DOCCS Reverses Disciplinary Hearing in Response to Lawsuit From PLS

PLS prevails in challenge to a prison disciplinary proceeding alleging guilty finding was not supported by substantial evidence and violated state regulations and DOCCS’ directives. 

Matter of Powell v. Anthony Annucci, Albany County Index No. 907377-20

The misbehavior report in this matter alleged that our client’s property was searched and a weapon recovered from a package of spaghetti. Our client was charged with possessing a weapon, altered item, and contraband.

At his hearing, the log of our client’s property was entered into evidence; there were no food items on the log. At the hearing, an officer testified that our client had two full property bags of food upon his admission to SHU that were not inventoried and documented due to the officer’s error, but the officer did not mention a package of spaghetti in the alleged non-inventoried bags of property.

The Hearing Officer found our client guilty of all changes and imposed a penalty of 120 days in solitary confinement and 180 days loss of recreation, packages, commissary, and phone. The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision modified the decision, dismissing the charges of altered item and contraband, but did not reduce the penalty..

PLS filed an Article 78 alleging two causes of action: The hearing disposition was not supported by substantial evidence, and the hearing disposition violated the regulation and directive that require an inventory of an individual’s property upon admission to SHU. In response, DOCCS administratively reversed the hearing and expunged the charges from our client’s institutional record.