Matter of Hynes v. Fischer

Criminal Practice

New York Law Journal

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Justice Thomas Mercure

Inmate Hynes challenged a determination of the commissioner of Corrections and Community Supervision to place him in involuntary protective custody (IPC). Correction officials allegedly received anonymous letters that Hynes' safety was in jeopardy. It was recommended, and determined after a hearing, that Hynes be placed in IPC. The decision was upheld on administrative appeal. The court noted while Hynes was transferred, his challenge was not moot as he sought expungement of the determination from his record. It agreed with Hynes that the hearing officer failed to properly ascertain the reliability of the confidential information relied upon in concluding Hynes should be placed in IPC. Testifying officials were unable to identify the person writing the letters or articulate a reasonable basis for believing the threats were legitimate based on their own probe. Also, Hynes' request to have the sergeant who received one letter provide relevant testimony was denied. The panel found evidence consistent with Hynes' allegations the IPC recommendation was fabricated to have him transferred due to his involvement on inmate committees. The panel annulled the determination, concluding it was unsupported by substantial evidence.

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