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NY Prisoner’s Appeal of Prison Disciplinary Action on Grounds of Mental Illness Shot Down

On an undisclosed date, Samuel Higgins, a New York state prisoner was found guilty of fighting and causing a disturbance at a prison disciplinary hearing. His defense was that he was suffering a breakdown at the time of the fight, which availed him nothing. He appealed.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals of New York recognized that a mental illness defense could mitigate or excuse conduct resulting in a prison disciplinary proceeding, even though there was no authority expressly saying so. Regardless, the Court found that the hearing officer didn’t inappropriately reject that defense in this case. The appeal was therefore dismissed. See: In the Matter of Higgins v. Coughlin, 155 AD.2d 844; 76 N.Y.2d 904; 563 N.E.2d 281; 561 N.Y.2d 910 (1990).

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Related legal case

In the Matter of Higgins v. Coughlin