Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Uncooperative Prisoner Removed From Disciplinary Hearing

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a state prisoner who is
recalcitrant to disciplinary hearing formalities may be removed from a
prison disciplinary hearing without violating his rights.

Freddie Battle, a Florida state prisoner, was found to be in possession of
loose coupons by a guard, which was considered to be contraband. The guard
subsequently filed a disciplinary report charging Battle with possession
of the contraband. The prison's investigator investigated the incident.
Prior to the hearing Battle refused staff assistance in response to the
charge against him, but did request three prisoners as witnesses.
Statements were taken from the prisoners. Battle also prepared a written
statement. The charging officer submitted an affidavit as to why he wrote
the disciplinary report.

Seven days after the disciplinary report was written, a hearing was held.
At an early stage of the hearing Battle was removed. An incident report
was executed as to why he was removed from the hearing. During the hearing
Battle was asked to state his name and number. The hearing officer asked
again and Battle gave his name but refused to give his number. Battle was
then removed from the hearing based on his recalcitrant behavior aimed at
interfering with the hearing. He was then found guilty of the disciplinary

Battle filed suit under 42 USC §1983 in Florida's Middle District against
prison officials. He alleged that he was denied his Fifth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights as a result of his removal from the disciplinary hearing.
He asserted that he had a right against self-incrimination when he was
penalized for not giving his name and number, that he had a right to due
process, and that his removal from the hearing and the hearing officer's
failure to consider his written statement as a part of the evidence
violated his rights. Defendants were granted a motion for summary judgment
and Battle appealed.

The Eleventh Circuit held that the hearing officer's removal of Battle was
logically related to a valid correctional goal. The appellate court used
Smith v. Massachusetts, 936 F.2d 1390, 1399 (1st Cir. 1991), which defined
that due process is met "so long as the reasons for depriving [a prisoner]
of his rights are logically related to institutional safety or
correctional goals." The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's
grant of summary judgment. See: Battle v. Barton, 970 F.2d 779 (11th Cir.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login