Ismael Sanchez, the Claimant herein, alleges in Claim number 99161 that he was
wrongfully confined to his cell at Sing Sing Correctional Facility (hereafter
Sing Sing) for a period of 8 days commencing September 20, 1998 and ending
September 28, 1998. The trial of this matter was held at Sing Sing on August 14,
Claimant testified that on September 20, 1998 he got "written up by Officer
as a result of which he was "confined in ...[his] cell for 8 days without seeing
a disciplinary hearing...even though the rule book requires a hearing in 7
days." He indicated that he spoke to a Sergeant, who said he would "check it
out." As a result of the Sergeant's investigation, he was released on September
28, 1998. During the period of confinement he alleges he was denied access to
programs, the Law Library, the General Library, the mess hall, commissary, gym,
telephone calls, packages and all other activities normally enjoyed by inmates
in the general population of Sing Sing.
After his release, "maybe 2 days later," he found computer printout papers
purporting to be his hearing disposition in his cell. [Claimant's Exhibit "1",
Disciplinary Hearing Disposition Rendered]. They were dated September 28, 1998
and contained the appeal notification language for a Tier 2 hearing indicating
an appeal to the Superintendent had to be commenced within 72 hours. The
charges noted for the incident date of September 20, 1998 are: "untidy cell or
person...refusing direct order...property damage or loss." The penalty
description is "k.i. keep locked] pre-hear. 8 days," starting from September 20,
1998 to September 28, 1998. There is also a notation that the charge was
"dismissed", and that the "Report and Hearing Record sheet state inmate
confined. Inmate was
confined on 9/20/98 for this
incident. Procedural error." The hearing date and time is marked as "September
28, 1998 at 3:15 p.m."
Claimant asserted that because the printout was "thrown into his cell," he
could not avail himself of the appeal procedure provided. He also indicated that
the "rule book" he "had to sign," provides that for a "Tier 2 disciplinary
proceeding a hearing must start and finish within 7 days." Claimant seeks
damages in the amount of $300.00 per day for each day confined.
No other witnesses testified, and no other evidence was presented.
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 NY2d 212, 219-220 (1988). The fact that
charges were ultimately dismissed does not give rise to a cognizable cause of
action, where there is no evidence defendant acted inconsistently with its own
rules and regulations. Arteaga v State of New York, supra
Holloway v State of New York
; Gittens v State of
, 132 Misc 2d 399.
7 NYCRR § 251-5.1(a) provides, "[w]here an inmate is confined pending a
disciplinary hearing or superintendent's hearing, the hearing must be commenced
as soon as is reasonably practicable following the inmate's initial confinement
pending said disciplinary hearing or superintendent's hearing, but, in no event
may it be commenced beyond seven days of said confinement without authorization
of the commissioner or his designee." In calculating the seven day period, the
date upon which the misbehavior report was written is not included (
, Robles v Coombe
, 234 AD2d
From the limited facts presented it would appear, however tenuously, that the
correction officers acted consistently with New York State Department of
Correctional Services (hereafter DOCS) rules and regulations. The first seven
days of Claimant's confinement were within the allowable time period. At the
end of that time period, DOCS was required to either commence the hearing or
release the Claimant. Claimant was duly released and is not, therefore,
entitled to damages for this privileged period of confinement.
Odom v State of New York
, Claim No. 91792 (unreported decision, filed
December 8, 1998, Ruderman, J.).
Accordingly, defendant's motion to dismiss, upon which decision was reserved at
the time of trial, is hereby granted, and Claim number 99161 is dismissed.
Let Judgment be entered accordingly.