Cleavinger v. Saxner,
474 U.S. 193 (1985)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Cleavinger v. Saxner, 474 U.S. 193 (1985)

Cleavinger v. Saxner

No. 84-732

Argued October 16, 1985

Decided December 10, 1985

474 U.S. 193


Respondent federal prison inmates were found guilty by the prison's Discipline Committee, composed of petitioner prison officials, of encouraging other inmates to engage in a work stoppage and of other charges, and were ordered to be placed in administrative detention and to forfeit a specified number of days of "good time." On appeals to the Warden and the Regional Director of the Bureau of Prisons, respondents were ordered released from administrative detention and all material relevant to the incident in question was ordered expunged from their records. They were later paroled and released. But in the meantime, they brought suit in Federal District Court against petitioners, alleging a violation of various federal constitutional rights and seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and damages. After initially dismissing the complaint on the ground that petitioners were entitled to absolute immunity from liability, the District Court, on reconsideration, reinstated the suit. The case was tried to a jury, which found that petitioners had violated respondents' Fifth Amendment due process rights, and awarded damages. The Court of Appeals affirmed, rejecting petitioners' claim for absolute immunity.

Held: Petitioners are entitled to only qualified immunity. Pp. 474 U. S. 199-208.

727 F.2d 669, affirmed.

BLACKMUN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BRENNAN, MARSHALL, POWELL, STEVENS, and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined. REHNQUIST, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BURGER, C.J., and WHITE, J., joined, post, p. 474 U. S. 208.

Page 474 U. S. 194

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