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WATKINS v. JOHNSON

May 14, 1974

KENNETH X. WATKINS, a/k/a ANTHONY JACKSON
v.
ROBERT L. JOHNSON, Superintendent, State Correctional Institution, Graterford, Pennsylvania


Higginbotham, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: HIGGINBOTHAM

MEMORANDUM OPINION

HIGGINBOTHAM, District Judge.

 Unlike so many actions brought under Section 1983, *fn1" we are not here confronted with a factual milieu dissimilar to recently decided cases. Plaintiff is an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, Pennsylvania. He claims that the circumstances of his transfer from the general prison population to administrative segregation after his arrest and arraignment on two counts of conspiracy, two counts of assault by a prisoner, and two counts of assault and battery did not comport with the minimal standard of fairness which is the desideratum of Fourteenth Amendment Due Process. Additionally, he argues that the conditions under which he was confined constitute the infliction of Cruel and Unusual Punishments prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff's factual allegations, on at least a conclusory level, are of the same magnitude as those raised before Judge Davis in the case of Ford v. Sielaff, Civ. No. 72-2244 (E.D. Pa., February 22, 1973) aff'd 491 F.2d 749, No. 73-1325 (3d Cir., February 20, 1974) and of equal significance the case appears to have arisen from the same disturbance, in the same prison, and to have involved many of the same individuals who were involved in Ford. While I am fully sensitive to the close and liberal scrutiny which the Court of Appeals of this Circuit requires in behalf of prisoners' allegations, in this instance plaintiff is far short of the minimum showing required to defeat defendant's motion for summary judgment.

 I.

 The instant litigation arises out of a violent prison disturbance on July 27, 1972 involving a number of inmates at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, Pennsylvania. During the disturbance several inmates were stabbed and beaten, and the plaintiff, Anthony Jackson, was identified as one of the perpetrators of the attack as well as an aggressor in the ensuing fray. After an investigation of the incident by the Pennsylvania State Police, Jackson and seventeen other inmates were arrested on criminal charges. The arrest warrants were executed on September 14, 1972, and all eighteen men were arraigned before a magistrate to answer criminal charges. Following the arraignment but on that same day, twelve of the eighteen men were transferred from Graterford to other institutions, and the remaining six were returned to Graterford where they were confined in maximum security one-man administrative detention cells. Anthony Jackson was one of the six men.

 The defendant, Superintendent of Graterford Robert L. Johnson, explained the reason for the confinement of Jackson in his affidavit. He states:

 
". . . Anthony Jackson was segregated from the general population pursuant to institution policy which requires that the perpetrators of an attack on other inmates are segregated for the safety of the victims of the original attack, as well as the safety of the perpetrators who might be targets of retaliation by the victims of the original attack. This procedure is effective upon identification of the perpetrators of an attack upon other inmates. In this case the identification was made by Pennsyvania State Police on or about September 14, 1972." *fn2"

 On September 21, 1972, one week after the beginning of his confinement in administrative segregation, Jackson was brought before a District Justice of the Peace in Montgomery County for a preliminary hearing. At the conclusion of this hearing, the judge ruled that Jackson was to be held over for trial on charges of assault by a prisoner, assault and battery, and conspiracy.

 Jackson remained in administrative detention a total of eighty-five days. During that period on October 19, 1972, Jackson notified Superintendent Johnson by an Inmate's Request to Staff Member that he believed his constitutional rights were being violated. Four days later on October 23, 1972, Johnson responded, informing Jackson that he was being segregated for administrative purposes because he had been charged with a serious offense against another resident of the institution. On December 7, 1972, Jackson was removed from administrative segregation.

 Plaintiff brings the present damage action under the 1871 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. The defendant has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment relying upon affidavits and exhibits. The plaintiff has filed a memorandum in opposition to the motion and also submits affidavits, defendant's answers to interrogatories, and other exhibits. At the present juncture of the case plaintiff asserts two legal theories:

 1. That Johnson's decision to place him in administrative segregation was not reached through procedures conforming to Fourteenth Amendment Due Process standards; and

 2. That the conditions of his confinement violated the Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment proscription against the infliction of Cruel and Unusual Punishments.

 II.

 In defense to plaintiff's due process claim, defendant relies primarily upon the case of Ford v. Sielaff, supra, as decisive and compelling precedent for granting his summary judgment motion on the present record. Albert Ford was also one of the eighteen inmates arrested and arraigned September 14, 1972 on criminal charges arising from the July 27th disturbance at Graterford. *fn3" Similarly, Ford was returned to Graterford and confined in the administrative detention gallery after his arraignment. Ford filed his Section 1983 damage action against the Commissioner of the Bureau of Corrections, Allyn R. Sielaff, and Robert L. Johnson as Superintendent of Graterford; he raised the constitutional due process issue in his complaint and cited the same authority presently relied upon by Jackson. Defendants filed summary judgment motions in which the affidavit of Superintendent Johnson stated the same prison policy for Ford's ...


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