Haygood v. Younger, No. 81-4686

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore BROWNING, Chief Judge, and GOODWIN, HUG, TANG, SKOPIL, SCHROEDER, FARRIS, ALARCON, FERGUSON, CANBY and REINHARDT; GOODWIN; Moreover, where the injury is the product of the operation of state law, regulation, or institutionalized practice, it i
Citation769 F.2d 1350
PartiesFrank HAYGOOD, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Evelle J. YOUNGER, et al., Defendants, and Harold Cranke and Benjamin Seymour, Defendants-Appellants.
Decision Date27 August 1985
Docket NumberNo. 81-4686

Page 1350

769 F.2d 1350
Frank HAYGOOD, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Evelle J. YOUNGER, et al., Defendants,
and
Harold Cranke and Benjamin Seymour, Defendants-Appellants.
No. 81-4686.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Argued En Banc and Submitted July 11, 1984.
Decided Aug. 27, 1985.

Page 1352

Jack Jacobson, Santa Cruz, Cal., for plaintiff-appellee.

William George Prahl, Deputy Atty. Gen., Sacramento, Cal., for defendants-appellants.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Before BROWNING, Chief Judge, and GOODWIN, HUG, TANG, SKOPIL, SCHROEDER, FARRIS, ALARCON, FERGUSON, CANBY and REINHARDT, Circuit Judges.

GOODWIN, Circuit Judge.

Two prison officials appeal a judgment for $2,090 in damages and $45,383 in attorneys' fees in Frank Haygood's Sec. 1983 action for damages for prolonging his state prison detention by using an incorrect method to compute his release date. Haygood v. Younger, 527 F.Supp. 808 (E.D.Cal.1981). Our panel decision reversed that judgment. Haygood v. Younger, 718 F.2d 1472 (9th Cir.1983), withdrawn, 729 F.2d 613 (9th Cir.1984). Because this case presents important questions about the scope of due process available to state prisoners, we took it with two others for en banc reconsideration. 1

The law in this circuit and elsewhere is controlled by the Supreme Court opinions in Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 101 S.Ct. 1908, 68 L.Ed.2d 420 (1981), Logan v. Zimmerman Brush Co., 455 U.S. 422, 102 S.Ct. 1148, 71 L.Ed.2d 265 (1982), and Hudson v. Palmer, --- U.S. ----, 104 S.Ct. 3194, 82 L.Ed.2d 393 (1984). Those three cases shed recent light upon any analysis of claims under Sec. 1983. Haygood's particular injury and the process the state provided, although unusual, do not require a departure from settled precepts of Sec. 1983 analysis.

Background

Frank Haygood, after spending more than twenty years in California prisons, obtained his freedom by bringing a habeas corpus action in state courts. In re Haygood, 14 Cal.3d 802, 122 Cal.Rptr. 760, 537 P.2d 880 (1975). In that action, Haygood challenged the formulae by which the California Adult Authority calculated his prison sentence under California's continuous term policy. 2 The problem arose because of an ambiguity between two California statutes with respect to when Haygood's term for escape could commence.

While serving two terms for previous convictions, Haygood escaped from prison and subsequently committed a robbery. He was first tried for and convicted of the robbery and after that the escape. Section 669 of the California Penal Code provided that where a defendant is convicted of two crimes, the second sentencing judge has discretion to make the terms of the two convictions concurrent or consecutive. Cal.Penal Code Sec. 669 (West 1956). See In re Haygood, 537 P.2d at 885 n. 7. Relying on this provision, the Adult Authority believed Haygood's escape term to be consecutive to his robbery term and did not fix his escape term to begin until after his robbery term had expired. See Cal.Penal Code Sec. 3021 (West 1956).

The California Supreme Court found that this determination by the Adult Authority was incorrect. At the time of Haygood's

Page 1353

escape, Sec. 4531 of the Penal Code required that an escape term commence at the time the escapee would have been discharged from the terms he was serving had he not escaped. Cal.Penal Code Sec. 4531 (West 1956). The court found that this provision prevailed over the general provisions of Sec. 669 and thus Haygood's escape term could not be consecutive to his robbery term, but only to the two terms he was serving at the time of his escape. Because these two terms had both expired by March 14, 1963, Haygood's escape term could not be fixed as commencing after the end of Haygood's robbery term in 1970 (retroactively to January 8, 1969). Haygood thus should have been discharged at the end of his robbery term under Sec. 2940 of the Penal Code. 3

The panel opinion sets forth the details of Haygood's dispute with the state prison system. Haygood, 718 F.2d at 1474-78. We need not repeat those details here, beyond noting that in March 1974 Haygood wrote the warden a letter questioning the running of his sentence for escape consecutively after he served his sentence for robbery. He demanded that he be released. The letter was investigated by the two defendants who then were employed as Records Officer II and Records Officer III. Their written answer to Haygood explained that, according to the relevant statutes, he correctly was being held to start his escape sentence after he completed his robbery sentence. They attached to their routing slip to Haygood a copy of an attorney general's opinion that they believed to be supportive of their letter. It does not appear from the record that Haygood then demanded or was offered an administrative hearing.

In due course Haygood brought habeas corpus proceedings in the state courts. The errors in Haygood's sequence of serving the various sentences did not become manifest until after the California Supreme Court had subjected a complex web of sentences, statutes and regulations to sophisticated scrutiny. In re Haygood, 537 P.2d at 884-87. After Haygood's release from prison in 1975, he brought this action in federal court under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, alleging that more than a dozen state officers had deprived him of his liberty without due process of the law and subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

On pretrial motions, the claims against the state attorney general, the nine members of the California Adult Authority, and the director of the state department of corrections were dismissed. At the close of the plaintiff's case, the trial judge directed verdicts in favor of the warden of Folsom prison, the administrative officer of the Adult Authority, and the correctional counselor. The case went to the jury on the claims against Records Officers Cranke and Seymour. The jury found these remaining defendants liable for depriving Haygood of his constitutional rights. There is no cross-appeal, and consequently no question before us on the reduction of the number of defendants in the case.

Appropriateness of Sec. 1983

In any Sec. 1983 action, the first question is whether Sec. 1983 is the appropriate avenue to remedy the alleged wrong. 4

Page 1354

We reach the issue of these defendants' Sec. 1983 liability only if we find that the two essential elements to a Sec. 1983 action are present: (1) the defendants acted under color of law, and (2) their conduct deprived Haygood of a constitutional right. 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983.

We need not be detained by the requirement that the defendants acted under color of state law. The defendants' conduct was under color of law. The officers were clothed with the legitimacy of the government and were purporting to act thereunder. Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 172-87, 81 S.Ct. 473, 476-484, 5 L.Ed.2d 492 (1961). It is not necessary to show that these officers were acting specifically within the scope of their authority because negligent abuse of authority by state officials can form the basis for a Sec. 1983 cause of action. Parratt, 451 U.S. at 534-35, 101 S.Ct. at 1912-13. Intentional acts by state officials, even if committed without specific authority can satisfy the color of law requirements of Sec. 1983, Hudson, 104 S.Ct. at 3202, as can conduct pursuant to established state policy, Logan, 455 U.S. at 435-37, 102 S.Ct. at 1157-58, and errors by individual officers in the absence of an affirmative government policy. Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 146, 99 S.Ct. 2689, 2695, 61 L.Ed.2d 433 (1979). Cf. Monell v. Dep't of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 694, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 2037, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978); Wolf-Lillie v. Sonquist, 699 F.2d 864, 870 (7th Cir.1983).

Our inquiry thus will focus on the second element of a Sec. 1983 cause of action. Assuming that Haygood suffered an injury under color of law, that injury is cognizable under Sec. 1983 if the right affected is one guaranteed by the constitution. Baker, 443 U.S. at 142, 99 S.Ct. at 2693.

Liberty is protected from unlawful state deprivation by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Haygood alleges that the defendant state officials deprived him of liberty by wrongfully keeping him in custody from 1970 to 1975. Although Haygood's sentence expired in 1970, the Adult Authority did not release him until ordered to do so in 1975 by the California Supreme Court. As the district court noted, the state lost its power to hold Haygood in 1970; any continued detention deprived him of his rightful liberty. McNeil v. Director, Patuxent Institution, 407 U.S. 245, 246, 92 S.Ct. 2083, 2085, 32 L.Ed.2d 719 (1972). See Haygood, 527 F.Supp. at 813.

Eighth Amendment Theory

Haygood's first theory of liability is that his unlawful incarceration constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Detention of Haygood beyond the termination of his sentence was undoubtedly punishment within the constitutional meaning of that term. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535-40, 99 S.Ct. 1861, 1871-74, 60 L.Ed.2d 447 (1979). To be cruel and unusual, punishment must be incompatible with "the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society," Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86, 101, 78 S.Ct. 590, 598, 2 L.Ed.2d 630 (1958), or must involve unnecessary or wanton pain disproportionate to the severity of the crime. Solem v. Helm, 463 U.S. 277, 103 S.Ct. 3001, 77 L.Ed.2d 637 (1983). Detention beyond the termination of a sentence could constitute cruel and unusual punishment if it is the result of "deliberate indifference" to the prisoner's liberty interest, see Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-06, 97 S.Ct. 285, 291-92, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976); otherwise, such detention can be held to be unconstitutional only if it violates due process. Wolfish, 441...

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    ...Rights Were Violated "A prisoner's petition for damages for excessive custody can be a legitimate § 1983 claim." Haygood v. Younger, 769 F.2d 1350, 1359 (9th Cir.1985) (en banc). Such an action is based on an individual's Fourteenth Amendment "due process right to be released within a reaso......
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    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
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    ...(1981), overruled on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 328, 106 S.Ct. 662, 88 L.Ed.2d 662 (1986) ; Haygood v. Younger, 769 F.2d 1350, 1353 (9th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 478 U.S. 1020, 106 S.Ct. 3333, 92 L.Ed.2d 739 (1986). The "color of law" or "state actor" requirement is ......
  • Hendon v. Ramsey, Civil No. 06cv1060 J(NLS).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • December 28, 2007
    ...constitutional infractions, and adequate post-deprivation tort claims. Daniels, 474 U.S. at 332-33, 106 S.Ct. 662; Haygood v. Younger, 769 F.2d 1350, 1357 (9th Cir. 1985) (en banc) ("Parratt and Hudson dealt with relatively minor infractions of prisoners' interests in their personal propert......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
721 cases
  • Odle v. Vasquez, No. C-88-4280-CAL.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • December 27, 1990
    ...102 S.Ct. at 3376-78; Tison v. Arizona, 481 U.S. 137, 146-52, 107 S.Ct. 1676, 1682-85, 95 L.Ed.2d 127 (1987); Haygood v. Younger, 769 F.2d 1350 (9th Cir.1985), cert. denied, 478 U.S. 1020, 106 S.Ct. 3333, 92 L.Ed.2d 739 (1986). The death penalty must be "directly related to the personal cul......
  • Green v. Baca, No. CV 02-04744 MMM (MANx).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • February 20, 2004
    ...Rights Were Violated "A prisoner's petition for damages for excessive custody can be a legitimate § 1983 claim." Haygood v. Younger, 769 F.2d 1350, 1359 (9th Cir.1985) (en banc). Such an action is based on an individual's Fourteenth Amendment "due process right to be released within a reaso......
  • Davis v. John, No. CV 19-9592-CBM(E)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • September 9, 2020
    ...(1981), overruled on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 328, 106 S.Ct. 662, 88 L.Ed.2d 662 (1986) ; Haygood v. Younger, 769 F.2d 1350, 1353 (9th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 478 U.S. 1020, 106 S.Ct. 3333, 92 L.Ed.2d 739 (1986). The "color of law" or "state actor" requirement is ......
  • Hendon v. Ramsey, Civil No. 06cv1060 J(NLS).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • December 28, 2007
    ...constitutional infractions, and adequate post-deprivation tort claims. Daniels, 474 U.S. at 332-33, 106 S.Ct. 662; Haygood v. Younger, 769 F.2d 1350, 1357 (9th Cir. 1985) (en banc) ("Parratt and Hudson dealt with relatively minor infractions of prisoners' interests in their personal propert......
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