392 U.S. 639 (1968), 668, Houghton v. Shafer

Docket Nº:No. 668, Misc.
Citation:392 U.S. 639, 88 S.Ct. 2119, 20 L.Ed.2d 1319
Party Name:Houghton v. Shafer
Case Date:June 17, 1968
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 639

392 U.S. 639 (1968)

88 S.Ct. 2119, 20 L.Ed.2d 1319

Houghton

v.

Shafer

No. 668, Misc.

United States Supreme Court

June 17, 1968

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED

STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT

Syllabus

Petitioner, a Pennsylvania state prisoner, brought this action in the District Court claiming that prison authorities had violated § 1 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871 by confiscating legal materials which petitioner had acquired for pursuing his appeal but which, in alleged violation of prison rules, were in another prisoner's possession. The District Court dismissed petitioner's complaint on the ground that petitioner had not exhausted certain state administrative remedies.

Held: It was not necessary for petitioner to resort to these state remedies in light of this Court's decisions in Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 180-183, and other cases.

Certiorari granted; 379 F.2d 556, reversed and remanded.

Per curiam opinion.

PER CURIAM.

Petitioner was convicted of burglary and is serving a sentence of four to 10 years in a Pennsylvania state prison. In pursuing his appeal , petitioner acquired law books, trial records, and other materials with the consent of prison authorities. Before petitioner had filed his appeal brief, prison authorities confiscated these [88 S.Ct. 2120] materials because they were found in the possession of another inmate. Petitioner's efforts to obtain the return of the materials were not successful, and he commenced this action in the United States District Court, claiming that the prison authorities had violated § 1 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 17 Stat. 13, now 42 U.S.C. § 1983, by depriving him of his legal materials. The District Court

Page 640

dismissed the complaint on the sole ground that petitioner had not alleged exhaustion of state administrative remedies, citing Gaito v. Prasse, 312 F.2d 169 (C.A.3d Cir.). The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed without opinion. We grant the petition for certiorari and reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

Petitioner's legal materials were confiscated pursuant to prison rules forbidding the possession of articles not sold through the canteen or approved by the authorities and forbidding the unauthorized loaning of books to another inmate. According to the inmates' handbook, petitioner could have taken his problem to the "Classification and Treatment Clinic"; it was also his...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP