This claim arose at Wende Correctional Facility (Wende) during the summer of
1997 when Claimant received two sentences for disciplinary infractions, one for
90 days and one for 30 days. According to Claimant, these sentences should have
run concurrently, but prison officials required that they run consecutively.
Claimant seeks to recover money damages for a claimed 31 days of excessive
Documentary evidence attached to the claim establishes that on July 7, 1997,
Claimant was charged with fighting, violent conduct, disturbing the order of the
facility, and refusing to obey a direct order. On July 21, he was sentenced to,
among other things, 90 days in keeplock, which the sentencing sheet indicated
was to run from July 28 to October 25, 1997. On that same day, July 21,
Claimant was charged with a new violation: possession of contraband (a piece of
cement). In connection with that charge, he was found guilty on July 28 and
sentenced to, among other things, 30 days in keeplock. The sentencing sheet
indicated that this sentence was to run from July 28 to August 27, 1997.
Claimant was released from keeplock on November 27, 1997, thirty-one days after
the latest date listed on his sentencing sheets. Claimant testified that he
was never told that the sentences would run consecutively, nor was he given any
written notification to that effect. He also testified that in his experience
within the prison system, whenever an inmate is subject to two different
disciplinary sentences, they run concurrently.
Lt. Conrad Walter, Wende Disciplinary Lieutenant, testified for Defendant. He
was the hearing officer at Claimant's July 28th hearing on the contraband
charge. He pointed out that the code "B000" was written next to the keeplock
sentence on both sentencing sheets. Referring to a document entitled
"Statewide Penalties & Abbreviations" (Exhibit A), he explained that this
code stands for "Keeplock" and stated that it carries with it the indication
that such a sentence is to run consecutively with any other. If a sentence is
intended to run concurrently with any other sentence, the code would have been
"B100," which the form indicates stands for "Keeplock-Concurrent."
Lt. Walter explained that the dates he wrote in on the July 28th sentencing
sheet did not take into account the 90-day sentence imposed by another officer
on July 21 because information about the earlier conviction and sentence had not
yet been logged into the facility's computer. According to the copy of
Claimant's disciplinary record that he had available to him at the time of the
hearing, Claimant's latest keeplock sentence -- which had been imposed in May
1997 -- expired on July 28th. He stated that the code identifiers are included
on all sentence sheets as a double check which allows hearing officers to
clearly indicate whether they intend a sentence to run concurrently or
consecutively with any other sentence that might be imposed.
Claimant has provided, and research has disclosed, no authority to suggest that
sentences for prison disciplinary charges are intended to run either
concurrently or consecutively or that inmates must be informed, verbally or in
writing, which is to occur at the time a sentence is imposed. I found Lt.
Walter to be a thoroughly credible witness, and I must accept his testimony
that this determination is left up to the discretion of the hearing officer and,
consequently, that in this instance, Claimant's 30-day sentence properly ran
consecutively to his earlier 90-day sentence.
Claimant has failed to prove his claim by a preponderance of the credible
evidence. The Chief Clerk is directed to enter judgment dismissing this
All motions not heretofore ruled upon are hereby denied.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.