Unpublished Disposition, 907 F.2d 155 (9th Cir. 1990)Annotate this Case
Anant Kumar TRIPATI, Plaintiff-Appellant,v.William PERRILL, et al., Defendant-Appellee.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted June 6, 1990.* Decided July 5, 1990.
Before CANBY, NOONAN and RYMER, Circuit Judges.
Anant Kumar Tripati is a federal prisoner incarcerated at the Federal Corrections Institute (FCI) in La Tuna, Texas. He brought this suit alleging that various Bureau of Prisons personnel at the FCI in Tucson, Arizona violated his constitutional rights by retaliating against him for sending embarrassing information about the prisons to the press. The district court granted summary judgment if favor of the defendants. Tripati appeals.
In February 1988, appellant-Tripati sent a letter to the Arizona Daily Star which also contained a medical audit report pertaining to FCI Tucson. The letter stated Tripati possessed additional audit reports. The FCI investigated and found two copies of the medical audit in Tripati's possession.
A disciplinary hearing was held to determine whether Tripati should be sanctioned for his possession of the audits. The FCI determined the audits were not stolen but that the audits were not authorized for possession and thus were contraband pursuant to the Prison Guidelines. Tripati was required to forfeit 30 days statutory good time and to undergo a housing change.
Tripati argues that no Prison Guideline explicitly prohibited possession of the medical audits. He further argues he was not permitted to call important witnesses at the disciplinary hearing and finally that he was penalized not because he possessed contraband but was retaliated against for dispersing embarrassing material.
The Prison Guidelines set out the limitations on inmate property. Subsequent to detailing possessions that are permitted the Guidelines state "Contraband is defined as any item possessed by an inmate which has not been authorized for retention upon admission to this faculty, issued by authorized staff, purchased through the commissary or purchased or received through approved limits." Federal Prison System, Institutional Supplement 4 (1986). Although the Guidelines list some examples of contraband it is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Id. at 5. The medical reports were unauthorized and thus prohibited.
Tripati takes the position that he was denied his constitutional right to call two key witnesses in the disciplinary hearing. Tripati wanted to show through the Warden's testimony that the Warden learned of Tripati's possession of the audit reports through a letter written to the newspaper and through the Captain's testimony that the matter was investigated. Tripati was prohibited from calling the Warden and the Captain because such testimony was deemed irrelevant to the charge that he possessed contraband. This decision did not violate Tripati's due process rights. See Wolf v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 567 (1974) (officials may exercise discretion in permitting inmates to call witnesses at disciplinary hearings).
Tripati finally argues that he was not sanctioned for possession of contraband but retaliated against for giving embarrassing information about the prison to the press. Other than Tripati's own conclusory statements, there is no evidence in the record to support such a claim. The Warden had authority to place Tripati in detention and to order the forfeiture of statutory good time. 28 C.F.R. Secs. 541.13, 541.22. If there is any evidence in the record that supports a disciplinary board's conclusion, it must be upheld. Superintendent, Mass. Corrections Institution v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455 (1985). Because the prison authorities' action was proper, it cannot serve as the basis for a Bivens action.
Tripati also takes the position that appellee's counsel must be sanctioned pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 11. There is no basis for this argument.
The district court's orders granting appellee-defendant's motion for summary judgment and denying sanctions are AFFIRMED.