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Case Name Palmigiano v. Baxter PC-RI-0007
Docket / Court 73-1088 ( D.R.I. )
State/Territory Rhode Island
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
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, ... read more >
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

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Disciplinary procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI)
Plaintiff Description Prison inmate seeking damages and declaratory and injunctive relief to redress certain alleged deprivations of procedural due process in the administration of discipline at state adult correctional institutions
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se Unknown
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Unknown
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 1973
Case Closing Year 1976
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PC-RI-0001 : Palmigiano v. Garrahy (D.R.I.)
PC-CA-0031 : Clutchette v. Procunier (N.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

  The Oyez Project, Baxter v Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308 (1976)
Date: Apr. 20, 1976
By: Oyez Project (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion (487 F.2d 1280)
PC-RI-0007-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/16/1973
Source: Google Scholar
Ruling on Petition for Writ of Certiorari (418 U.S. 908)
PC-RI-0007-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/08/1974
Source: Westlaw
On Reconsideration After Remand (510 F.2d 534)
PC-RI-0007-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/20/1974
Source: Google Scholar
Supreme Court Opinion (421 U.S. 1010)
PC-RI-0007-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/09/1975
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (425 U.S. 308)
PC-RI-0007-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/20/1976
Source: Westlaw
Judges Campbell, John Archibald (SCOTUS)
Coffin, Frank Morey (First Circuit)
PC-RI-0007-0001 | PC-RI-0007-0002
McEntee, Edward Matthew (First Circuit)
White, Byron Raymond (SCOTUS)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fortunato, Stephen J. Jr. (Rhode Island)
PC-RI-0007-0001 | PC-RI-0007-0002
Katz, Ellen (Massachusetts)
PC-RI-0007-0001 | PC-RI-0007-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Allen, W. Slater Jr. (Rhode Island)
PC-RI-0007-0001 | PC-RI-0007-0002
Israel, Richard J. (Rhode Island)
PC-RI-0007-0001 | PC-RI-0007-0002
Other Lawyers Bass, Stanley A. (New York)
PC-RI-0007-0001 | PC-RI-0007-0002
Coen, Cary J. (Rhode Island)
PC-RI-0007-0001 | PC-RI-0007-0002
Roney, John M. (Rhode Island)
PC-RI-0007-0001 | PC-RI-0007-0002
Stern, Max D. (Massachusetts)
PC-RI-0007-0001 | PC-RI-0007-0002

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