by Chris Simon and Julian Heicklen

On January 17, 1998, when inmate Larry Hamilton CM­2796 was leaving the dining hall at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Graterford, he was pat searched by Trainee Marhold in a sexual manner. When witnessing inmates commented: "Damn look how he's checking dude," the officer said, "Yeah I like cocks." Mr. Hamilton told the officer he would report the incident, whereupon the officer filed a Misconduct Report saying that Hamilton had assaulted him. The misconduct was filed first because the prisonerÕs grievance took longer to process (misconducts are filed immediately upon submission). Therefore the grievance appeared to be retaliation for the Misconduct Report.

An Inmate Grievance was filed on January 26, 1998. Ir was returned because "grievances must be signed," and the inmate grievances must be addressed to the inmate Grievance Coordinator, except for issues related to inmate discipline and Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) procedures. The grievance was refiled properly on February 11, 1998. It was returned to Mr. Hamilton because "initial reviews must be submitted within 15 days after the event occurs." Written on the paper was a statement that even though it's a resubmission, it's 15 days after the date so is not valid.

The Disciplinary hearing was held on January 22, 1998, with Mary Camino presiding. Mr. Hamilton denied that he assaulted the officer. Mr. Hamilton claimed that he was ordered to put the milk on the table. He did. He was told to assume a position, which he claims he did. He was ordered to leave, and he went to the Bubble. He admits he had two milks—one in his hand and one in his pocket.

Three inmate witnesses testified on behalf of Mr. Hamilton. Ken Holmes BZЭ4028, A. Burns BY­9149, and Theo Jones DD­0734. Inmate Holmes testified that some guard said he likes cocks. He denied that Mr. Hamilton assaulted anyone. Mr. Hamilton was searched twice. Inmate Burns testified that Hamilton was leaving with one milk carton. The officer said I like cocks. He searched inmate Mr. Hamilton twice. Inmate Jones testified that Mr. Hamilton may have had two milks. Inmate Hamilton was searched twice.

The Misconduct Report claimed that the officer informed Mr. Hamilton to leave both cartons of milk behind. Mr. Hamilton was found with another carton of milk after the first one was left behind. Mr. Hamilton was ordered to leave the additional milk behind. Mr. Hamilton said he had nothing else as he tried to conceal the milk in his pocket. Mr. Hamilton was pat searched and ordered to leave the dining hall, but he refused. He was ordered to return to his cell and refused. He was ordered to stand fast at the kitchen door and refused. He said, "What are you trying to be, some kind of super cop?" Officer stepped in front of inmate to block his path, at which time the inmate repeatedly bumped the officer with his chest and shoulders.

The hearing examiner found Mr. Hamilton guilty as charged and sentenced him to 60 days in Disciplinary Custody (DC) in the RHU. In addition Mr. Hamilton's custody status was moved from 2 to 4.

Mr. Hamilton appealed the decision to the Program Review Committee (PRC). In his appeal, Mr. Hamilton states that he surrendered the milks he had and complied with all orders given. He claims that if he had any contact with the officer he would have been handcuffed and escorted to his cell and the door double locked. However, he was permitted to return to his cell unescorted. He had never received a misconduct charge stating he was disrespectful to staff members. He claims that the incident obviously resulted from a misunderstanding. The PRC sustained the action taken by the Hearing Examiner on this misconduct.