report through the District Attorney within 90 days what investigative efforts have been, are being, or will be made and what remedial measures have been, are being, or will be taken as a result of the findings discussed above concerning beatings of petitioner in the Rockland County Jail. While this report doubtless must to some extent describe measures initiated prior to the date of this memorandum order as background, the focus of my request is not for an accounting of what has been done, but for a statement of what additional steps are or will be initiated.
The prophylactic purpose of the exclusionary rule was reaffirmed in Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465, 486, 49 L. Ed. 2d 1067, 96 S. Ct. 3037 (1976), holding that the deterrent effect of post-trial habeas relief for state court errors in considering Fourth Amendment objections to evidence offered at trial was insufficient to justify the interference with the truth-finding function of criminal trials. A similar question may have to be confronted in the present case. There was no way the state court could have provided a trial remedy for the beatings of the current petitioner. Moreover, the impact of any remedy would not have been for the benefit of petitioner or upon short-range police behavior, but upon the necessity for long-term state corrective action to avoid similar tragedies in the future. The response of the state, showing vigorous efforts to avoid such situations in the future, may make it unnecessary to confront in this case the difficult choice exemplified in another context by Stone.
I shall defer, pending the receipt of such response, definitive action with respect to assaults upon petitioner in the Rockland County Jail.
I do not find that any other argument submitted by petitioner supports his application for habeas corpus.
Upon receipt of the requested response, further consideration will be given to whether the Constitution, under all the circumstances, requires release of petitioner based on the abuse he received while in custody.
Cruel and Unusual Punishment.
In addition to his due process claims under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, petitioner has, with respect to the assaults upon him in the Rockland County Jail, invoked the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment as a constitutional basis for his release. While cruel and unusual punishment was certainly involved in these assaults, the Eighth Amendment furnishes no basis for release beyond whatever grounds are afforded by due process. Petitioner does not, I note, allege any ongoing violence or threats of violence.
The Rockland County assaults against petitioner constituted unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. See Wilkerson v. Utah, 99 U.S. 130, 25 L. Ed. 345 (1879); Weems v. United States, 217 U.S. 349, 54 L. Ed. 793, 30 S. Ct. 544 (1910). Failure to provide adequate medical care falls in the same category. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 102-03, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251, 97 S. Ct. 285 (1976). Misconduct of the type involved here may form the basis for damage actions, or for injunctive relief if ongoing or threatened further violations were involved. However, petitioner cites no authority for releasing a prisoner because of prior cruel or unusual punishment or its consequences.
It would not be appropriate to grant Eighth Amendment relief in the form of release based on prior misconduct which is not now being continued or threatened, unless such relief were justified for the same reasons which would apply with respect to due process violations. Thus, the request that such a remedy be created raises the same considerations as those discussed above.
Dated: White Plains, New York
October 16, 1992
VINCENT L. BRODERICK, U.S.D.J.