from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court In and for the
Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana Docket Number C647101
Honorable Todd Hernandez, Judge Presiding
Montraygo Drake Kinder, LA Plaintiff/Appellant, pro se.
William L. Kline Baton Rouge, LA Counsel for
Defendant/Appellee, Louisiana Department of Public Safety and
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., GUIDRY AND McCLENDON, JJ.
appeal, an inmate in the custody of the Louisiana Department
of Public Safety and Corrections ("DPSC") appeals
the district court's judgment dismissing his petition for
judicial review of the final agency decision rendered in a
disciplinary matter on the grounds that he failed to raise a
"substantial right" violation and, thus, failed to
state a cause of action. For the following reasons, we
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
August 19, 2015, Montraygo Drake, an inmate in the custody of
the DPSC, was issued a disciplinary report for violating the
Disciplinary Rules and Procedures for Adult
Inmates. Specifically, he was charged with
violating Rule 17 (Property Destruction), for having "a
double mattress double
'stitched.'"Following a hearing, the Disciplinary
Board found him guilty and sentenced him to four weeks loss
of canteen privileges and restitution for damage to the
mattress in the amount of $39.75. He appealed the decision to
the warden and the Secretary of the DPSC, and his appeal was
denied at both steps.
then filed a petition for judicial review in the district
court below, complaining about the procedures utilized in the
disciplinary proceeding and contending that his due process
rights were violated. In a Screening Report issued pursuant
to LSA-R.S. 15:1178(B), 15:1184(B) and 15:1188(A), the
commissioner concluded that Drake had failed to state a cause
of action or cognizable claim because, in light of the
penalties imposed and considering that plaintiff was afforded
a hearing and a two-step appeal process, this disciplinary
matter does not involve a violation of a "substantial
right." Thus, the commissioner recommended that
Drake's petition for judicial review be dismissed without
prejudice and without service on the DPSC for failure to
raise a "substantial right" violation and, thus,
failing to state a cause of action.
accordance with the commissioner's Screening Report, the
district court rendered judgment dismissing Drake's
petition without prejudice and without service on the DPSC,
for failure to raise a substantial right violation and, thus,
for failing to state a cognizable claim or cause of action.
From this judgment, Drake appeals.
to LSA-R.S. 15:1177(A)(9), a district court may modify or
reverse a decision of the DPSC in a prison disciplinary
action "only if substantial rights of the appellant have
been prejudiced" because the DPSC's findings or
decisions are: (1) in violation of constitutional or
statutory provisions; (2) in excess of the statutory
authority of the agency; (3) made upon unlawful procedure;
(4) affected by other error of law; (5) arbitrary,
capricious, or characterized by abuse of discretion; or (6)
manifestly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative, and
substantial evidence on the whole record. (Emphasis added).
notion that the procedural protections of the Due Process
Clause are triggered by any substantial deprivation
imposed by prison authorities has been soundly rejected. See
Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 224-225, 96 S.Ct.
2532, 2538, 49 L.Ed.2d 451 (1976). Lawful incarceration
brings about the necessary withdrawal or limitation of many
privileges and rights, a retraction justified by the
considerations underlying our penal system. Discipline by
prison officials in response to a wide range of misconduct
falls within the expected perimeters of the sentence imposed
by a court of law. Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472,
485, 115 S.Ct. 2293, 2301, 132 L.Ed.2d 418 (1995). Thus, in
order for Drake's petition to state a cognizable claim
for judicial review of a disciplinary matter, it must allege
facts demonstrating that his "substantial rights"
were prejudiced by the agency's decision. Giles v.
Cain, 99-1201 (La.App. 1st Cir, 6/23/00), 762
So.2d 734, 738.
instant case, Drake failed to set forth facts demonstrating
that his "substantial rights" were prejudiced on
the basis that prison officials violated his right to due
process, abused their discretion, exceeded their authority,
or committed any other error in finding him guilty of
property destruction and imposing loss of canteen privileges
and restitution, The disciplinary sentence of four weeks loss
of canteen privileges and restitution in the amount of $39.75
are not unusual or a significant hardship in relation to the
ordinary incidents of prison life and did not prejudice
plaintiffs substantial rights. See Black v. Louisiana
Department of Public Safety and Corrections, 2015-1908.
2016 WL 3132157, (La.App. 1st Cir. 6/3/16)
(unpublished) (custody change and restitution of $8.00);
Hall v. Louisiana Department of Public Safety and
Corrections, 2013-0053, 2013 WL 5915223, (La.App.
1st Cir. 11/1/13) (unpublished), writ
denied, 2013-2906 (La. 9/12/14), 147 So.3d 180
(custody change and restitution of $25.00); Boatner v.
Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections,
2012-0973, 2013 WL 593989, (La.App. 1st Cir.
2/15/13) (unpublished) (custody change and ...