The Third Department, annulling the misbehavior determination, found that record did not reflect that the hearing officer took the necessary steps to confirm the reliability of confidential information:
Although the Hearing Officer indicates that he relied upon and independently assessed confidential testimony, neither the hearing transcript nor the witness interview notice form reflects that any confidential testimony was taken during the hearing or that any confidential documents were reviewed. As to the relevant statement from the confidential informant, “[a] disciplinary determination may be based upon hearsay confidential information provided that it is sufficiently detailed and probative for the Hearing Officer to make an independent assessment of the informant’s reliability” … .
Here, the author of the misbehavior report simply testified with regard to the confidential informant that he had received information from the confidential informant in the past and deemed the current information accurate. Other than this general and conclusory testimony, no further details regarding the basis for the information or the results of the author’s investigation into the incident were provided. Moreover, evidence at the hearing contradicted the confidential information. Specifically, the inmate who petitioner allegedly sent to the visit room to pick up drugs had not, according to the visit room log, been to the visit room in over three weeks prior to the alleged incident. In view of the foregoing, neither the testimony or evidence at the hearing was sufficiently detailed or probative for the Hearing Officer to assess the reliability or credibility of the confidential informant. Matter of Brown v Annucci, 2020 NY Slip Op 02343, Third Dept 4-23-20