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

Failure to File Disciplinary Rules with Correct Agency Does Not Violate Due Process

Failure to File Disciplinary Rules With Correct Agency Does Not Violate Due Process

The court of appeals for the Second circuit held that the failure by New York prison officials to file prison disciplinary rules with the New York secretary of state, as required by state law, did not violate the federal due process rights of prisoners who were later infracted and punished under the rules. The court notes that the New York state courts had reached the opposite conclusions and held that the failure to file the rules with the secretary of state did violate due process. See: Laboy v. Coughlin, 822 F.2d 3 (2nd Cir. 1987).

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

Related legal case

Laboy v. Coughlin

Laboy v. Coughlin, 822 F.2d 3 (2nd Cir. 06/23/1987)


[2] No. 86-2455

[3] 1987, 822 F.2d 3

[4] decided: June 23, 1987.


[6] New York State prisoner appeals from decision of Michael A. Telesca, J., of the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, dismissing his compliant for failure to state claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Complaint alleged that prison officials violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights by disciplining him under regulations not filed with New York Secretary of State. Affirmed.

[7] Ivan LaBoy, pro se, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

[8] Before: FEINBERG, Chief Judge, LUMBARD and NEWMAN, Circuit Judges.

[9] Per Curiam:

[10] Ivan LaBoy, a prisoner at the Clinton Correctional Facility, appeals from a decision of Michael A. Telesca, J., of the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, dismissing his compliant sua sponte. In his memorandum opinion, the judge relied upon his own recent opinion in another case on the issue raised by LaBoy. See McNear v. Coughlin, 643 F. Supp. 566, 568-69 (W.D.N.Y. 1986). LaBoy filed his complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Thomas Coughlin, Commissioner of Correctional Services, and various correction officers violated his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights when they took disciplinary actions against him in 1984 and 1985 while he was incarcerated at Elmira Correctional Facility.

[11] In his complaint, LaBoy contends that the disciplinary proceedings against him were conducted under regulations that had not been filed with the New York Secretary of State, in violation of New York Executive Law § 102. The New York Court of Appeals recently held that it is unconstitutional to discipline a prisoner pursuant to regulations that had not been filed. See Jones v. Smith, 64 N.Y.2d 1003, 489 N.Y.S.2d 50, 478 N.E.2d 191 (1985); see also New York ex rel. Roides v. Smith, 67 N.Y.2d 899, 501 N.Y.S.2d 805, 492 N.E.2d 1221 (1986). The court in Jones apparently relied on both the federal and the state constitutions, though it did not elaborate on the federal basis for LaBoy's claim. 64 N.Y.2d at 1005. The New York court's ruling on the federal constitutional question is of course not controlling on us.

[12] In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Laboy must allege a violation of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution of laws of the United States. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535, 68 L. Ed. 2d 420, 101 S. Ct. 1908 (1981). Here, Laboy's only claim of a federal due process violations is defendant's alleged failure to file the regulations. He does not allege that the disciplinary proceedings were otherwise inadequate. See generally Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 472-78, 74 L. Ed. 2d 675, 103 S. Ct. 864 (1983); Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 558-72, 41 L. Ed. 2d 935, 94 S. Ct. 2963 (1974). Moreover, LaBoy does not allege that he was not given notice of the regulations. Since New York Correction Law § 138(2) requires distribution of prison rules and regulations to all inmates, we are entitled to assume that the law was followed in the absence of a claim of noncompliance. Under these circumstances, we hold that LaBoy has failed to assert a violation of a federal due process right. Defendants' obligation to file the regulations with the New York Secretary of State is a procedural requirement solely of state law. We find no federal authority for holding that such filing is a requirement of federal due process. It therefore was not improper for the district court to dismiss LaBoy's complaint.

[13] Judgment affirmed.