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When a can top and a container of black pepper were found in Joseph Mariani's prison cell, he was charged with possession of a weapon and contraband and, after a tier III disciplinary hearing, was found guilty on both charges.

When an administrative appeals board concurred with that result, Mariani filed a special lawsuit -- an Article  78 proceeding -- with the Albany County Supreme Court which transferred the matter to the Appellate Division, Third Department.

The AD3 found that "[t]he determination of guilt [was] supported by substantial evidence in the form of the misbehavior report, together with [Mariani's] admissions that the items in question were in his cube."

While Mariani argued that he could not be guilty of possession of a weapon because he never intended to use the can top in that fashion, the AD3 remained unpersuaded. And while he also argued that "he was improperly denied the right to present witness testimony and the Hearing Officer was not appropriately designated to conduct the hearing," the AD3 was of the opinion that these claims had not been properly preserved for appellate review, and therefore dismissed them.

Did Mariani lack enough seasoning?

To download a copy of the Appellate Division's decision, please use this link: Matter of Mariana v. Selsky