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$2,225 Awarded for 3 Months Wrongful Segregation

$2,225 Awarded for 3 Months Wrongful Segregation

A New York state prisoner who claimed he was wrongfully kept in segregation for 89 days was awarded $2,225 by a New York Court of Claims judge in May 2012. The amount represented $25.00 for each day Tyrone Rivers was kept in lockup.

The confinement stemmed from an altercation in the chow hall at the Elmira Correctional Facility when Rivers was attacked by another prisoner. Rivers claimed to have covered up and protected himself and did not fight back. However, when he requested a videotape of the incident two days later, he was told it no longer existed.

Rivers was infracted for the attack, and he requested several staff and prisoner witnesses. On the day of the disciplinary hearing, though, Rivers claimed that guards refused to allow him to attend it.

Rivers' infraction was overturned 82 days later, based on Rivers' assertion that he was denied his right to attend his hearing. He was not released from segregation for another week.

Under New York law, in order to prevail on a claim of wrongful confinement, a claimant must only show that the defendant intended to confine him, and that the confinement was not consensual nor otherwise privileged, i.e., legally justified. Finding that Rivers had "established all the elements of a cause of action for wrongful confinement," the court entered judgment in his favor in what the court characterized as a "unique case."

Rivers represented himself pro se in his lawsuit. See: Rivers v. The State of New York (NY Court of Claims) No. 2012-044-010, Claim No. 12071 (May 15, 2012).

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Related legal case

Rivers v. State of New York