visiting questionnaire, C. Bennett indicated that a family member had been a victim of a crime committed by Mr. Williams, and as such she, C. Bennett, would not be added to his approved Visiting List.[1]

         Thereafter, on October 10, 2011, Mr. Williams filed administrative remedy procedure (" ARP" ) LSP-2011-2724, wherein he complained that the DPSC denied his request to add his adult daughter, C. Bennett, to his approved list of visitors. Mr. Williams alleged that his daughter was denied visitation with him at the LSP on May 7, 2009, pursuant to DPSC Regulation C-02-008, which governs offender visitation.

         In its first step response, the DPSC stated that the change in DPSC Regulation C-02-008 would not prevent Mr. Williams's adult daughter C, Bennett from visiting with him; it would only prevent minors from participating in the visitation process without special permission from the LSP Warden. Rather, the DPSC stated that the reason Mr. Williams's daughter was denied visitation on May [2014 0643 La.App. 1 Cir. 3] 7, 2009, was because she indicated that she or a family member was a victim, of which decision Mr. Williams was notified of by the LSP on May 12, 2009. Having denied Mr. Williams's request to have his daughter added to his approved visiting list due to possible victim concerns, the DPSC denied Mr. Williams's request for administrative remedy. Mr. Williams requested to proceed to the second step review, wherein the relief he requested was likewise denied with the explanation, " it was determined that the first step response provided [was] clear and concise, as well as [had] addressed your request appropriately."

         Thereafter, Mr. Williams filed a petition for judicial review on June 27, 2012, seeking redress for his complaint. In his screening recommendation, the commissioner[2] assigned to review the matter held that Mr. Williams had no constitutional or statutory right to add C. Bennett to his visitor's list. The commissioner reasoned that the decision of the DPSC was based on security concerns and that there was no evidence in the record or basis in the law to show that the decision of the ...


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