Richard Brisman, the Claimant herein, alleges he was illegally
confined to keeplock from August 5, 1997 until August 24, 1997. He also alleges
he was illegally denied privileges until September 25, 1997. He claims,
therefore, he was wrongfully confined for 20 days; and his privileges were
wrongfully withheld for 30 days. Trial was held at Sing Sing Correctional
Facility (hereafter Sing Sing) on July 27, 2001.
At the trial, the Claimant testified to the same facts contained in his claim.
He asserted he was placed in keeplock for a six (6) month period commencing on
February 5, 1997, as well as loss of privileges, after a Tier II and Tier III
disciplinary hearing. These penalties were imposed after he was found guilty of
possessing a weapon, threats and interference. In support of his contention
that he should have been confined only until
August 5, 1997 he appended several computer printout sheets to his claim,
entitled "Superintendent Hearing Disposition" for three different incidents,
with what appear to be penciled in indications of the respective penalties.
[Exhibits "A", "B" and "C" to Claim].
Claimant alleges one hearing officer, Lieutenant Niles, had agreed to not
impose any additional keeplock time given the pendency of claimant's hearing
before the other hearing officer, and the likelihood that the penalty given in
the Tier III hearing would be "penalty enough." He alleges that "for some
reason or another Lt. Niles decline (
) on his word and went and tempered (sic.
) with the computers
and now the computers are reading out something different the wrong keeplock
release date and extra sanctions, he also divided my six months SHU time into
two; three SHU and three keeplock without due process of law." [Claim, dated
August 26, 1997, paragraph 8].
Lieutenant R. Patterson also testified. As the Supervisor of the Tier II and
Tier III Disciplinary Hearing System, he expressed familiarity with the computer
system, and the manner in which the results of disciplinary hearings and any
penalties imposed are recorded. He indicated that the Hearing Disposition Sheet
could very well say one period of time in handwriting, and the actual penalty
which would accrue could be different.
In the "Disciplinary Incident Summary" for this claimant [State's Exhibit "A"],
another computer generated document, penalties for three different hearing
results are set forth separately. With respect to the underlying incidents,
Lieutenant Patterson stated that the computer corrected the handwritten
calculations contained in the Hearing Disposition Report, to reflect the
appropriate service dates. Indeed, he reported that the claimant's confinement
time had actually been cut in half after Captain McElroy's review, but that the
privilege penalty remained the same.
The quasi-judicial acts of correction employees taken in furtherance of
authorized disciplinary measures are entitled to absolute immunity.
Arteaga v. State of New York
, 72 N.Y.2d 212, 219-220 (1988). From the
limited facts presented it would appear that the correction officers took
appropriate disciplinary measures and acted within the scope of their
discretionary functions in imposing and adjusting penalties for this claimant.
There is no indication that the defendant acted inconsistently with its own
rules and regulations, in conducting the hearing, or otherwise acted outside
the sphere of privileged actions. Arteaga, supra
Holloway v. State of New York
, 2001 WL 777553 (3d Dept. 2001);
: Gittens v. State of New York
, 132 Misc.2d 399
(N.Y. Ct. Claims 1986). Accordingly, their determinations are entitled to
Defendant's motion to dismiss, upon which decision was reserved, is now
granted. Claim Number 96926 is hereby dismissed. The Chief Clerk is directed
to enter judgment