[Ppnews] Seth Hayes letter of formal complaint

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Nov 21 08:56:29 EST 2006

Phone Campaign for Robert Seth Hayes

I went to visit Seth on November 19, 2006, as we had received alarming
news that his cell had been ransacked by guards in an incident similar to
what recently occurred with Russell Maroon Shoats.

Seth told me he returned from the gym to find his cell had been ransacked.
He is missing his 2006 Certain Days calendar, the 2007 Certain Days
calendar he had just received from the Calendar Committee, the Buffalo
Forum sent by supporters in Buffalo, some of his personal letters, and his
phone list.

Seth was told he was going to be written up for the infraction of having
"contraband" literature, despite the fact that the calendars and the
Buffalo Forum had already been approved by the prison before he received
them. As Seth said, "And my phone list is certainly not contraband, but
maybe they want to share it with the FBI."

Of course, since Seth is currently appealing his fifth parole denial, he
is sure the prison would love to be able to place any infraction in his
record. He is asking that people call the warden at 716-937-4000 and
demand that the items taken from his cell be returned to him. Be sure to
mention his DIN number: 74-A-2280.

It would also be great for Seth to receive letters of support at this
time. Please write to him at:

Robert Seth Hayes #74-A-2280
Wende Correctional Facility
Wende Rd., PO Box 1187
Alden, NY 14004-1187


Wende Correctional Facility
Robert Seth Hayes
#74A-2280 A-2-17

Superintendent, Robert Kirkpatrick
Wende correctional facility

                                                         FORMAL COMPLAINT

14, 2006

Superintendent Kirkpatrick,

I know you are quite busy with daily activities, so I will make this 
one complaint as brief as possible. My formal complaint concerns the 
actions of your officers who I believe were acting outside the 
employee's manual. Doing so, they broke protocol, causing a breach in 
the smooth and appropriate function and structure of this facility. 
My personal dignity and self-worth were called into question, and to 
this day, no formal resolution has come forth from either officers or 
Sergeant (area Supervisor) of A block. The problem occurred as follows:

1. On November 8, 2006 while en route to the gym for recreation, I 
passed through the metal detector with the following: (1) New York 
Times newspaper, (2) print-outs of Yahoo! web page contents and one 
Upbeat newsletter. All permissible items carried to gym on more than 
one occasion. On the above date, approximately 9:24 a.m. these items 
were reviewed by CO Kyle. Upon seeing the Yahoo! Web sheets, he 
immediately questioned me on where I got them from. I explained that 
they came to me via the mail. CO Kyle stated they were illegal. I 
countered by explaining they were not and had come to me via the mail 
room. He sought out Sergeant Higley for clarification and I heard 
Sergeant Higley state to Kyle, "yes they were permissible. Inmates 
are entitled to receive said print out so long as it was only five 
pages per envelope." But in deference to CO Kyle, Sergeant Higley 
informed me that I shouldn't be taking this material to the gym. That 
the gym was for recreation. Therefore, the Yahoo! would be turned 
over to the Hall Captain of A block and I could retrieve them after 
recreation period. First, I'd like to point out that reading material 
is permissible in the gym and other recreation areas per policy and 
procedure. I did not discuss this with Sergeant Higley, but accepted 
his decision and went to recreation without the Yahoo! materials.

2. At the conclusion of recreation period and in route to my cell 
(A-2-17), upon entering 2 co. gallery, I was informed by my floor 
officer that my cell was being frisked and that I needed to proceed 
to the gun walk where I could stand outside my cell and observe. I 
complied. In my cell I observed CO Hartfield (like CO Kyle, from B 
block) engaged in a thorough cell frisk.  After approximately 15 
minutes of my watching he exited my cell carrying a manila folder 
stuffed with papers. I asked him where he was taking the folder and 
he stated, "this stuff is leaving for inspection." I then asked if I 
might see what it was he was taking and he briefly exposed the 
contents to me. I saw inside Yahoo! pages, what appeared to be a 
Buffalo Forum newsletter folded in half and a quantity of papers I 
could not tell what was written on them. I immediately recognized the 
folder as one that I kept beside my bed holding copies of letters I'd 
previously written and expressed that to CO Hartfield. Officer 
Hartfield stated to me, "I don't know anything about that." I then 
asked him did he know what it was he was taking from my cell? He 
replied to me, "I've been doing this job over 20 years, I know what 
I'm doing." I left off the discussion and entered my cell to make assessment.

3. Upon immediate search I learned that several things were not in 
the cell. (A) I had just received two days prior a printout of my 
approved telephone listings. That was gone. (B) I happened to glance 
at the wall over my lockers and discovered that my 2006 calendar was 
missing. After searching I discovered that not only was the 2006 
calendar missing, but (C) the recently received through the mail, 
2007 calendar was missing as well. To the best of my recollection, 
calendars have never been considered hostile, especially having come 
through correspondence without any indication that it did not pass muster.

4. Reading the cell frisk notification sheet and Officer Hartfield's 
comments on items removed from my cell which read, "(1) one bundle of 
papers." There was no itemized listing of papers removed.

I am still in the process of determining what was removed and that's 
proven difficult. I know for a fact that the above listed items have 
disappeared without reason per the cell frisk removal.

I spoke with Sergeant Hinckley on November 9, 2006. I inquired about 
what happened to the Yahoo! papers taken from me to be delivered to A 
Block Hall Captain. Sergeant Higley's response was that "they were 
turned over to Officer Hartfield who performed your cell frisk." I 
also spoke with the Hall Captain concerning whether or not an 
itemized listing was filed and left in the block concerning my cell 
frisk and was informed no. That I should read the cell frisk 
notification for items taken. I explained what the slip stated and he 
himself seemed surprised by what I stated.

Thereafter I contacted my attorney, family and friends, communicating 
this matter. We all agree that what occurred is dangerous and needed 
investigation. Protocol was breached and procedure violated. What was 
taken did not confirm the cell frisk standards. The fact that 
correctional Officer Hartfield stated he had over 20 years in 
corrections indicates to me that the search crossed the line and was 
intended to convey a message other than removal of alleged 
questionable materials. I/we are seeking a full investigation and 
return of materials described above and other materials in hand.

Further that some type of standards be set in place to offset this 
type of protocol violation. I feel at this point, that no real reason 
ever existed for a cell search. That CO Kyle took exception to the 
material in my possession and called on his coworker to perform the 
cell frisk to destroy the cell. As an afterthought, several 
non-contraband items were removed to convey a message of next time 
you won't be so lucky. Finally, the worrisome part is, by taking a 
printout of my updated telephone listing, Hartfield took with him the 
names, addresses, telephone numbers and relations to me listed 
persons that I cannot for the life of me see why it was considered 
contraband. We have in place a media review system which makes lawful 
determinations whenever the question of unacceptable materials enters 
the facility. Why items were taken and why to date, nothing was 
returned or to date not itemized makes this entire act questionable.

I hope you will look into this matter. Question my facts and see for 
yourself that the search was both illegal and inflammatory. That no 
protocol was followed and the resulting state being, CO's carrying 
out private determinations outside their employee manuals, in 
violation of the superintendents handbook and creating an 
inflammatory circumstance.

This formal complaint is concluded at this time subject to revisit 
based upon newly discovered items missing listings. I hope to hear 
from you soon on this matter. I want to reiterate that to date, 
November 14, 2006, 6 days after initial search, no item listing of 
materials removed from cell or spoken word from any supervisor has 
been forthcoming.

Sincerely yours,

Robert Seth Hayes


CC:     Susan Tipograph, AAL
         American Civil Liberties Union
         NYS Comm. of Corr,
         NYC Bd. of Corr.

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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