Supreme Court of Montana
990 P.2d 776 (Mont. 1999)
Sherman Hawkins (plaintiff) escaped from prison and his personal belongings in his cell were put into prison storage. A couple of days later, Hawkins was caught and returned to prison. He asked for his personal belongings to be returned, but the prison’s policy was that if an inmate escaped, he effectively abandoned his personal belongings and they would be destroyed or sold. Subsequently, Hawkins’s belongings were removed from the storage room and either destroyed or sold. Hawkins filed suit against five Montana State Prison officials and the State of Montana (defendants), claiming that the prison destroyed his property without due process of law. The district court ruled against Hawkins, finding that he had abandoned his property when he escaped from prison. Hawkins appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Trieweiler, J.)
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