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Osborne v. State

Supreme Court of Alaska

September 5, 2014

WILLIAM G. OSBORNE, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF ALASKA, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Appellee

Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Michael Spaan, Judge. Superior Court No. 3AN-13-05783 CI.

William G. Osborne, Appellant, Pro se, Palmer.

John K. Bodick, Assistant Attorney General, Anchorage, and Michael C. Geraghty, Attorney General, Juneau, for Appellee.

Before: Fabe, Chief Justice, Winfree, Stowers, Maassen, and Bolger, Justices.

OPINION

Page 1287

STOWERS, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

William Osborne unsuccessfully challenged the Department of Correction's (DOC) calculation of his sentence through DOC's prisoner grievance process and then filed an administrative appeal in superior court. The superior court dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. We have previously held that the superior court does not have jurisdiction to consider such an appeal: the superior court lacks statutory appellate jurisdiction to review DOC grievance decisions, and an exception allowing the superior court to review alleged constitutional violations does not apply because the prisoner grievance process is not sufficiently adjudicative and does not produce a record capable of review.[1] We affirm the superior court's dismissal of Osborne's appeal.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

William Osborne filed a prisoner grievance with DOC alleging that DOC incorrectly computed his sentence following a parole revocation. He alleged that DOC failed to credit time he spent in custody pending revocation proceedings. On the recommendation of a DOC investigator, the acting superintendent of the prison denied the grievance. Osborne appealed to the Director of Institutions, and a deputy director denied his appeal. Osborne then filed a notice of administrative appeal in the superior court.

DOC moved to dismiss the administrative appeal. The superior court granted DOC's motion " on the ground that challenges to [DOC's] time accounting computations must be brought as applications for post-conviction relief pursuant to Criminal Rule 35.1 and [DOC's] grievance decisions are not adjudicative in nature and cannot be reviewed by the superior court in an administrative appeal." Osborne twice moved for reconsideration, and the superior court denied both motions. In response to Osborne's argument that review was required because he had exhausted his administrative remedies, the superior court concluded in its second order denying reconsideration that whether Osborne exhausted administrative remedies was irrelevant because the superior court lacked jurisdiction over Osborne's appeal.

Osborne filed a petition for hearing with this court. DOC moved to dismiss, arguing that a petition for hearing was inappropriate because the superior court's decision was final. We denied DOC's motion and converted Osborne's petition to an appeal, accepting the documents Osborne filed as his opening brief.[2]

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Whether the superior court has subject matter jurisdiction to hear an appeal from an administrative decision is a question ...


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