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Felder v. Smith

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

October 21, 2014

JOHN B. FELDER, Petitioner,
v.
BRIAN SMITH, Respondent.

ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

TANYA WALTON PRATT, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by John B. Felder ("Mr. Felder") challenging a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. IYC XX-XX-XXXX (Filing No. 1). For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Felder's Petition must be

DENIED.

I. OVERVIEW

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

II. THE DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING

On November 24, 2012, Correctional Officer T. Fulford wrote a Report of Conduct that charged Mr. Felder with class B offense 213, Threatening. The Report of Conduct states:

On November 24, 2012 at approximately 9:15 pm I, Officer T. Fulford, while conducting Formal Count in the F-Unit Bed Area was approached by Offender Felder, John (DOC# 906416, F1-7L) with questions regarding the ice scooper that is used in F-Unit. Offender Felder claimed that their ice scooper had been removed from the unit by another Officer and that they did not have one to use. I informed Offender Felder that there are four ice scoopers total for South Dorm and that I would fix the problem once I was done with my count and had a chance to further look into the situation. Offender Felder proceeded to shout to me as I was walking away that Officer Louzon, who was counting with me, was the Officer who took their scooper and I replied to him that "I do not care who has the scooper, the problem will be solved after count is cleared." As I kept walking to conduct my count, he continued to yell. I then clearly saw and heard Offender Felder angrily shout "You better care because if you come back into the unit you will get the shit slapped out of you." Officer Louzon and I proceeded to finish our count and after it had cleared Offender Felder was then brought to the Sergeant's Office and Offender Felder was counseled by the Sergeant. Offender Felder was then escorted by walk staff to HSU for evaluation and then to Segregation per the Shift Supervisor.

Filing No. 13, at ECF 1.

On November 26, 2012, Mr. Felder was notified of the charge of class B offense 213, Threatening, when he was served with the conduct report and the notice of disciplinary hearing (screening report). Mr. Felder was notified of his rights and pled not guilty. He requested three offenders as witnesses. As to physical evidence, Mr. Felder requested a video review of the F Unit bed from 9:10 p.m. to 9:20 p.m. to show where the officer was, and the F unit day room from 8:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to show who took the scoop. A note on the Screening Report indicates that Mr. Felder's three witnesses would testify that they "did not hear Off. Felder make a threat."

A witness statement from Officer Louzon stated the following:

On 11-24-12 at 12:00am I Officer B. Louzon was counting F-Unit with Officer T. Fulford when we came across F1-7L which was Offender Felder, John D.O.C. # 906416. Offender J. Felder asked Officer T. Fulford about their ice scoop and Officer T. Fulford replied that we were taking care of it and that he didn't need to worry about it. Offender J. Felder then started to talk back to Officer T. Fulford and I then did clearly see and hear Offender J. Felder state that Officer T. Fulford was "going to get the shit slapped out of him". We then wrote down his bunk, finished counting and came back and escorted him to the Sergeant's office after count was clear.

Filing No. 13, at ECF 3.

The statement on the Evidence/Video Review Form, completed by Officer C. Feldkamp ("the Hearing ...


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