Inmate’s claim over his use of religious oils did not implicate a state-created liberty interest.
We affirm, as modified, the Administrative Law Court’s order.
Inmate Gregory Pencille appealed the Administrative Law Court’s order summarily dismissing his appeal of the South Carolina Department of Corrections’ determination that he was not entitled to the use of religious oils. Pencille argued the ALC erred in determining it did not have jurisdiction to review his appeal, granting SCDC’s motion to dismiss without admitting evidence, dismissing his appeal with prejudice, and refusing to hold oral argument.
The ALC summarily dismissed Pencille’s appeal with prejudice, finding Pencille’s “desire to obtain religious oils d[id] not implicate a state-created liberty interest.” In support of its decision, the ALC cited to Slezak v. South Carolina Department of Corrections, stating our supreme court found in that case “an inmate’s interest in ‘religious tapes’ did not implicate a state-created liberty interest.” The ALC further found Pencille’s allegations regarding his transfer were not properly before the ALC because federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act claims do not implicate a state-created liberty interest.
First, Pencille argued the ALC erred in summarily dismissing his claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction when his claim implicated a state-created liberty interest. We agree in part and disagree in part. We hold Pencille’s claim did not implicate a state-created liberty interest such that it invoked the procedural protections of the Due Process Clause, and we therefore hold the ALC did not err in summarily dismissing Pencille’s claim.
However, although we affirmed the ALC’s holding that Pencille’s claim did not implicate a state-created liberty interest, based on our supreme court’s recent clarification in Allen v. S.C. Dep’t of Corr., 439 S.C. 164, 171, 886 S.E.2d 671, 674 (2023), we find that the ALC erred in determining it did not have subject matter jurisdiction over Pencille’s claim.
Affirmed as modified.
Pencille v. South Carolina Department of Corrections (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-043-23, 12 pp.) (Per Curiam) Appealed from The Administrative Law Court (Ralph King Anderson III, ALJ) Clarence Rauch Wise, of Greenwood, for appellant; Christina Catoe Bigelow and Kensey Evans, both of Columbia, for respondent. South Carolina Court of Appeals