Haines v. Kerner 8212 5025, No. 70

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; POWELL
PartiesFrancis HAINES, Petitioner, v. Otto J. KERNER, former Governor, State of Illinois, et al. —5025
Docket NumberNo. 70
Decision Date13 January 1972

404 U.S. 519
92 S.Ct. 594
30 L.Ed.2d 652
Francis HAINES, Petitioner,

v.

Otto J. KERNER, former Governor, State of Illinois, et al.

No. 70—5025.
Argued Dec. 6, 1971.
Decided Jan. 13, 1972.
Rehearing Denied Feb. 22, 1972.

See 405 U.S. 948, 92 S.Ct. 963.

Stanley A. Bass, New York City, for petitioner.

Warren K. Smoot, Chicago, Ill., for respondents, pro hac vice, by special leave of Court.

PER CURIAM.

Petitioner, an inmate at the Illinois State Penitentiary, Menard, Illinois, commenced this action against the Governor of Illinois and other state officers and prison officials under the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 17 Stat. 13, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3), seeking to recover damages for claimed injuries and deprivation of rights while incarcerated under a judgment not challenged here.

Page 520

Petitioner's pro se complaint was premised on alleged action of prison officials placing him in solitary confinement as a disciplinary measure after he had struck another inmate on the head with a shovel following a verbal altercation. The assault by petitioner on another inmate is not denied. Petitioner's pro se complaint included general allegations of physical injuries suffered while in disciplinary confinement and denial of due process in the steps leading to that confinement. The claimed physical suffering was aggravation of a preexisting foot injury and a circulatory ailment caused by forcing him to sleep on the floor of his cell with only blankets.

The District Court granted respondents' motion under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, suggesting that only under exceptional circumstances should courts inquire into the internal operations of state penitentiaries and concluding that petitioner had failed to show a deprivation of federally protected rights. The Court of Appeals affirmed, 427 F.2d 71, emphasizing that prison officials are vested with 'wide discretion' in disciplinary matters. We granted certiorari and appointed counsel to represent petitioner. The only issue now before us is petitioner's contention that the District Court erred in dismissing his pro se complaint without allowing him to present evidence on his claims.

Whatever may be the limits on the scope of inquiry of courts into the internal administration of prisons, allegations such as those asserted by petitioner, however inartfully pleaded, are...

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41928 practice notes
  • Craig v. Cohn, No. 3:99-CV-0689 AS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • January 7, 2000
    ...pro se complaints, the court must employ standards less stringent than if the complaint had been drafted by counsel. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972). The court must accept the well-pleaded factual allegations as true, and "construe such allegations in fav......
  • Gifford v. Kampa, No. 2:17-CV-2421-TLN-DMC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • March 25, 2021
    ...1949-50 (2009). In addition, pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by lawyers. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is enti......
  • Griffin v. Padula, C.A. No. 2:07-0874-PMD-RSC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • July 6, 2007
    ...S.Ct. 1728, 118 L.Ed.2d 340 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-325, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Maryland House of Correction, 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995) (en, banc), cert. denied, 5......
  • Jaramillo v. Frewing, No. CIV 17-0673 JB/SCY
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • August 28, 2018
    ...lower courts to hold pro se litigants' pleadings "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972). The pro se litigant "nevertheless must follow the same rules of procedure that govern other liti......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41892 cases
  • Craig v. Cohn, No. 3:99-CV-0689 AS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • January 7, 2000
    ...pro se complaints, the court must employ standards less stringent than if the complaint had been drafted by counsel. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972). The court must accept the well-pleaded factual allegations as true, and "construe such allegations in fav......
  • Gifford v. Kampa, No. 2:17-CV-2421-TLN-DMC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • March 25, 2021
    ...1949-50 (2009). In addition, pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by lawyers. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is enti......
  • Griffin v. Padula, C.A. No. 2:07-0874-PMD-RSC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • July 6, 2007
    ...S.Ct. 1728, 118 L.Ed.2d 340 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-325, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Maryland House of Correction, 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995) (en, banc), cert. denied, 5......
  • Jaramillo v. Frewing, No. CIV 17-0673 JB/SCY
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • August 28, 2018
    ...lower courts to hold pro se litigants' pleadings "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972). The pro se litigant "nevertheless must follow the same rules of procedure that govern other liti......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • IN HONOR OF STEPHEN BURBANK: BEYOND THE FOREST AND THE TREES.
    • United States
    • University of Pennsylvania Law Review Vol. 169 Nbr. 8, August 2021
    • August 1, 2021
    ...(22) See Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976) ("The handwritten pro se document is to be liberally construed."); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (holding a pro se complaint to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by (23) 28 U.S.C. [section] 2072(a). (24) ......

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