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Helms v. Hewitt

June 29, 1983

AARON HELMS, APPELLANT
v.
LOWELL D. HEWITT, SUPERINTENDENT; B. B. KYLER, CO III; R. F. STOTELMYER, MAJOR; B. K. SMITH, COUNSELOR III; K. R. HILEMAN, FARM MANAGER; D. R. ERHARD, DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT FOR TREATMENT; T. W. HENRY, DIRECTOR OF TREATMENT; W. W. MATEER, C.I. MANAGER



ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA.

Garth and Rosenn, Circuit Judges, and Miller, Circuit Judge.*fn*

Order ON REMAND FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

In his complaint filed in the district court, the plaintiff alleged that he was removed from the general population and placed under less favorable conditions in administrative segregation without being afforded due process. He also averred that the subsequent adjudication of institutional disciplinary charges against him was constitutionally tainted by the substantive use of critical hearsay testimony allegedly obtained from an unidentified informant. The district court entered summary judgment for the defendants on both claims.

On appeal we reversed on both claims. Because we were unable to conclude on this record whether the defendants acted reasonably in light of existing law and with the requisite good faith in connection with Helms' confinement and restrictive custody, we left the issue of official immunity to the district court on remand. Helms v. Hewitt, 655 F.2d 487 (3d Cir. 1981). We also directed that on remand the defendants should be provided an opportunity to prove that they afforded Helms his constitutional rights before the Hearing Committee in the proceedings on December 8, 1978.

The defendants sought certiorari which the Supreme Court granted "to consider what limits the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment places on the authority of prison administrators to remove inmates from the general prison population and confine them to a less desirable regimen for administrative reasons." Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 462, 103 S. Ct. 864, 866, 74 L. Ed. 2d 675 (1983).*fn1

Predicated on the questions presented to the Supreme Court for certiorari*fn2 and its decision, we conclude that our judgment with respect to the second issue before this court, namely, the denial of due process when a prisoner's conviction on disciplinary charges rests solely on a hearsay report of an unidentified informant which offers no basis for an independent assessment of the informant's credibility or reliability, remains unaffected by the Supreme Court's mandate.

Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the judgment of this court filed June 30, 1981, be and the same is hereby vacated, only insofar as we directed a remand of the case to provide the defendants "an opportunity to prove that they afforded Helms his constitutional rights before the December 8 [Hearing Committee]." Helms v. Hewitt, supra, 655 F.2d at 500. Therefore, the judgment of the district court will be affirmed insofar as it dismissed plaintiff's claims based on the denial of due process in the proceedings before the Hearing Committee on December 8, 1978. In all other respects, the judgment of this court entered June 30, 1981, will remain in full force and effect.

The cause will be remanded for further proceedings consistent with our original opinion as modified.

Disposition

The cause will be remanded for further proceedings consistent with our original ...


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