New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

AMAKER v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2005-010-013, Claim No. 107664


Synopsis


Claimant is awarded $150.00 in damages for wrongful confinement in the Special Housing Unit of Sing Sing Correctional Facility.

Case Information

UID:
2005-010-013
Claimant(s):
ANTHONY D. AMAKER
Claimant short name:
AMAKER
Footnote (claimant name) :

Defendant(s):
THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Footnote (defendant name) :

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
107664
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Terry Jane Ruderman
Claimant's attorney:
ANTHONY D. AMAKERPro Se
Defendant's attorney:
HON. ELIOT SPITZER
Attorney General for the State of New YorkBy: Elyse Angelico, Assistant Attorney General
Third-party defendant's attorney:

Signature date:
February 3, 2005
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
Claimant seeks damages for alleged wrongfully confinement in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) from January 17, 2003 through February 10, 2003, when he was released into general population. Claimant maintains that during this entire period, he was confined to a cell 23 hours a day.
Claimant testified that during his incarceration at Upstate Correctional Facility, he was transferred temporarily to the Metropolitan Correctional Facility in New York City for purposes of housing him during his trial appearance in Federal Court. On December 6, 2002, the disposition of his superintendent's misbehavior report hearing at Upstate was reversed (Ex. 1). However, according to claimant, on January 17, 2003, he was transported from Federal Court to Sing Sing and improperly placed in SHU where he remained until he was transported back to Upstate on January 27, 2003. He was then housed in SHU at Downstate Correctional Facility from January 31 through February 3 and then at Great Meadow Correctional Facility SHU from February 3 through February 10. On February 10, 2003, claimant was released to general population.
Lieutenant Robert Patterson has been employed at Sing Sing for 15 years and, in January and February of 2003, he was the vacation relief lieutenant. He testified that when inmates are transported for appearance at a Federal Court proceeding and designated as "court return status,"[1]
they may be housed in SHU. He explained, however, that it must first be established that there are no available cells in general population and that, after 24 hours in SHU, the inmate must be accorded general population privileges such as exercise, telephone and commissary access.
Patterson, who was familiar with inmate records, reviewed
claimant's movement data (Ex. B). He could not, however, discern from the records the type of cell in which claimant had been housed, nor was there any evidence indicating that claimant was accorded general population privileges. The logbooks from Downstate Correctional Facility indicate that claimant was received as a general population inmate on January 31 and, according to Patterson, claimant was returned to general population on that date (Exs. D, E).
Upon consideration of all the evidence, including listening to the witnesses testify and observing their demeanor as they did so, the Court finds that the credible evidence established that
claimant was wrongfully confined from January 17 until January 31, when he was released into general population. While Patterson testified that it was permissible to house an inmate in SHU under certain circumstances, the evidence failed to establish the lack of availability of cells in general population and that claimant had been afforded general population privileges.
Accordingly, the Court finds that
claimant is entitled to damages in the amount of $150.00 for his excessive confinement, as fair and reasonable compensation (see Minieri v State of New York, 204 AD2d 982). It is further ordered that, to the extent that claimant has paid a filing fee, it may be recovered pursuant to Court of Claims Act §11-a(2).
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.


February 3, 2005
White Plains, New York

HON. TERRY JANE RUDERMAN
Judge of the Court of Claims




[1] All quotations are to the trial notes or audiotapes unless otherwise indicated.