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Drayton v. Robinson

decided: October 17, 1983.

DRAYTON, JAMES, BANNER, JAMES
v.
ROBINSON, WILLIAM B., DERAMUS, ERSKIND PATTON, ERNEST, PETSOCK, GEORGE, BELL, HARVEY, PALAKOVICH, JOHN, LANGLAND, HARRY, MARKS, RONALD; WILLIAM B. ROBINSON, ERSKIND DERAMUS, ERNEST PATTON, GEORGE PETSOCK, RONALD MARKS, HARVEY BELL AND JOHN PALAKOVICH, APPELLANTS IN NO. 82-3006; DRAYTON, JAMES, BANNER, JAMES V. ROBINSON, WILLIAM B., DERAMUS, ERSKIND, PATTON, ERNEST, PETSOCK, GEORGE, BELL, HARVEY, PALAKOVICH, JOHN, LANGLAND, HARRY, MARKS, RONALD, WILLIAM B. ROBINSON, ERSKIND, DERAMUS, ERNEST PATTON, GEORGE PETSOCK, RONALD MARKS, HARVEY BELL, AND JOHN PALAKOVICH, APPELLANTS IN NO. 82-3205



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (Scranton).

Aldisert and Becker, Circuit Judges, and Pollak, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Aldisert

Opinion OF THE COURT

ALDISERT, Circuit Judge.

This appeal by Pennsylvania state correctional officials from an adverse jury verdict presents two interrelated questions: whether state regulations give appellee Drayton, a state prison inmate, a protected liberty interest in remaining in the general prison population rather than being placed in segregated confinement; and, if so, whether the actions of the defendants, in placing Drayton in administrative custody, met the requirements of due process? The district court, 519 F. Supp. 545, determined that Drayton had a protected liberty interest and that defendants' actions deprived him of that interest without due process of law. We conclude that the Supreme Court's intervening decision in Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 51 U.S.L.W. 4124, 103 S. Ct. 864, 74 L. Ed. 2d 675 (1983), requires that we vacate the judgment entered below and remand these proceedings to the district court for reconsideraton of its due process determination.

I.

The disposition of this case turns, in part, on the interpretation and effect of two Pennsylvania Bureau of Correction regulations: "Administrative Directive 801" (Directive) and "Administrative Memorandum -- HVA Cases" (Memorandum). We first will analyze those regulations and then address the substance of the present appeal.

A.

The Directive governs the placement of inmates into Administrative or Disciplinary Custody -- progressively more restrictive prison housing situations that involve the transfer of an inmate from the general prison population to either segregated or solitary confinement. We are concerned here with Administrative Custody, the less restrictive form of segregated confinement. Segregation into Administrative Custody is allowed, if the inmate: (1) is suspected of committing a Class 1 Misconduct (i.e., murder, manslaughter, attempted escape, etc.), (2) is under investigative status because the prison officials believe he poses a threat to the internal security of the institution, of (3) requests such confinement.

Here, Drayton was placed into Administrative Custody on the suspicion that he posed a threat to the internal security of the prison. In such circumstances, the Directive provides that prison officials may, " depending on the situation and the need for control," immediately place an inmate in Administrative Custody for up to ten days while they conduct an investigation. However, before the confinement may be continued beyond the ten days a hearing must be held. Accordingly, the Directive requires that: (1) the inmate receive a hearing conducted by the prison's Hearing Committee; (2) the inmate be given at least 24 hours advance written notice of the hearing and that the hearing be held no later than six days thereafter; (3) if the inmate so chooses, the hearing be quasi-adversarial with the inmate allowed to call witnesses, question the staff, and be represented by "jailhouse" counsel; and (4) the inmate be provided with a written report describing the Hearing Committee's recommendations and the rationale therefore. Further, an adverse decision from the Hearing Committee may be appealed by the inmate to the prison's Program Review Committee.

B.

By contrast with the Directive, the Memorandum governs the handling of inmates who are being held in the prison at the request of some other authorities. These HVA (Hold for Various Authorities) inmates are usually at the state prison on transfer from other jails, and may be held for a variety of reasons. The Memorandum is considerably less detailed than the Directive and provides only that "HVA cases received as medical transfers shall be placed in the hospital or infirmary. All other HVA cases shall, upon reception, be placed in Administrative Custody pending a formal hearing to determine appropriate housing. . . . The formal hearing shall be held as prescribed in [the Directive]." It is against the backdrop of these regulations that we examine the facts in this case.

II.

Appellee Drayton was transferred from the Dauphin County Jail, to the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill on March 27, 1979, while he was awaiting trial for murder. His transfer form indicated that he was being sent to Camp Hill for medical treatment, and that he should "be housed in a maximum security cell [and] . . . be considered extremely dangerous." He was immediately placed in the Camp Hill hospital and received a prompt hearing to determine his "permanent" housing classification. Because his transfer form characterized Drayton as a security problem the Hearing Committee decided to place him in Administrative Custody until such time as he was called for trial. The record does not indicate, nor does the state contend, that Drayton was given ...


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