Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Onezime v. Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

November 1, 2017

CHESTER ONEZIME
v.
LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONS

         On Appeal from the 19th Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana No. C614063 The Honorable R. Michael Caldwell, Judge Presiding

          Chester Onezime Angola, Louisiana Plaintiff/ Appellant, In Proper Person.

          Terri L. Cannon Angola, Louisiana Attorney for Defendant/ Appellee, Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

          BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, HOLDRIDGE, AND PENZATO, JJ.

          PENZATO, J.

         Appellant, Chester Onezime, an inmate in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPSC), housed at Louisiana State Penitentiary located in Angola, Louisiana, appeals a judgment of the district court that dismissed his petition for judicial review with prejudice. Based on our review of the record, we affirm the district court's judgment.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Mr. Onezime filed a petition for judicial review in the Nineteenth Judicial District Court (19th JDC) seeking review of a lost property claim No. LSP-2012-1246 in accordance with the Louisiana Corrections Administrative Remedy Procedure ("CARP"), La. R.S. 15:1171 et seq. Mr. Onezime disputes DPSC's final agency decision denying his request for property loss. Mr. Onezime is in the custody of DPSC and on January 13, 2012, was found in possession of a cellphone, which is considered contraband. For this rule violation, Mr. Onezime, who was housed in the main prison, was sentenced to the Camp J Management Program. On January 13, 2012, Mr. Onezime's personal property was packed into two boxes and with tamper proof seals numbered 57082 and 57083. On this same date, he was moved from the main prison to an administrative segregation area until he was transferred to Camp J on January 26, 2012. Mr. Onezime signed an acknowledgment that the two boxes with tamper proof seals numbered 57082 and 57083 were intact at this time.[1] Camp J did not permit Mr. Onezime to keep all the personal property that was contained in the two boxes, so the items he was not allowed to have at Camp J were placed in two green army bags with tamper proof seals numbered 68883 and 68890. Mr. Onezime claims that when the bags were returned to him on April 24, 2012, numerous items of personal property were missing, namely, clothing, a radio, and headphones, and he filed this ARP, which was originally denied by the warden.

         The warden's decision notes that besides the fact that Mr. Onezime acknowledged on January 26, 2012, that the tamper proof seals numbered 57082 and 57083 on the two boxes were intact at the time of delivery, there was no indication that Mr. Onezime complained of missing property at the time of delivery. Furthermore, the investigation revealed that once at Camp J, Mr. Onezime was given his property contained in the two boxes, except for items he was not allowed to have at Camp J, which were placed in two green bags.

         Mr. Onezime appealed to the Secretary of DPSC, who denied the claim for failing to prove that a loss occurred. He then filed a petition for judicial review in the district court seeking to be compensated for his lost property. The 19th JDC Commissioner[2] (Commissioner) issued a recommendation that the final administrative decision be affirmed. The Commissioner reasoned that there was no evidence in the record to substantiate a loss, so Mr. Onezime failed to meet his burden of proof. The district court adopted the recommendation of the Commissioner after considering the administrative record, the Commissioner's Report, and the traversal filed by Mr. Onezime. It is from this judgment dated October 24, 2016, that Mr. Onezime appeals.

         DISCUSSION

         Louisiana Revised Statute 15:1177(A)(9) sets forth the appropriate standard of review by the district court, which functions as an appellate court when reviewing the DPSC's administrative decisions. Judicial review is mandated to be conducted by the district court without a jury and must be confined to the record. La. R.S. 15:1177(A)(5). Specifically, the court may reverse or modify the administrative decision only if substantial rights of the appellant have been prejudiced because the administrative findings 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 an abuse of discretion, or (6) manifestly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative and substantial evidence on the whole record. La. R.S. 15:1177(A)(9); Lightfoot v. Stalder, 2000-1120 (La.App. 1 Cir. 6/22/01), 808 So.2d 710, 715-716, writ denied, 2001-2295 (La. 8/30/02), 823 So.2d 957.

         On review of the district court's judgment under La. R.S. 15:1177, no deference is owed by the court of appeal to the factual findings or legal conclusions of the district court, just as no deference is owed by the Louisiana Supreme Court to factual findings or legal conclusions of the court of appeal. McCoy v. Stalder, 99-1747 (La.App. 1 Cir. 9/22/00), 770 So.2d 447, 450-51.

         In his brief, Mr. Onezime asserts that he was not present on January 13, 2012, when his property was initially packed into two boxes by Major M. Laborde and Captain Leon Jenkins. He also claims that when he was moved to Camp J, it was the responsibility of the security officers to inventory his personal property. Mr. Onezime ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.