Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U.S. 730, 19 (2002)

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Thomas, J., dissenting

on-the-spot discipline. The vitality of Gates and Ort could not seriously be questioned in light of our own decisions holding that gratuitous infliction of punishment is unconstitutional, even in the prison context, see supra, at 737 (citing Whitley v. Albers, 475 U. S., at 319; Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U. S., at 346).

The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed.

It is so ordered.

Justice Thomas, with whom The Chief Justice and Justice Scalia join, dissenting.

The Court today subjects three prison guards to suit based on facts not alleged, law not clearly established, and its own subjective views on appropriate methods of prison discipline. Qualified immunity jurisprudence has been turned on its head.


Petitioner Larry Hope did not file this action against the State of Alabama. Nor did he sue all of the Alabama prison guards responsible for looking after him in the two instances that he was handcuffed to the restraining bar.1 He chose instead to maintain this lawsuit against only three prison guards: Officer Gene McClaran, Sergeant Mark Pelzer, and Lieutenant Jim Gates. See 240 F. 3d 975, 977, n. 2 (CA11 2001).2 It is therefore strange that in the course of deciding that none of the three respondents is entitled to qualified

1 Despite the Court's consistent use of the term "hitching post," the apparatus to which petitioner was handcuffed is a "restraining bar." See Ala. Dept. of Corrections Admin. Reg. No. 429, p. 1 (Oct. 26, 1993), reprinted in App. 102.

2 While petitioner also sued five other guards in connection with the fight that occurred before he was affixed to the restraining bar on June 7, 1995, he later withdrew his claims against them and asked that they be dismissed from the case. See 240 F. 3d, at 977, n. 2; Plaintiff's Special Report and Brief in Response to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ND Ala.), pp. 1-2, 5-6, Record, Doc. No. 33.

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