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Prison Strip and Pat Searches Upheld

The plaintiff's conclusory claim of retaliation for filing grievances and lawsuits are dismissed. Prison officials may not retaliate against prisoners for exercising their constitutional rights, but such claims must be viewed with skepticism and care because they are prone to abuse and can be easily fabricated. Prisoners bear a heightened burden of proof.

Summary judgment is granted to defendants on the plaintiff's claim that he was subjected to excessive force during a strip search. His medical records showed an abrasion to his shoulder and a minor laceration of his finger. His claim that the medical records are incomplete is rejected in view of his contradictory statements about his injuries and how he got them. At 470: "... [W]hen the facts alleged are so contradictory that doubt is cast on their plausibility, I am authorized to 'pierce the veil of the complain's factual allegations,' dispose of '[s]ome improbable allegations,' and dismiss the claim. Denton v. Hernandez..." Kicking an inmate's feet is not to be condoned but is de minimis force.

The plaintiff's challenge to his disciplinary convictions is rejected under Edwards v. Balisok because his allegations necessarily imply the invalidity of the proceedings. He did not lose good time. Apparently the applicability of Balisok to punitive segregation was not disputed by this pro se litigant.

The plaintiff's claim about a pat frisk is rejected because the relevant consent judgment, Hurley v. Ward, did not address pat frisks, and violations of state regulations do not establish constitutional violations.

At 473: "Strip frisks pass constitutional muster, even if the strip frisk is conducted without probable cause, so long as the search is reasonable and not abusive." The allegation that a strip frisk violated a tenet of the plaintiff's religion adds nothing to his claim. The search was consistent with the relevant consent decree and with the way other prisoners are treated.

Loss of the plaintiff's eyeglasses did not state a constitutional claim because New York provides an adequate post-deprivation remedy in the Court of Claims.

Racial slurs and threats do not violate the Constitution. At 475: "Under certain circumstances, the intentional infliction of psychological pain may constitute an Eighth Amendment violation, so long as the pain is not de minimus." Racial slurs don't rise to that level. See: Aziz Zarif Shabazz v. Pico, 994 F.Supp. 460 (S.D.N.Y. 1998).

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Related legal case

Aziz Zarif Shabazz v. Pico