In 1973, a prison inmate brought suit seeking damages and declaratory and injunctive relief under 42 USC § 1983 challenging due process violations in prison disciplinary procedures at Rhode Island's Adult Correctional Institutions (A.C.I.). The inmate had been charged with inciting a disturbance, ...
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In 1973, a prison inmate brought suit seeking damages and declaratory and injunctive relief under 42 USC § 1983 challenging due process violations in prison disciplinary procedures at Rhode Island's Adult Correctional Institutions (A.C.I.). The inmate had been charged with inciting a disturbance, and though told that the charge might result in an additional prosecution in state courts, was not allowed to have an attorney present at the disciplinary hearing. He was also advised that his silence could be used against him. After reviewing the record, the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island (Judge Edward William Day) concluded that the inmate had not been denied due process because he had been given notice of the charges against him, an opportunity to respond, and an opportunity to have a counsel-substitute at his hearing. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, finding that where the possibility exists that an inmate's disciplinary proceedings could be the subject of a criminal trial, the inmate is entitled to ""use immunity"" for statements he might make in the course of the prison hearing, and that he had a right to counsel. Palmigiano v. Baxter 487 F.2d 1280 (1st Cir. 1973). Following remand by the U.S. Supreme Court, Baxter v. Palmigiano, 418 U.S. 908 (1974), the 1st Circuit in a per curiam decision affirmed but modified the prior decision, Palmigiano v. Baxter 510 F.2d 534 (1st Cir. 1974). The case went up on appeal and was consolidated at the Supreme Court level with Clutchette v. Procunier, 510 F.2d 613 (9th Cir. 1974), PC-CA-031, which addressed similar due process violations in prison disciplinary procedures.
The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the both the first and ninth circuits. Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308 (1976). Writing for the majority, Justice White held that inmates do not have the right to retained counsel in disciplinary hearings; that permitting adverse inference to be drawn from an inmate's silence during a disciplinary hearing is not, of itself, an invalid practice; that mandating that inmates be able to confront or cross-examine witnesses unduly preempts prison officials' discretion; and that requiring that inmates have notice and opportunity to respond is premature where there is no evidence that the prison inmates were subject to loss of privileges as opposed to being charged with serious misconduct.
The docket in this case was not available on PACER, and accordingly, we do not have further information on the case. Denise Lieberman - 11/07/2005