the defendants' concern for the security of the institution during those four days. True enough, the cell searches had been completed, the murderer apprehended and the guards had returned to duty, but we believe that four days was not an inordinate length of time to continue the lockup to ensure that the institution had returned to normalcy. A maximum security prison is such a volatile institution, that we think a confinement of this duration is not one that should be subject to searching constitutional scrutiny where there exists a rational basis for it. Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners' Union, supra at 4824. The defendants' response to the exigencies of the situation was not so exaggerated as to warrant judicial interference with the judgment of prison administrators on how best to run their prison. Just as the prisoners have a reasonable expectation to a modicum of freedom during uneventful periods in their imprisonment, so also must they expect that their limited freedom will be curtailed not only during times of indisputable crises but also for reasonable periods thereafter as a precautionary measure.
The plaintiffs' claim with respect to the January 1974 lockup fares no better. This was the first lockup in recent history at Graterford that was not prompted by any particular incident that could be construed as a threat to security. The sole purpose of this four-day lockup was to conduct a cell-to-cell search for weapons and contraband. The purpose was clearly a legitimate one, particularly in view of the September murder and the prison guards' insistence on more frequent cell searches. Moreover, regulations promulgated by Bureau of Corrections in April 1973 imposed upon the warden a duty periodically to search inmates and their cells for contraband. 37 Pa. Code § 95.241(a)(4). Given this authority, it is for the prison officials to decide whether or not the search should be conducted during a prison-wide lockup or whether some less restrictive means is appropriate.
The plaintiffs also contend that the Fourteenth Amendment required the prison officials to afford them certain minimal procedural protection both prior to and during the continuation of the lockup. In resolving this claim, Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 47 L. Ed. 2d 18, 96 S. Ct. 893 (1975), requires us to consider three factors: (1) the private interest at stake; (2) the risk of erroneous deprivation involved in the use of challenged procedures and the probable value of additional safeguards; and (3) the Government interest, taking account of the Government function involved and the administrative burdens that additional safeguards would entail. Id., at 335.
Applying these standards to the prison lockup situation, plaintiffs claim to any procedural safeguards is without merit. There is to be sure, a measurable private interest at stake. Prisoners at Graterford had a reasonable expectation that they would have generally free movement within the prison, meals in a dining hall, an exercise period daily and the like. As a result of the lockup their meager life-style was significantly cramped. But this interest of the inmate hardly compares to other prisoner rights that have been deemed to require the protection of various procedural devices under the rubric of procedural due process. E.g., Wolff v. McDonnell, supra (the prisoners' loss of accumulated good time credits); Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 33 L. Ed. 2d 484, 92 S. Ct. 2593 (1972) (revocation of parole). More importantly, the value of any procedural device is problematical, at best. Plaintiffs suggest that inmates be given an opportunity to object to the initiation of a lockup soon after it is begun and periodically during its continuation. They suggest that inmates could elect delegates to represent their views before a review panel consisting of a correctional officer, an inmate representative and a neutral third party. In the alternative, they suggest that neutral observers be permitted access to the inmates to ascertain and later present inmates' views to the prison officials. As a third device they suggest that counsel be appointed to represent the inmates' views before the prison authorities. Putting aside for the moment the state's interest in not being shackled to rigid formalities in administering general prison policy, it is hard to imagine how any of the suggested alternatives could cause prison administrators to reconsider their decision. If the decision to order a lockup was prompted by a particular situation deemed to be a threat to prison security, it is most doubtful that any showing by inmate representatives could cause a change of heart on the part of prison authorities. And if the lockup is one that is routinely initiated, for example, to conduct systematic cell searches for weapons or other contraband, the value of inmate participation in the decision is nil.
Finally, the state has an overwhelming interest in administering prison policy free of burdensome procedural entanglements. The task of properly operating a maximum security prison is an awesome one. On those occasions when an incident threatens the security of guards and inmates or where a disruption seems imminent, prison authorities must exercise their discretion swiftly and firmly to rectify the situation. And when, as a matter of routine prison policy, a cell search is deemed appropriate, it is for them to decide when to begin the search and how to conduct it, and inmate participation in the decision would be unworkable. Indeed, it could be argued that the key to an effective systematic cell search is unpredictable timing. If prisoners were given advance notice of the search for purposes of contesting it, contraband and weapons would no doubt be secreted outside the cells in many instances.
In sum, the prisoners' liberty interest is so small, the probable value of added safeguards so slight, and the legitimate state interest so overwhelming, that any liberty interest is outweighed entirely by the state need for discretion limited -- if at all -- only by after the fact adjudication of the substantive decision to order the lockup in the first place.
Lastly, we address the plaintiffs' claims with respect to the manner in which the cell searches were conducted. This claim has two aspects: first, it is contended that the cell searches were unreasonable searches and seizures; second, it is claimed that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires that the prison officials adopt certain procedural devices to ensure against arbitrary and unreasonable searches and seizures. In gauging the reasonableness of any government search or seizure, we must assess the citizen's reasonable expectation of privacy. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 356-57, 19 L. Ed. 2d 576, 88 S. Ct. 507 (1967). In Lanza v. New York, 370 U.S. 139, 143, 8 L. Ed. 2d 384, 82 S. Ct. 1218 (1962), the Supreme Court intimated that an inmate had no reasonable expectation of privacy in prison. Subsequent developments convince us, however, that prisoners do retain a residue of protected privacy interest that is shielded by the Fourth Amendment. Indeed in United States v. Edwards, 415 U.S. 800, 39 L. Ed. 2d 771, 94 S. Ct. 1234 (1974), in holding that no warrant was required to effect a search and seizure of an incarcerated arrestee some ten hours after the arrest, the Court noted in dicta that
"Holding the Warrant Clause inapplicable to the circumstances present here does not leave law enforcement officials subject to no restraints. This type of police conduct "must [still] be tested by the Fourth Amendment's general proscription against unreasonable searches and seizures." Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 20, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 20 L. Ed. 2d 889 (1968) . . . We . . . have no occasion to express a view concerning those circumstances surrounding custodial searches incident to incarceration which might "violate the dictates of reason either because of their number or their manner of perpetration. Charles v. United States, 278 F.2d 386, 389 (CA9), cert. denied, 364 U.S. 831, 5 L. Ed. 2d 59, 81 S. Ct. 46 (1960)." United States v. Edwards, supra at 808 n. 9.
Cases decided subsequent to Edwards, convince us that, like First Amendment rights, see Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 396, 40 L. Ed. 2d 224, 94 S. Ct. 1800 (1974) (freedom of speech); Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 31 L. Ed. 2d 263, 92 S. Ct. 1079 (1971) (per curiam) (freedom of religion), and Fourteenth Amendment rights, Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 41 L. Ed. 2d 935, 94 S. Ct. 2963 (1974) (procedural due process), Fourth Amendment rights are not completely extinguished by confinement in a penal institution.
We need not decide on this record the precise protection afforded by the Fourth Amendment to an inmate in a maximum security institution. It is enough to state that while on the one hand the prison authorities need not have probable cause to conduct a cell search, Bonner v. Coughlin, 517 F.2d 1311 (7th Cir. 1975) (Stevens, J.), a prisoner has a reasonable expectation that items of personal property which he legitimately possesses will not be wantonly destroyed or seized by prison guards absent some legitimate state interest in doing so. In this case there is evidence in the record that several items of personal property belonging to the plaintiffs were damaged during the cell searches. For example, various plaintiffs complain that legal papers, televisions, radios, pictures and eyeglasses were seized or damaged during the cell searches. In addition, several plaintiffs testified at their depositions that their cells were ransacked during the search and left in a state of complete disarray. Although prison authorities are free to conduct cell searches when they please and they have much discretion in determining how to conduct the searches, we believe that proof at trial that personal property lawfully possessed by plaintiffs was damaged or destroyed or that their cells were subjected to purposeful and unnecessary disruption, would establish a Fourth Amendment violation.
Plaintiffs also claim that some procedural protections governing the manner of conducting cell searches are required by the Fourteenth Amendment. It is stipulated by the parties that in conducting the systematic cell-to-cell search during the lockup, prison guards removed the prisoner from his cell, strip searched him, placed him in another cell from which he could not view his own cell and searched his cell for contraband. No written guidelines governed the procedure for cell searches, and no written records were kept which could have served to document the state's claim that contraband had been seized or the inmate's claim that personal property had been misappropriated. We intimate no view at the moment as to whether procedural due process mandates any procedure at all to prevent arbitrary searches and seizures, awaiting instead the plaintiffs' proof at trial of their underlying Fourth Amendment claim. In the event that they do carry their burden, we will consider the question anew in fashioning appropriate injunctive relief. For the foregoing reasons both parties' motions for summary judgment will be denied with respect to the cell search issues.
Daniel H. Huyett, 3rd / J.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following court-provided text does not appear at this cite in 436 F. Supp.]
NOW, June 30, 1977, upon consideration of the cross-motions for summary judgment and for the reasons set forth in the within Memorandum, IT IS ORDERED that:
1. With respect to the substantive due process claims, plaintiffs' motion is DENIED and defendants' motion is GRANTED.
2. With respect to the procedural due process claim, plaintiffs' motion is DENIED and defendants' motion is GRANTED.
3. With respect to the Fourth Amendment claim and the related procedural due process claim, both motions are DENIED.
Daniel H. Huyett, 3rd / J.
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