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Grandison v. Cuyler

October 10, 1985


On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (D.C. CIVIL NO. 82-2063).

Author: Gibbons

Before ADAMS, GIBBONS and WEIS, Circuit Judges.


GIBBONS, Circuit Judge:

Walter Grandison, an inmate in the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Graterford, appeals from the district court's entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, several prison officials, in an action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 (1982) for money damages and injunctive relief. He contends that he was confined to solitary confinement without due process of law. The gravamen of his complaint is that the actions of the defendant officials deprived him of the opportunity to prepare for and the opportunity to present the testimony of witnesses in a hearing on misconduct charges. The district court held that no due process violation occurred. Grandison v. Cuyler, 600 F. Supp. 967, 975 (E.D.Pa. 1984). We reverse.


At lunchtime, on January 24, 1982, a disturbance took place in cell block C at Graterford. According to the prison officials, this disturbance occurred when approximately fifty inmates armed themselves with weapons and assaulted officers. One prison official, Corrections Officer Horowitz, identified Grandison as having taken part. Grandison's affidavit in opposition to defendants' motion for summary judgment alleges that he was not a participant in the disturbance.

It is undisputed on the summary judgment record that on the afternoon of January 24, 1982, Grandison was withdrawn from the general prison population and confined to his cell. Thereafter, Horowitz filed a misconduct charge against Grandison, charging him with four class 1 infractions, which included: possession of or introduction of contraband or implements of escape; tampering with, destroying or damaging property; and rioting or inciting to riot.

On the following day, January 25, 1982, while he was still locked up in his cell and before he was shown a copy of Horowitz's charges, Officer Stokes visited Grandison and informed him that disciplinary charges had been filed against him, and that he would be permitted to choose an inmate representative to aid him in the disciplinary hearing on those charges. Stokes also informed Grandison that he could request that witnesses be called on his behalf. Grandison was presented with Pennsylvania Bureau of Corrections Form JBC-141D, entitled "Inmate Request for Representation and Witnesses". The form states:

You have been charged with a misconduct. You may request the assistance of any inmate of general population status or a staff member for the hearing. If you wish assistance state the name of the individual here.

Joint Appendix at 51. There is a single line for insertion of the name of the person desired for assistance. There is no indicated space for the inmate number of that person, and no indication of any requirement that such a number be furnished. On the form the name Calvin Johnson is inserted in block lettering, followed by the indication, in similar block lettering "# Unknown," and also the indication "M 2240." Below the line containing Calvin Johnson's name, in what appears to be different handwriting, is the indication "M 2240- was present." Form JBC-141D also contains a block captioned "This Section to be Completed by Inmate". Below the caption appears the designations, "Name of Witness", "Institution Number" and "Present at Scene?". Listed in this block is the name Charles Moore. In the column headed "Institution Number" appears a question mark, a number which is crossed out and illegible, and the number "M 2204". Id. Grandison signed the form.

From the face of the form it is impossible to tell when the number M 2204 was inserted. It is undisputed that Grandison told Stokes he wanted to call inmate Charles Moore as a witness, that he did not know Moore's number, but that he believed it might be M 2204. It is also undisputed that Grandison was informed by Stokes that a failure to sign the form on January 25, 1984 would constitute a waiver of his right to call witnesses.

The following morning, Grandison was moved to solitary confinement. Slightly more than three hours after being so confined, he was for the first time given a copy of the misconduct charge filed by Officer Horowitz. Three days later a hearing was scheduled on that charge. In the interim, neither Grandison nor Johnson, the designated inmate assistant, was permitted to speak with Charles Moore. Moreover, Johnson was afforded only five minutes with Grandison to prepare for the hearing.

Grandison's uncontested affidavit establishes that at the hearing he and Johnson learned for the first time that Moore would not be present. Both protested, but were advised that an inmate with the number M 2204, one Randy Griffith, had been transferred out of Graterford in July of 1979, approximately two and one-half years prior to the January 24, 1984 incident. It is undisputed, however, that Charles ...

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