New York State Court of Claims

New York State Court of Claims

THOMAS v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, #2005-010-014, Claim No. 107767


Synopsis


Inmate claim for compensation for alleged wrongful confinement was dismissed. The Court found that the confinement was not wrongful.

Case Information

UID:
2005-010-014
Claimant(s):
MARTIN THOMAS
Claimant short name:
THOMAS
Footnote (claimant name) :

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

Third-party claimant(s):

Third-party defendant(s):

Claim number(s):
107767
Motion number(s):

Cross-motion number(s):

Judge:
Terry Jane Ruderman
Claimant's attorney:
MARTIN THOMASPro 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:
January 28, 2005
City:
White Plains
Comments:

Official citation:

Appellate results:

See also (multicaptioned case)



Decision
In this claim for wrongful confinement of an inmate at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, testimony was heard from
claimant and Lieutenant Robert Patterson, the hearing officer assigned to claimant's matter. The undisputed evidence established that claimant was confined to his cell pursuant to a misbehavior ticket written on October 11, 2002 (Ex. A). A hearing was commenced on October 16, 2002 and then adjourned for the purpose of attempting to produce a witness requested by claimant. Claimant contends that he should have been released on October 16, 2002 and that he should be compensated for his confinement from that date until his release on November 10, 2002.
The Court finds, however, that the facility acted in compliance with its own directives. Specifically, 7 NYCRR 251-5.1 provides that a hearing must be completed within 14 days following the written misbehavior report "unless otherwise authorized" and "[w]here a delay is authorized, the record of the hearing should reflect the reasons for any delay or adjournment, and an inmate should ordinarily be made aware of these reasons" (Ex. C). Here, the record of the hearing reflects that
claimant requested the testimony of a staff witness; however the witness was on Workers' Compensation leave (Ex. A). The hearing office "made several attempts" to reach the witness by telephone, but was unsuccessful (id.). Therefore, the hearing officer requested an extension until November 1, 2002 for the purpose of making continued attempts to reach the witness. The notation for November 1, 2002 states:
"h/o continue trying to reach staff wit. but is still unsuccessful. inmate was notified. inmate insist on having staff wit. testimony. h/o req. an ext. until 11/04/02. please note: during this time h/o will continue trying to reach staff wit."

(Ex. A). Authorization was given until November 4, 2002 and the November 4, 2002 notation reads:
"h/o was unable to reach staff wit. inmate notified but insist on getting wit. testimony. h/o req. an ext. until 11/08/02."

(id.). On November 8, 2002, claimant was "on an outside trip" and the hearing officer requested an extension to conduct the hearing on November 9, 2002 (id.). On November 9, 2002, the witness was still not reached. Claimant was released on November 10, 2002.
The record establishes that the delay was authorized and that
claimant was not only aware of the reasons, but it was claimant's own request for the witness's testimony that was the cause of the delay. Accordingly, the Court finds that claimant's confinement was not wrongful (see
7NYCRR 251-5.1; 253.7[a][1][iii]).
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED DISMISSING CLAIM NO. 107767

January 28, 2005
White Plains, New York

HON. TERRY JANE RUDERMAN
Judge of the Court of Claims