Do Employees of Department of Correctional Services Get Absolute Immunity for Discharging Their Duties ?
In Arteaga v. State of New York (72 NY2d 212), the Court of Appeals held that defendant is absolutely immune for the actions of employees of the Department of Correctional Services in preparing and filing misbehavior reports, confining inmates and making dispositions following Superintendent's hearings (72 NY2d 212, supra).
Although Arteaga arose in the context of inmate disciplinary proceedings, the Court's reasoning left little doubt that the same result should attach to administrative segregation proceedings.
The Court concluded that charging inmates with misbehavior, conducting inmate disciplinary proceedings and making decisions about pre-and posthearing confinement were quasi-judicial in nature and deserving of absolute immunity because those activities "entail discretionary decisions in furtherance of general policies and purposes where the exercise of reasoned judgment can produce different acceptable results" (Arteaga v. State of New York, 72 NY2d 212, 219, supra).
Addressing the issue of prehearing confinement specifically, the Court said that "in determining whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that an inmate represents an immediate threat to the safety, security or order of the facility (7 NYCRR 251-1.6) and that they should, therefore, confine the inmate ... correction officers fulfill a role that is in a sense judicial." (Supra, at 219-220.)