Court Orders California Prison Officials to Process Prisoner’s Administrative Appeals
In February 2008, a Superior Court in California held that Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) officials had improperly “screened out” two administrative appeals filed by SVSP prisoner Lorenzo Fosselman, Jr.
The first of Fosselman’s appeals was screened out because it was supposedly not received by the Appeals Office within 15 working days of the event or decision being appealed. The second of his appeals was screened out because it supposedly failed to demonstrate an adverse effect on his welfare.
The court rejected the screen-out decisions as meritless.
As to the first appeal, the court held that it was timely “submitted” pursuant to 15 CCR §3084.6(a) when it was handed to a correctional officer at mail pickup, four days before the 15-working-day deadline. The fact that it was not received by the Appeals Office until one day after the deadline, the court held, was not Fosselman’s responsibility, as “mail delivery procedures are in the purview of the prison,” Fosselman had “no control over what happen[ed] to his appeal once he place[d] it in the hands of the prison officials who are responsible to deliver the mail.”
As to the record appeal, the court held that Fosselman was adversely affected both by a loss of privileges and by his identification as “an inmate who promoted gang or organized violence.” The latter, the court held, “will have an adverse effect on [Fosselman’s] parole chances in future parole suitability hearings.”
The court directed SVSP officials to process Fosselman’s appeals. See: In re Fosselman, Jr., Superior Court of California, County of Monterey, Case No. HC 5680.
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Related legal case
In re Fosselman, Jr.
|Superior Court of California, County of Monterey, Case No. HC 5680
|State Trial Court