Helling v. McKinney Page 2

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Media for Helling v. McKinney

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 13, 1993 in Helling v. McKinney

Frankie Sue Del Papa:

Because he is in a single cell now does not mean that he will always have a single cell.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Let me ask you another question while I have you interrupted.

To impose liability on the State here or the prison authorities, I suppose the plaintiff has to show that the prison authority is deliberately indifferent to any condition arising from secondary smoke.

Frankie Sue Del Papa:

Yes.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

And was that issue ever addressed in the courts below, deliberate indifference--

Frankie Sue Del Papa:

The--

Sandra Day O'Connor:

--In light of the policy of the prisons?

Frankie Sue Del Papa:

--Well, the informal policy, of course, was in place at the time.

And the magistrate specifically found no serious medical need nor deliberate indifference.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

The magistrate found no deliberate indifference.

Frankie Sue Del Papa:

Yes.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

And was that, then, reviewed?

Frankie Sue Del Papa:

Yes.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

That finding?

Frankie Sue Del Papa:

Yes.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

And what was the finding on review?

Frankie Sue Del Papa:

The finding on review... the court of appeals attempted to distinguish between a serious medical need of a present condition and a future condition.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

The deliberate indifference finding, was that ever addressed on review?

Frankie Sue Del Papa:

Well--

Sandra Day O'Connor:

That there was no deliberate indifference.

Frankie Sue Del Papa:

--The court of appeals on... wanted to remand this case because of the... the way that... well, they first, of course, found that they disagreed with... I'm sorry.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

I guess I'm trying to find out whether the court ever addressed the... the finding that there was no deliberate indifference.

Because it seems to me that if there is no deliberate indifference, there is no need to look at the objective question at all.

Frankie Sue Del Papa:

Well... and we would argue that, yes, they did review the deliberate indifference because they did find no abuse of discretion on... on the part of the magistrate.

However, it's complicated by the fact that she had found no constitutional right to a smoke-free environment, where they had found a different claim here.

And... and it is our contention--

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Is there any need to address the objective question if... if it's clear that there was no deliberate indifference?

Frankie Sue Del Papa:

--No.

John Paul Stevens:

Well, didn't the deliberate indifference go to two different issues?

One, whether he had a medical condition that had not been adequately taken care of.