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S.Ct. Grants Review in Prison Disciplinary Case

On October 7, 1994, the US Supreme Court announced that it had granted certiori in Sandin v. Conner, Case No. 93-1911. The case involves a Hawaii state prisoner who was infracted and found guilty of praying in Arabic. The district court dismissed the case and the court of appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part at 994 F.2d 1408 (9th Cir. 1993), See: PLN, Vol 4, No. 12. The ninth circuit reheard the case and concluded that Hawaii prison rules create a liberty interest for prisoners to remain free from disciplinary segregation. The rules also require "substantial evidence" before a prisoner can be found guilty of an offense. It then held that prison officials had violated Conner's rights by denying his requests for witnesses at the disciplinary hearing. It also held prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity for their actions. See: Conner v. Sakai, 15 F.3d 1463 (9th Cir. 1994); PLN, Vol 5, No. 7.

The prison official defendants in the case appealed to the supreme court. The question which the supreme court will rule on is: "Does maximum security state prison inmate who is not subject to loss of good time credit or to any necessary impact on parole, but who `may be' subjected to disciplinary segregation for violation of prison rules, have `liberty interest' in avoiding disciplinary segregation solely because state prison disciplinary rules require disciplinary committee to find `substantial evidence' of rule infraction before deciding whether and to what extent to order inmate segregated?"

It is interesting to note that with its docket at the lowest it has been in more than 40 years, the supreme court will hear at least two prison and one parole case this term, compared with only one prison case last term. PLN reports all supreme court decisions affecting prison litigation.

Related legal case

Sandin v. Conner

SANDIN v. CONNER (10/07/94)

[1] SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES


[2] No. 93-1911


[3] 1994; 115 S. Ct. 305, 130 L. Ed. 2d 217, 63 U.S.L.W. 3291


[4] decided: October 7, 1994.


[5] SANDIN, CINDA
v.
CONNER, DEMONT, ET AL.


[6] U.S.C.A. 9th Cir.


[7] Rehnquist, Stevens, O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer.


[8] The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted limited to Question 1 presented by the petition. The brief of petitioner is to be filed with the Clerk and served upon opposing counsel on or before 3 p.m., Wednesday, November 16, 1994. Briefs of respondents are to be filed with the Clerk and served upon opposing counsel on or before 3 p.m., Tuesday, December 13, 1994. A reply brief, if any, is to be filed with the Clerk and served upon opposing counsel on or before 3 p.m., Thursday, December 29, 1994. Rule 29.2 does not apply.


[9] Disposition


[10] Certiorari granted.

 

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Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual

 



 

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Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual