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Lawson v. Smith

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

October 1, 2014

JEREMY LAWSON, Petitioner,
v.
BRIAN SMITH, Respondent.

ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.

The petition of Jeremy Lawson 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, Lawson's habeas petition must be denied.

A. Overview

Prisoners in Indiana custody may not be deprived of good-time credits, Cochran v. Buss, 381 F.3d 637, 639 (7th Cir. 2004), 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); Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000).

B. The Disciplinary Proceeding

On February 10, 2013, Officer Willever wrote a Report of Conduct in case IYC XX-XX-XXXX charging Lawson with engaging in an unauthorized financial transaction. The conduct report states:

On 2-10-2013 at approximately 6:40 P.M., I Officer M. Willever, while monitoring the PCS Offender Phone Services, did clearly hear Miss Amanda Ryan recite to Offender Lawson, Jeremy #163040 a 14 digit number in code. (Amanda, Grandpa, Lori, Wesley, grandpa, Amanda, Amanda, Jeremy, Josh, Lori, Jerry, Grandma, Grandpa, Jerry). These names add to 14. Furthermore, at 15:22 during the call Offender Lawson said, "Them are 14 digits, honey." The call occurred on 2013 02 10 at 1832 (6:32) and at 06:20 during the call.

[Filing no. 12-1]. On February 11, 2013, Lawson was notified of the charge of engaging in an unauthorized financial transaction and was given a copy of the conduct report and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing "Screening Report." He was notified of his rights and pled not guilty. He requested a lay advocate but did not request any witnesses. Lawson requested as physical evidence the PCS phone system. [Filing no. 12-2].

The hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing in IYC XX-XX-XXXX on February 11, 2013, and found Lawson guilty of the charge of engaging in an unauthorized financial transaction. [Filing no. 12-3]. In making this determination, the hearing officer considered the conduct report and the offender's statement. The hearing officer imposed the following sanctions: a 7 day suspension of phone privileges and a 30 day credit time deprivation. These sanctions were imposed because of the likelihood of the sanction having a corrective effect on the offender's future behavior. [Filing no. 12-3].

Lawson appealed the disciplinary proceeding through the administrative process. His appeals were denied. He now seeks relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254 arguing that his due process rights were violated.

C. Analysis

Lawson asserts he was deprived of due process. Specifically, he asserts that he was charged with the wrong offense and that he was denied evidence. Lawson received all the process to which he was entitled. That is, the charge was clear, adequate notice was given, and the evidence was sufficient.

First, Lawson asserts that he was charged with the wrong offense. He was charged with 220B engaging in unauthorized financial transaction. He claims he should have been charged with 306C possession of money/currency. [Filing no. 1, at ECF p. 3]. The definition for engaging in unauthorized financial transaction is:

Engaging in or possessing materials used for unauthorized financial transactions. This includes, but is not limited to, the use or possession of identifying information of credit cards, debit cards, or any ...

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