The Third Department confirmed the determination finding petitioner-inmate guilty of urging others to participate in a demonstration at the prison. There was a video of the meeting where the demonstration was allegedly planned. An officer who witnessed the meeting and testified about it apparently viewed the video. Petitioner made timely requests for the video, but it was never provided. The dissent argued the failure to retain and provide the video of the alleged meeting required that the determination be annulled:
From the dissent:
The sergeant and the correction officer have described two distinctly different meetings, one involving 12 people, the other 30 to 40 … . This discrepancy heightens the relevance of the … video, as does the fact that the sergeant viewed the video and the Hearing Officer was uncertain whether that viewing occurred before or after the undefined retention period expired. Complicating matters, the Hearing Officer noted the three-week delay between the … meeting and issuance and service of the misbehavior report on petitioner.
… In a situation such as this, where there is an extended delay in issuing a misbehavior report and the author of that report has in fact reviewed a video, it is incumbent upon the correctional facility to preserve that evidence … . The failure to do so here compromised petitioner’s due process right to a fair evidentiary hearing … . That is particularly so in view of the sergeant’s affirmative testimony as to what ostensibly happened in the E-yard on May 29, 2020. It is further evident that the Hearing Officer should have, but failed to, inquire further as to the existence of the video or the circumstances of its deletion … Matter of Headley v Annucci, 2022 NY Slip Op 03166, Third Dept 5-12-22
Practice Point: Inmates subjected to disciplinary actions by prison authorities have due process rights. Here the dissent argued that the failure to preserve and provide a video of the meeting at which petitioner-inmate allegedly planned a prison demonstration deprived him of his due process rights. The dissenter would have annulled the determination on that ground.