United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
MICHAEL D. PREER, Petitioner,
BRIAN SMITH, Respondent.
ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, District Judge.
The petition of Michael Preer for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. IYC XX-XX-XXXX. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Preer's habeas petition must be denied.
Prisoners in Indiana custody may not be deprived of good-time credits, Cochran v. Buss, 381 F.3d 637, 639 (7th Cir. 2004) (per curiam), or of credit-earning class, Montgomery v. Anderson, 262 F.3d 641, 644-45 (7th Cir. 2001), without due process. The due process requirement is satisfied with the issuance of advance written notice of the charges, a limited opportunity to present evidence to an impartial decision maker, a written statement articulating the reasons for the disciplinary action and the evidence justifying it, and "some evidence in the record" to support the finding of guilt. Superintendent, Mass. Corr. Inst. v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985); Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 570-71 (1974); Piggie v. Cotton, 344 F.3d 674, 677 (7th Cir. 2003).
B. The Disciplinary Proceeding
On May 26, 2012, Correctional Officer T. Fields wrote a report of conduct in case IYC XX-XX-XXXX charging Preer with possession of an illegal substance. The Conduct Report states:
On 5/26/12 at approximately 3:00 am I officer. [sic] was conducting a targeted shakedown of offender Preer Michael 945378 of HUC N-unit cell 16U. Upon searching the cell I observed a strong odor that resembled possible illicit substance coming from lower bunk drawer. I then observed the smell coming from inside the bed, so I unscrewed the middle panel where the mattress lays. Upon lifting the panel I observed two white gym socks tied in a knot. I untied the knot and observed several unknown items. I then secured the items, and continued my search with nothing else found. Once I completed the cell search, I then noticed 6 folded commissary sheets that contained green leafy substance, two larger bag[, ] containing a green leafy substance, and nine individually wrapped packs containing an unknown [sic] of white powder/rock substance. I the [sic] questioned both offenders on who these items belonged to and no one would admit to who's they were. A confiscation form was written and evidence placed in locker.
On May 31, 2012, Preer was notified of the charge of possession of an illegal substance and served with the Conduct Report and the notice of disciplinary hearing "Screening Report." Preer was notified of his rights, pled not guilty, and requested the appointment of a lay advocate He requested a witness and requested the following evidence: Photo/Confiscation Slip/Statements. The hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing in IYC XX-XX-XXX on June 2, 2012, and found Preer guilty of the charge of possession or use of a controlled substance. In making this determination, the hearing officer considered the offender's statements, Conduct Report, staff reports, and evidence from witnesses. The hearing officer issued the following sanctions: 90 day earned credit time loss and a demotion from credit class 1 to credit class 2. The hearing officer imposed the sanctions because of the seriousness of the charge; the offender's attitude and demeanor during the hearing; the degree to which the violation disrupted/endangered the security of the facility; and the likelihood of the sanction having a corrective effect on the offender's future behavior.
Preer appealed to the Facility Head on June 9, 2012. The Facility Head denied the appeal on June 21, 2012. Preer's appeal to the Final Reviewing Authority was denied on August 6, 2012. In denying Preer's appeal, the Final Reviewing Authority stated:
Your appeal on disciplinary action taken against you in the above-cited case has been received.
I have reviewed all the issues brought to the Superintendent on appeal. There is no evidence of procedural or due process error. The conduct report is clear and does support the charge. The sanctions imposed were within the guidelines of the Disciplinary Code for Adult Offenders.