Tracy v. Salamack, No. 77 Civ. 3937.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
Writing for the CourtLASKER
Citation440 F. Supp. 930
Decision Date07 November 1977
Docket NumberNo. 77 Civ. 3937.
PartiesJames TRACY, William Adams, Robert Arnold, Arthur Betsch, Santos Cepeda, Douglas Coleman, Harold Gonzalez, Lennell Howard, Elliot Hunt, Billy Little, Larry Moore, Robert Oakley, Emanuel Ordine, Jr., Larry Pleasant, George Reed, Anthony Repetti, Cordell Robinson, William Rodriguez, Dennis Soares, Michael Thomas, and John Turrisi, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. Dominick SALAMACK, Superintendent, Bayview Correctional Facility, Captain Hylan T. Sperbeck, Correction Officer, Bayview Correctional Facility, Benjamin Ward, Commissioner, Department of Correctional Services, State of New York, Defendants.

440 F. Supp. 930

James TRACY, William Adams, Robert Arnold, Arthur Betsch, Santos Cepeda, Douglas Coleman, Harold Gonzalez, Lennell Howard, Elliot Hunt, Billy Little, Larry Moore, Robert Oakley, Emanuel Ordine, Jr., Larry Pleasant, George Reed, Anthony Repetti, Cordell Robinson, William Rodriguez, Dennis Soares, Michael Thomas, and John Turrisi, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
Dominick SALAMACK, Superintendent, Bayview Correctional Facility, Captain Hylan T. Sperbeck, Correction Officer, Bayview Correctional Facility, Benjamin Ward, Commissioner, Department of Correctional Services, State of New York, Defendants.

No. 77 Civ. 3937.

United States District Court, S. D. New York.

October 14, 1977.

Memorandum Opinion November 7, 1977.


440 F. Supp. 931
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
440 F. Supp. 932
Prisoners' Legal Services of New York, New York City, for plaintiffs; Susan N. Herman, Daniel J. Steinbock, Pierce Gerety, Jr., New York City, of counsel

Louis J. Lefkowitz, Atty. Gen. of the State of New York, New York City, for defendants; Kevin J. McKay, Asst. Atty. Gen., New York City, of counsel.

LASKER, District Judge.

In 1969, the New York State correctional system instituted a Temporary Release Program1 designed to help inmates eligible for parole to reintegrate into society. An inmate who is eligible for parole within one year may apply to the program. If accepted, he is assigned to a work release facility from which he may seek either employment or schooling. In July of 1977, in reaction to incidents which disquieted the legislature and the public, the New York legislature amended the Temporary Release Law. The amendments specify that no applicants for the program convicted of any of three particular offenses may participate in the program without the written approval of the Commissioner of Correctional Services.2 The effective date of the amended statute was September 1, 1977. Nevertheless, in August of 1977 the Department of Correctional Services, without having first promulgated regulations as required by the statute, engaged in a four step review procedure of 824 temporary release participants and removed 140 from the program.3

440 F. Supp. 933
The 140 inmates have brought this civil rights action and move for a preliminary injunction requiring the Department to reinstate them and to grant them hearings complete with the requirements of Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 92 S.Ct. 2593, 33 L.Ed.2d 484 (1972) before any future change in their status.4 For the reasons stated below, the injunction is granted

I.

A preliminary injunction may be granted only upon "a clear showing of either (1) probable success on the merits and possible irreparable injury or (2) sufficiently serious questions going to the merits to make them a fair ground for litigation and a balance of hardships tipping decidedly toward the party requesting preliminary relief." Triebwasser & Katz v. American Tel. & Tel., 535 F.2d 1356, 1358 (2d Cir. 1976); Sonesta International Hotels Corp. v. Wellington Associates, 483 F.2d 247, 250 (2d Cir. 1973) (emphasis in original). There is no doubt that the balance of hardships in this case tips decisively in favor of the participants in the temporary release program. While the Department of Correctional Services would of course be confronted with a significant administrative burden if prerevocation hearings are required in the case of these plaintiffs,5 that hardship cannot be equated with the plaintiffs' continuing loss of the substantial freedom and range of opportunity which they enjoyed before the August pullback, and of which they have been deprived not because of fault but because of a restructuring of the statute. An injunction may not be granted, however, unless plaintiffs also raise questions which are sufficiently serious to create "a fair ground for litigation." This condition requires analysis of the merits of their case.

II.

Plaintiffs argue that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects them against removal from the temporary release program without a prior hearing. Two factors govern the determination whether due process calls for a hearing: whether plaintiffs have suffered a "grievous loss" of a liberty or property interest, Morrissey v. Brewer, supra, 408 U.S. at 481, 92 S.Ct. 2593; Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee v. McGrath, 341 U.S. 123, 71 S.Ct. 624, 95 L.Ed. 817 (1951) (Frankfurter, Jr., concurring), and whether they have an "entitlement" to this liberty or property interest arising out of federal or state law or practice. Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 96 S.Ct. 2532, 49 L.Ed.2d 451 (1976); Montanye v. Haymes, 427 U.S. 236, 96 S.Ct. 2543, 49 L.Ed.2d 466 (1976).

A. Grievous Loss

Plaintiffs analogize removal from a temporary release program to parole revocation and to loss of conditional release rights, which are well-recognized to constitute grievous losses of liberty, meriting due process protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Morrissey v. Brewer, supra, 408 U.S. 471, 92 S.Ct. 2593, 33 L.Ed.2d 484;

440 F. Supp. 934
United States ex rel. Bey v. Connecticut, 443 F.2d 1079 (2d Cir. 1971); Zurak v. Regan, 550 F.2d 86 (2d Cir. 1977). The argument runs that, like parolees, temporary release participants enjoy a form of conditional liberty: they may spend up to fourteen hours a day outside prison, participating in employment or schooling. Indeed, the very purpose of temporary release is to lessen the shock of returning to society by offering much of the freedom of parole. While the temporary release participant, unlike a parolee, must normally return to his work release facility at night, even this distinction is not overwhelming since overnight and weekend furloughs are commonly available. Plaintiffs also compare their loss to impairment of the interest in conditional release, which was held in Zurak v. Regan, supra, 550 F.2d 86, to require due process protection. Zurak and the parole revocation cases, plaintiffs argue, establish that a broad range of interests in conditional liberty are entitled to the safeguards of the Fourteenth Amendment

The comparison between these forms of conditional freedom is persuasive. However, plaintiffs are not limited to analogy in establishing that the magnitude of harm resulting from loss of temporary release status is enough to invoke due process. This Circuit has already held that inability even to commence participation in such a program works a grievous loss. In Cardaropoli v. Norton, 523 F.2d 990 (2d Cir. 1975), an inmate contested his classification, without formal notice or explanation, as a special offender, a classification which made him ineligible to apply for certain rehabilitative programs, including work release. The Court of Appeals held that such ineligibilities constituted a grievous loss requiring at least the basic elements of due process. This decision finds recent support in the Seventh Circuit's holding in Holmes v. United States Board of Parole, 541 F.2d 1243 (7th Cir. 1976), in which the classification of an inmate as a special offender without a prior hearing was invalidated on the reasoning of Cardaropoli. The Holmes court held further that the Supreme Court's ruling in Meachum, supra, 427 U.S. 215, 96 S.Ct. 2532, 49 L.Ed.2d 451 (which followed Cardaropoli by a year) did not...

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16 practice notes
  • Dugar v. Coughlin, 83 Civ. 7471 (JES).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • July 11, 1985
    ...in Greenholtz and Dumschat. In light of those cases, this Court disagrees with the statement of the district court in Tracy, see 440 F.Supp. 930, 934 (S.D.N.Y. 1977), that due process rights attach to the initial determination regarding participation in a TRP. Cf. Boothe v. Hammock, 605 F.2......
  • Negron v. Ward, No. 74 Civ. 1480.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • October 16, 1978
    ...confinement at Matteawan, combined with formal commitment proceedings, created a "reasonable expectation," see Tracy v. Salamack, 440 F.Supp. 930, 934-36 (S.D.N.Y. 1977), modified on other grounds, 572 F.2d 393 (2d Cir. 1978), modified on other grounds, Order on Petition for Rehearing, # 77......
  • Quartararo v. Hoy, No. 93-CV-4059 (JS)(MDG).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • September 25, 2000
    ...restoration to work release would endanger the community, the Court has considered and rejected this possibility. See Tracy v. Salamack, 440 F.Supp. 930, 936 (S.D.N.Y. 1977) ("No one can reject cavalierly a suggestion that the security of the community may be jeopardized by a particular dec......
  • Jenkins v. Fauver
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • July 27, 1987
    ...program unless a change of facts had occurred since the original determination permitting the inmates' participation. Tracy v. Salamack, 440 F.Supp. 930, 936-37 The Second Circuit Court of Appeals held, however, that the prisoners' rights could be modified by a statutory change, observing t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Dugar v. Coughlin, 83 Civ. 7471 (JES).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • July 11, 1985
    ...in Greenholtz and Dumschat. In light of those cases, this Court disagrees with the statement of the district court in Tracy, see 440 F.Supp. 930, 934 (S.D.N.Y. 1977), that due process rights attach to the initial determination regarding participation in a TRP. Cf. Boothe v. Hammock, 605 F.2......
  • Negron v. Ward, No. 74 Civ. 1480.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • October 16, 1978
    ...confinement at Matteawan, combined with formal commitment proceedings, created a "reasonable expectation," see Tracy v. Salamack, 440 F.Supp. 930, 934-36 (S.D.N.Y. 1977), modified on other grounds, 572 F.2d 393 (2d Cir. 1978), modified on other grounds, Order on Petition for Rehearing, # 77......
  • Quartararo v. Hoy, No. 93-CV-4059 (JS)(MDG).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • September 25, 2000
    ...restoration to work release would endanger the community, the Court has considered and rejected this possibility. See Tracy v. Salamack, 440 F.Supp. 930, 936 (S.D.N.Y. 1977) ("No one can reject cavalierly a suggestion that the security of the community may be jeopardized by a particular dec......
  • Jenkins v. Fauver
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • July 27, 1987
    ...program unless a change of facts had occurred since the original determination permitting the inmates' participation. Tracy v. Salamack, 440 F.Supp. 930, 936-37 The Second Circuit Court of Appeals held, however, that the prisoners' rights could be modified by a statutory change, observing t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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