Baxter v. Palmigiano Enomoto v. Clutchette, Nos. 74-1187 and 74-1194

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWHITE
Citation47 L.Ed.2d 810,96 S.Ct. 1551,425 U.S. 308
Docket NumberNos. 74-1187 and 74-1194
Decision Date20 April 1976
PartiesJoseph BAXTER et al., Petitioners, v. Nicholas A. PALMIGIANO. Jerry J. ENOMOTO et al., Petitioners, v. John Wesley CLUTCHETTE et al

425 U.S. 308
96 S.Ct. 1551
47 L.Ed.2d 810
Joseph BAXTER et al., Petitioners,

v.

Nicholas A. PALMIGIANO. Jerry J. ENOMOTO et al., Petitioners, v. John Wesley CLUTCHETTE et al.

Nos. 74-1187 and 74-1194.
Argued Dec. 15, 1975.
Decided April 20, 1976.
Syllabus

Respondent state prison inmates in No. 74-1194 filed an action for declaratory and injunctive relief alleging that procedures used in prison disciplinary proceedings violated their rights to due process and equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment. The District Court granted relief, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that minimum notice and a right to respond are due an inmate faced even with a temporary suspension of privileges, that an inmate at a disciplinary hearing who is denied the privilege of confronting and cross-examining witnesses must receive written reasons or the denial will be deemed prima facie evidence of abuse of discretion, and that an inmate facing prison discipline for a violation that might also be punishable in state criminal proceedings has a right to counsel (not just counsel-substitute) at the prison hearing. Respondent state prison inmate in No. 74-1187, upon being charged with inciting a prison disturbance, was summoned before prison authorities and informed that he might be prosecuted for a violation of state law, that he should consult an attorney (although the attorney would not be permitted to be present during the disciplinary hearing), and that he had a right to remain silent during the hearing but that if he did so his silence would be held against him. On the basis of the hearing, at which respondent remained silent, he was placed in "punitive segregation" for 30 days. He then filed an action for damages and injunctive relief, claiming that the disciplinary hearing violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The District Court denied relief, but the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that an inmate at a prison disciplinary proceeding must be advised of his right to remain silent, that he must not be questioned further once he exercises that right, that such silence may not be used against him at that time or in future proceedings, and that where criminal charges

Page 309

are a realistic possibility prison authorities should consider whether defense counsel, if requested, should be permitted at the proceeding. Held: The procedures required by the respective Courts of Appeals are either inconsistent with the "reasonable accommodation" reached in Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 94 S.Ct. 2963, 41 L.Ed.2d 935, between institutional needs and objectives and the constitutional provisions of general application, or are premature on the basis of the case records. Pp. 314-234.

(a) Prison inmates do not "have a right to either retained or appointed counsel in disciplinary hearings." Wolff, supra, at 570, 94 S.Ct. at 2981, 41 L.Ed.2d at 959. Pp. 314-315.

(b) Permitting an adverse inference to be drawn from an inmate's silence at his disciplinary proceedings is not, on its face, an invalid practice, and there is no basis in the record for invalidating it as applied to respondent in No. 74-1187. Pp. 316-320.

(c) Mandating that inmates should have the privilege of confrontation and cross-examination of witnesses at prison disciplinary proceedings, except where prison officials can justify their denial of such privilege on grounds that would satisfy a court of law, effectively pre-empts the area that Wolff, supra, left to the sound discretion of prison officials, and there is no evidence of abuse of such discretion by the prison officials in No. 74-1194. Pp. 320-323.

(d) Where there was no evidence that any of the respondents in No. 74-1194 were subject to the "lesser penalty" of loss of privileges, but rather it appeared that all were charged with "serious misconduct," the Court of Appeals acted prematurely to the extent it required procedures such as notice and an opportunity to respond even when an inmate is faced with a temporary suspension of privileges. Pp. 323-324.

No. 74-1187, 510 F.2d 534; No. 74-1194, 510 F.2d 613, reversed.

Ronald A. Dwight, Providence, R. I., for petitioners.

Page 310

Stephen J. Fortunato, Jr., Pawtucket, R. I., for respondent.

Mr. Justice WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.

These cases present questions as to procedures required at prison disciplinary hearings and as to the reach of our recent decision in Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 94 S.Ct. 2963, 41 L.Ed.2d 935 (1974).

I

A. No. 74-1194

Respondents are inmates of the California penal institution at San Quentin. They filed an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and alleging that the procedures used in disciplinary proceedings at San Quentin violated their rights to due process and equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.1 After an evi-

Page 311

dentiary hearing, the District Court granted substantial relief. Clutchette v. Procunier, 328 F.Supp. 767 (N.D.Cal.1971). The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, with one judge dissenting, affirmed, 497 F.2d 809 (1974), holding that an inmate facing a disciplinary proceeding at San Quentin was entitled to notice of the charges against him, to be heard and to present witnesses, to confront and cross-examine witnesses, to face a neutral and detached hearing body, and to receive a decision based solely on evidence presented at the hearing. The court also held that an inmate must be provided with counsel or a counsel-substitute when the consequences

Page 312

of the disciplinary action are "serious," such as prolonged periods of "isolation." Id., at 821. The panel of the Court of Appeals, after granting rehearing to reconsider its conclusions in light of our intervening decision in Wolff, supra, reaffirmed its initial judgment again with one judge dissenting but modified its prior opinion in several respects. 510 F.2d 613 (1975). The Court of Appeals held that minimum notice and a right to respond are due an inmate faced even with a temporary suspension of privileges, that an inmate at a disciplinary helping who is denied the privilege of confronting and cross-examining witnesses must receive written reasons for such denial or the denial "will be deemed prima facie evidence of abuse of discretion," Id., at 616, and reaffirming its initial view that an inmate facing prison discipline for a violation that might also be punishable in state criminal proceedings has a right to counsel (not just counsel-substitute) at the prison hearing. We granted certiorari and set the case for oral argument with No. 74-1187. 421 U.S. 1010, 95 S.Ct. 2414, 44 L.Ed.2d 678 (1975).

Respondent Palmigiano is an inmate of the Rhode Island Adult Correction Institution serving a life sentence for murder. He was charged by correctional officers with "inciting a disturbance and disrupt(ion) of (prison) operations, which might have resulted in a riot." App. 197 (No. 74-1187). He was summoned before the prison Disciplinary Board and informed that he might be prosecuted for a violation of state law, that he should consult his attorney (although his attorney was not permitted by the Board to be present during the hearing), that he had a right to remain silent during the hearing but that if he remained silent his silence would be held against him. Respondent availed himself of the counsel-substitute provided for by prison rules and remained

Page 313

silent during the hearing. The Disciplinary Board's decision was that respondent be placed in "punitive segregation" for 30 days and that his classification status be downgraded thereafter.

Respondent filed an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for damages and injunctive relief, claiming that the disciplinary hearing violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.2 The District

Page 314

Court held an evidentiary hearing and denied relief. The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, with one judge dissenting, reversed, holding that respondent "was denied due process in the disciplinary hearing only insofar as he was not provided with use immunity for statements he might have made within the disciplinary hearing, and because he was denied access to retained counsel within the hearing." 487 F.2d 1280, 1292 (1973). We granted certiorari, vacated the judgment of the Court of Appeals, and remanded to that court for further consideration in light of Wolff v. McDonnell, supra, decided in the interim, 418 U.S. 908, 94 S.Ct. 3200, 41 L.Ed.2d 1155 (1974). On remand, the Court of Appeals affirmed its prior decision but modified its opinion. 510 F.2d 534 (1974). The Court of Appeals held that an inmate at a prison disciplinary proceeding must be advised of his right to remain silent, that he must not be questioned further once he exercises that right, and that such silence may not be used against him at that time or in future proceedings. With respect to counsel, the Court of Appeals held:

"(I)n cases where criminal charges are a realistic possibility, prison authorities should consider whether defense counsel, if requested, should not be let into the disciplinary proceeding, not because Wolff requires it in that proceeding, but because Miranda (v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966)) requires it in light of future criminal prosecution." Id., at 537.

We granted certiorari and heard the case with No. 74-1194. 421 U.S. 1010, 95 S.Ct. 2414, 44 L.Ed.2d 678 (1975).

II

In Wolff v. McDonnell, supra, drawing comparisons to Gagnon v. Scarpelli, 411 U.S. 778, 93 S.Ct. 1756, 36 L.Ed.2d 656 (1973), we said:

"The insertion of counsel into the (prison) disciplinary process would inevitably give the proceedings

Page 315

a more adversary cast and tend to reduce their utility as a means to further correctional goals. There would also be delay and very practical problems in providing counsel...

To continue reading

Request your trial
2306 practice notes
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register August 14, 2008
    • August 14, 2008
    ...reliance on the Fifth Amendment to not answer or provide information may not preclude such inferences. Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308, 318, 96 S.Ct. 1551, 1558, 47 L.Ed.2d 810 (1976) (``[T]he Fifth Amendment does not forbid adverse inferences against parties to civil actions when they r......
  • Kelly v. Hill, Civil Action No.: ELH-20-2531
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • July 19, 2021
    ...there is no constitutional right to confront and cross-examine witnesses or to retain and be appointed counsel. See Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308, 322 (1976); Brown v. Braxton, 373 F.3d 501, 504-05 (4th Cir. 2004). As long as the hearing officer's decision contains a written statement ......
  • Dawson v. Kendrick, Civ. A. No. 78-1076.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Southern District of West Virginia
    • August 10, 1981
    ...by plaintiffs are too ephemeral to give rise to a protected liberty interest requiring prior notice and hearing. See Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308, 323, 96 S.Ct. 1551, 1560, 47 L.Ed.2d 810 (1976); Cooper v. Riddle, 540 F.2d at 732. The court nevertheless 527 F. Supp. 1306 observes that......
  • Rienhardt v. Shinn, CV-03-0290-TUC-DCB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • November 8, 2021
    ...defendant's silence as substantive evidence of guilt.” United States v. Robinson, 485 U.S. 25, 32 (1988) (quoting Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308, 319 (1976)). A comment violates this rule “if it is manifestly intended to call attention to the defendant's failure to testify, or is of suc......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2294 cases
  • Kelly v. Hill, Civil Action No.: ELH-20-2531
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • July 19, 2021
    ...there is no constitutional right to confront and cross-examine witnesses or to retain and be appointed counsel. See Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308, 322 (1976); Brown v. Braxton, 373 F.3d 501, 504-05 (4th Cir. 2004). As long as the hearing officer's decision contains a written statement ......
  • Dawson v. Kendrick, Civ. A. No. 78-1076.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Southern District of West Virginia
    • August 10, 1981
    ...by plaintiffs are too ephemeral to give rise to a protected liberty interest requiring prior notice and hearing. See Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308, 323, 96 S.Ct. 1551, 1560, 47 L.Ed.2d 810 (1976); Cooper v. Riddle, 540 F.2d at 732. The court nevertheless 527 F. Supp. 1306 observes that......
  • Rienhardt v. Shinn, CV-03-0290-TUC-DCB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • November 8, 2021
    ...defendant's silence as substantive evidence of guilt.” United States v. Robinson, 485 U.S. 25, 32 (1988) (quoting Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308, 319 (1976)). A comment violates this rule “if it is manifestly intended to call attention to the defendant's failure to testify, or is of suc......
  • Soto v. City of Sacramento, No. Civ. S-79-680 LKK.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • August 24, 1983
    ...767 (N.D.Cal.1971), aff'd 497 F.2d 809 (9th Cir.1974), modified 510 F.2d 613 (9th Cir.1975) rev'sd on other grounds Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308, 96 S.Ct. 1551, 47 L.Ed.2d 810 (1976). The court believes plaintiff's claim is mischaracterized. Ultimately all the cases plaintiff relies o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 firm's commentaries
  • Fraud, Asset Tracing & Recovery, Country Analysis, CDR Essential Intelligence
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • April 19, 2022
    ...may be drawn from the invocation - versus the civil context - where an adverse inference can be drawn. (See, e.g., Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308 A) What are the benefits/difficulties of a combined approach? Parallel proceedings in which a private litigant seeks asset recovery while a g......
2 books & journal articles
  • SECURITIES FRAUD
    • United States
    • American Criminal Law Review Nbr. 58-3, July 2021
    • July 1, 2021
    ...subjecting [themselves] to a permissible adverse inference in the civil case.” Oakford, 181 F.R.D. at 270 (citing Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308, 318 (1976)). However, the Oakford court did warn that the use of the federal courts for f‌iling serious civil suits that the SEC has no inten......
  • Operation-Infrastructure and Practice
    • United States
    • Environmental crimes deskbook 2nd edition Part One
    • June 20, 2014
    ...76. E.g. , Carter v. Kentucky, 450 U.S. 288, 302-03 (1981); Griin v. California, 380 U.S. 609, 615 (1965). 77. See Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308, 316-20 (1976) (adverse inference is not an impermissible consequence of the exercise of privilege against self-incrimination in a civil case......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT