Hewitt v. Helms

LOCATION:Briarcrest Christian Academy

DOCKET NO.: 81-638
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

CITATION: 459 US 460 (1983)
ARGUED: Nov 08, 1982
DECIDED: Feb 22, 1983

Leroy S. Zimmerman – on behalf of Petitioners
Richard G. Fishman – on behalf of Respondent

Facts of the case


Media for Hewitt v. Helms

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – November 08, 1982 in Hewitt v. Helms

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – February 22, 1983 in Hewitt v. Helms

William H. Rehnquist:

In the second of the two cases, Hewitt against Helms comes on a writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Aaron Helms, the respondent, was serving a prison term in a Pennsylvania prison.

During his term, he was involved in a riot which several prison guards were injured.

As a result, the prison officials confined Helms to what they called “administrative segregation.”

This meant that he would be restricted to his cell.

The officials ordered this confinement because they believe Helms pose a threat to the security and safety of other prisoners and guards at the prison.

They were also investigating the possibility that misconduct charges should be brought against him because of his role in the prison riot.

Helms later sued the officials in the Federal District Court, claiming United States Constitution required the prison officials to hold a formal trial-like hearing before they could place him in an administrative segregation.

The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit agreed with Helms and held that he had a right to a special hearing to determine whether it is proper to place him in administrative segregation.

We have concluded that while Helms was guaranteed some protection under state law and the Due Process Clause, the prison officials afford him all of the Constitution required.

Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Justice Stevens has filed a dissenting opinion joined by Justice Brennan and Justice Marshall and in part by Justice Blackmun.

Justice Blackmun has also filed an opinion concurring a part – concurring in part and dissenting in part.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Justice Rehnquist.