By Chris Zoukis
On Sept. 20, 2016 the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York upheld the conviction of state prisoner Aaron Isaiah Young for violating prison rules.
Young allegedly refused prison guard orders, and assaulted staff. During the altercation, multiple guards responded, and Young allegedly refused to comply with prison guard orders that he “stop resisting” (likely while being pummeled by multiple officers). He was charged with assaulting staff, refusing a direct order, engaging in violent conduct, creating a disturbance and making threats. After a “tier III” disciplinary hearing, Young was found guilty of all charges.
Pursuant to New York Civil Practice Law and Rules article 78, Young appealed the ruling to the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division. He sued Albert Prack, Director of Special Housing and Inmate Disciplinary Programs, alleging that the officers assaulted him first, “in retaliation for information that he had provided to another staff member.” The court ruled that this was a credibility question best resolved by the Hearing Officer, who did not believe Young.
Young also claimed that the Hearing Officer “failed to make a sufficient inquiry into the reasons why his five inmate witnesses” (all of whom executed witness refusal forms) refused to testify. However, the court found that the issue was not preserved, as Young did not object or request that the Hearing Officer make further inquiry.
Finally, the court rejected Young’s claim that he did not receive witness form 2176. The court noted that at the end of the hearing, the Hearing Officer discussed the form and read it into the record.
This article recently appeared in Prison Legal News in November 2016.