669 F.2d 1297 (8th Cir. 1982), 81-1786, Branchcomb v. Brewer

Docket Nº:81-1786.
Citation:669 F.2d 1297
Party Name:Ronald Lee Roy BRANCHCOMB, Appellant, v. Lou BREWER, James Menke, and Charles Wilkins, Appellees.
Case Date:February 11, 1982
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 1297

669 F.2d 1297 (8th Cir. 1982)

Ronald Lee Roy BRANCHCOMB, Appellant,


Lou BREWER, James Menke, and Charles Wilkins, Appellees.

No. 81-1786.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

February 11, 1982

Submitted Jan. 15, 1982.

Page 1298

Gordon E. Allen, argued, Allen, Babich & Bennett, Des Moines, Iowa, for plaintiff-appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Atty. Gen. of Iowa, John G. Black, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., Jonathan Golden, Asst. Atty. Gen., argued, Des Moines, Iowa, for defendants-appellees.

Before LAY, Chief Judge, ARNOLD, Circuit Judge, and WOODS, District Judge.


This is a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action brought by an Iowa inmate against the Warden and other officials of the Iowa Men's Penitentiary. Plaintiff claims that he has been assaulted and homosexually raped and that defendants are at fault. Defendants' conduct in permitting plaintiff to be exposed to the inmates who attacked him is said to have violated the Fifth and Eighth Amendments, as made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth.

After a non-jury trial, the District Court filed findings of fact and conclusions of law and entered judgment for defendants. The court's findings of fact simply recited the dates and times of plaintiff's incarceration and the history of his transfers among various units of the Iowa Division of Adult Corrections. The court also found that plaintiff was in fact sexually assaulted and homosexually raped by two fellow inmates. The second conclusion of law held that defendants did not violate plaintiff's constitutional rights.

This is not a case in which plaintiff claims that defendants personally inflicted any harm on him. Rather, the theory of the action is that defendants did not take sufficient precautions to protect plaintiff from violence by fellow inmates. In order to sustain this claim, plaintiff must show something more than mere inadvertence or negligence. He must show the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his constitutional rights, either because they actually intended to deprive him of some right, or because they acted with reckless disregard of his right to be free from violent attacks by fellow inmates. See Cline v. Herman, 601 F.2d 374, 376 (8th Cir. 1979) (per curiam); Little v. Walker, 552 F.2d 193, 197-98 (7th Cir. 1977), cert. denied, 435 U.S. 932, 98 S.Ct. 1507, 55 L.Ed.2d 530 (1978). The question of defendants'...

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