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Neal v. Superintendent

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

January 29, 2014

DAVID R. NEAL, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT, Respondent.

OPINION AND ORDER

RUDY LOZANO, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, filed by David R. Neal, a pro se prisoner challenging a prison disciplinary proceeding, on November 28, 2012 (DE #24). For the reasons set forth below, the petition (DE #24) is DENIED.

BACKGROUND

In MCF #XX-XX-XXX, Neal was found guilty of disorderly conduct. (DE #41-3 at 1.) The charge was initiated on April 9, 2012, when Sergeant C. Shaffer wrote a conduct report stating as follows:

On the above date and time I Sgt. C. Shaffer was posted on phase 2 yard when I was called via radio to signal 8 KHU ½ side. When I arrived I found Offender Neal, David 110281 sitting in the dayroom at a table refusing to go into his cell KHU 122. I tried to explain to Mr. Neal that he needed to go into his cell during count so Sgt. Evans could look into his bottom bunk pass. After explaining several times Neal still refused. After several verbal attempts to order Neal into his cell he still would not cooperate so Sgt. Evans and myself attempted to escort Offender Neal[.] [H]e then sat on the floor and refused to move. At this point I put him in a wheel chair and took him to SCU.

(DE #41-1.) Sergeant J. Evans also submitted the following witness statement:

On 4-9-12 at approximately 15:02 p.m. I Sgt. J. Evans called yard Sgt. C. Shaffer to K ½ side to assist in locking down offender Neal, David 110281 of K-122. I instructed Offender Neal to lockdown and he refused saying, "I'm not going in that cell. I have a bottom bunk, bottom range pass." I checked and found that Offender Neal did not have a bottom bunk or bottom range pass. When we attempted to secure offender Neal in the cell he put himself on the floor and refused to get up.

(DE #41-3 at 2.)

On April 11, 2012, Neal was formally notified of the charge and given a copy of the conduct report. (DE #41-1, DE #41-2.) He pled not guilty and requested a lay advocate. (DE 41-2.) He requested a review of the surveillance video as physical evidence, and requested a witness statement from a prison physician, Dr. Marandet (first name unknown), to attest that he had a bottom bunk pass. ( Id. )

Thereafter, a statement was obtained from a prison nurse, who looked through Neal's medical chart and stated that he did not have a current bottom bunk pass recommendation. (DE #41-3 at 3.) The hearing officer also reviewed the surveillance video per Neal's request, and summarized it as follows:

On the date of 4/9/2012 offender Neal comes into the unit with his property on a red cart. The property is unloaded at the dayroom table near cell 117/118 and offender Neal sits down at the table. At 15:02 Yard Sgt. Shaffer comes onto the range and begins to talk with this offender. 15:07 Sgt. Evans begins placing the offenders property into his cell. At this time, Sgt. Shaffer begins to assist offender Neal up from the stool and offender Neal kicks his right leg out and slides down onto the floor. Sgt. Shaffer tried to get the offender off the floor but the offender would not bring his legs up making all of his weight dead weight and not easily picked up. At 15:14 the offender is placed in a wheelchair by Sgt. Shaffer and C/O Huffman. Everyone is off unit at 15:15.

(DE #41-3 at 5.)

On April 17, 2012, a hearing was held on the charge. (DE #41-3 at 1.) Neal made the following statement, "I didn't do that. I slipped and fell. I couldn't get up." ( Id. ) Based on the evidence, the hearing officer found him guilty, resulting in the loss of earned-time credits and other ...


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