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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA EX REL CLARENCE V. SAUNDERS v. J. SHANE CREAMER (11/28/73)

decided: November 28, 1973.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA EX REL: CLARENCE V. SAUNDERS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
J. SHANE CREAMER, ATTORNEY GENERAL, COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, ROBERT L. JOHNSON, SUPERINTENDENT, STATE CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, WALTER T. SMITH, DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT, AND THOMAS STACHELEK, CORRECTIONAL COUNSEL, DEFENDANTS



Original jurisdiction in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ex rel. Clarence V. Saunders v. J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, Robert L. Johnson, Superintendent, State Correctional Institution at Graterford, Walter T. Smith, Deputy Superintendent, and Thomas Stachelek, Correctional Counselor.

COUNSEL

Michael D. Fioretti, for plaintiff.

J. Andrew Smyser, Deputy Attorney General, with him Israel Packel, Attorney General, for defendants.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 161]

This case is before us on preliminary objections to the complaint of the plaintiff Clarence V. Saunders (Saunders), an inmate resident at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford. The defendants include the Attorney General (then in office), and several

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 162]

    employees of the Bureau of Correction namely the Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, and a Counselor. Saunders has alleged that the defendants conspired together and individually acted to deprive him of his rights to rehabilitative treatment, thereby violating the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.

In reviewing preliminary objections, raised here by way of a demurrer and alternately by a motion for a more specific pleading, we must follow the well established rule that preliminary objections admit as true all facts which are well and clearly pleaded, even though not admitting the pleader's conclusions or averments of law. Williams v. Board of Probation and Parole, 2 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 312 (1971). Furthermore, since the plaintiff is a prisoner who has proceeded pro se, we recognize that he should be held to less stringent standards than those applied to the formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 92 S. Ct. 594, 30 L. Ed. 2d 652 (1972).

Although we have afforded to the plaintiff a more lenient standard, we find that his motion for judgment on the pleadings must be denied and that the preliminary objections of the defendants must be sustained.

The well-pleaded factual averments disclose that Saunders had an excellent conduct record at the prison but was denied entrance into the Community Treatment Program upon his first application; his further applications were ignored while 81 other residents with less seniority were admitted to the program. On several occasions his requests for furlough were refused. Thereafter, he was denied a hearing by the office of the Attorney General on his "complaint" concerning the discriminatory administration of the Community Treatment and Furlough programs.

The plaintiff's prayer for relief includes claims for actual damages, punitive damages, a ...


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