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HILLIARD v. SCULLY

December 4, 1986

OTIS HILLIARD, Plaintiff,
v.
CHARLES SCULLY, HAROLD J. SMITH, JOHN B. WONG, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SPRIZZO

OPINION AND ORDER

SPRIZZO, D.J.:

 Plaintiff pro se1 brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking declaratory and injunctive relief as well as money damages against the following defendants: Charles Scully, Superintendent of Green Haven Correctional Facility ("Green Haven"); Harold J. Smith, Superintendent of Attica Correctional Facility ("Attica"); Officer R. Dore, a corrections officer at Green Haven; *fn2" and John B. Wong, the former Correctional Rehabilitation Program Coordinator at Green Haven. The Court has previously issued an Opinion and Order in this action denying plaintiff's motions for summary judgment, leave to file a supplemental complaint, and jury trial, and denying defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment. See Hilliard v. Scully, 537 F. Supp. 1084 (1982); see also Hilliard v. Scully, slip op. (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 29, 1982) (denying plaintiff's subsequent motion for leave to file a supplemental complaint.) *fn3" The Court has held a bench trial in this action and has received post-trial memoranda from the parties. The following constitutes the Court's findings of facts and conclusions of law pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 52.

 BACKGROUND

 On February 1, 1981 there was a fire in the cell of an inmate named Flowers, who was then incarcerated at Green Haven. On the same day, corrections officer Dore filled out an "Inmate Misbehavior Report" against the plaintiff. See Def. Ex. A-3. According to the report, the plaintiff and another inmate, Thompson, were suspected of arson in connection with the fire in Flower's cell. The plaintiff was given the report on February 1, and placed in a special housing unit ("SHU") *fn4" pending an investigation of the charges. See id.; Trial Transcript ("Tr.") at 13-14.

 On February 2, 1981, plaintiff appeared before the adjustment committee. *fn5" See Tr. at 15. Although plaintiff denied the charges at the adjustment committee interview, the adjustment committee, after reviewing the available evidence, recommended that a superintendent's hearing be held. See Def. Ex. A-4. Plaintiff was informed of the adjustment committee's disposition and plaintiff remained in the SHU.

 A formal charge *fn6" was then prepared by corrections officer Egger on February 4, 1981 and Sergeant Holt served the plaintiff with the charge on the next day. See Def. Ex. A-6; Tr. 44, 110. The charge read as follows:

 INVOLUNTARY PROTECTION STATUS

 On February 1, 1981 at approximately 7:50 a.m. a fire was deliberately set in cell B-1-112 which belongs to inmate Flowers 76A-2565. From information received through investigation and from a confidential source you have been identified as one of the inmates responsible for this fire. Further information indicates that you have also been involved in an extortion ring within the facility.

 Based on the above the administration has recommended that you be placed in involuntary protection status for the safety and security of the facility.

 See Def. Ex. A-6.

 When Sergeant Holt served the formal charge, he asked plaintiff if he needed investigatory assistance in his defense of the charge. *fn7" See Tr. at 111. Plaintiff indicated that he wanted corrections counselor Stanulwich to assist him. See id. The next day, on February 6, Stanulwich went to the SHU and interviewed the plaintiff. During the interview, however, the plaintiff claimed that he did not need any assistance and that he did not want Stanulwich to interview any witnesses. See Tr. at 116.

 The defendant Wong conducted plaintiff's first superintendent's hearing on February 11, 1981. See Tr. 15, 125. At that hearing, the plaintiff again denied that he was involved in the fire and requested that Wong interview an inmate named Carlos Dade. See Tr. at 125. Wong then adjourned the hearing so that he could conduct the requested interview. In addition to interviewing Dade, Wong also interviewed the following people: Officer Dore, who was in the prison area when the fire started; Sergeant Cheers, the sergeant in charge of evacuating the prisoners during the fire; Flowers, whose cell was set on fire; and an inmate named Thomas, who was implicated along with the plaintiff as being involved in the alleged arson and the extortion ring. See Tr. at 124-26; Def. Ex. A-8.

 Wong testified at trial that, as a result of his investigation, he believed the fire in Flower's cell was caused by arson. See Tr. at 125, 150-51. Wong testified that, while neither Sergeant Cheers nor Officer Dore claimed to have any personal knowledge with respect to who set the fire, both officers told Wong that other inmates had accused Thomas and the plaintiff of the arson. See id. at 128, 139. Moreover, Wong testified that his investigation revealed that the three inmates, the ...


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