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

Alaska Prisoner’s Action to Overturn DR Not Moot if Relief Sought Greater than Obtained

By David M. Reutter

The Alaska Supreme Court has held that a prisoner’s action to reverse a disciplinary charge is not moot where the relief sought is greater than that afforded by prison officials.

Before the Court was the appeal of Alaska prisoner Henry J. Bauer, who received a disciplinary charge of disobeying an order in December 2005 for refusing to clean up a blood spill. Bauer, who was a member of the prison’s bio-hazard cleaning crew, refused to clean the spill because safety protocol required that cleaning be completed by two trained crew members.

Guards made a trainee available but Bauer refused to violate his training, saying the order was illegal because he was being forced into unsafe conditions. A hearing officer concluded Bauer was requesting the help of a third person and he imposed 30 days segregation, which was reduced to 15 days by the warden, after finding Bauer guilty.

Bauer contended his right to call and confront witnesses was violated at the hearing. He had been appointed a hearing advisor, who was advised of witnesses but did not request their presence; instead, he summarized their interviews at the hearing.

The Superior Court hearing Bauer’s action ordered a rehearing on the disciplinary charge. The Alaska Department of Corrections moved to dismiss the action as moot after it reduced the infraction as informational. Appealing that dismissal ordered, Bauer argued that if he was found not guilty at the rehearing he would be entitled to have all references removed from his prison file. The Alaska Supreme Court held the action was not moot it this was true, remanding for determination of the relief Bauer could obtain on rehearing. See: Bauer v. Alaska, 193 P.3d 1180 (Alaska 2008).

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

Bauer v. Alaska