This decision follows the trial of the claim of Jerome Williams, which was held
at Sullivan Correctional Facility. Mr. Williams testified on his own behalf and
defendant called Correction Officer H. Pierce.
Williams testified that after he was transferred from Auburn Correctional
Facility to Sullivan Correctional Facility, he learned that the following items
were missing from his personal property: legal papers, stamps, a wedding band
and rugs. Neither in his claim nor in his testimony did Williams state when he
was transferred or when he learned of the alleged loss; defendant's exhibit A
indicates that his property was unpacked and given to him on August 19,
Williams valued the legal papers at $4,000 in his claim. At trial, asked what
the papers consisted of, he said he was not certain, adding that some were filed
by his attorneys, some related to a §1983 action he had, and others to a
federal habeas corpus action.
The wedding band was valued at $3,000 in Willliams' claim. He described it as
being gold with three rows of diamond chips. Claimant added that the ring had
been given to him by "illegal means" during a visit, as the facility does not
allow inmates to have diamonds. He acknowledged that as such, he had no package
room receipt for the ring, and said that the facility was unaware he had it and
would have confiscated it had he been caught.
As to the rugs, which were valued at $1,000 in his claim, Williams said they
were antique oriental rugs that had been given to him by the facility's Imam and
again, he had no package room receipts for them. At trial, Williams did not
elaborate as to the stamps; in his claim, they were valued at $46.92.
Aside from his testimony, to prove ownership of the items, Williams submitted
the "I-64 Personal Property Transferred Form" that was annexed to his claim.
See claimant's exhibit 1. As set forth more fully below, as concerns the
missing items, such form differs from the I-64 submitted by defendant in its
Both versions of the I-64 were prepared on August 17, 2001,
, presumably at Auburn before claimant's transfer to Sullivan, and
both indicate possession of a number of items unrelated to this claim, such as
books, magazines and shoes. The difference between the two is that on
claimant's version, the four items alleged to be lost are checked off on the
form, whereas on defendant's version, they are not. In addition, claimant's
version is signed by him (although without a date) and has a handwritten note
that he is missing the items, whereas such signature and notations are not
contained in defendant's version.
Neither version has any indication of August 19, 2001, the date on which
claimant's property was given to him, and thus it is unclear whether there was
yet another version signed on that date. But in any event, as to the
discrepancies between the documents, defendant attempted to show that claimant
made the changes in question to the copy of defendant's form which had been
given to him, and then annexed it to his claim; for instance, defendant pointed
out that the handwriting for the four allegedly missing items appears different
from that for the remaining items on the list. For his part, claimant
maintained that defendant's copy must have been "tampered with," although such
is less convincing in view of the fact that it would require the removal of
information from the form.
Overall, I cannot find that claimant has proved, by a preponderance of the
evidence, that he owned such items prior to his transfer to Sullivan
Correctional Facility. See
1:60. Accordingly, his claim must fail. In view of the foregoing,
claim no. 105140 is dismissed.