United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.
The petition of Edward Harris for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. NCF XX-XX-XXXX. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Harris'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); Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000).
B. The Disciplinary Proceeding
On August 11, 2013, Harris was charged with the prison disciplinary offense of assault or battery (a "B" offense). This charged was based on a conduct report which states the following:
On the above date and approximate time I ofc. Chamness witnessed two offenders standing at ofc desk area. Offenders Harris, E #220296 and Greer, L 876141 were arguing with each other and Harris, E #220296 drew his arm back and hit Greer #876141 in the chest [with] his fist.
On August 11, 2013, Harris was notified of the charge and served him with the screening report. This report notified Harris of his rights. Harris pled not guilty and requested assistance from a lay advocate. He indicated he wished to call Sargent Barton as a witness but declined to request physical evidence.
The hearing was postponed until September 9, 2013, due to a time constraint and the delay in obtaining the witness statement. A hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing and found Harris guilty of the charge of assault or battery. Officer Smith served as lay advocate. During the hearing, Harris provided the following statement: "He was hitting me with a stick. I grabbed it and I did not hit him. She told me to let it go and I did."
In lieu of testifying at the hearing, Sargent Barton provided the following written statement: "I have no knowledge of this incident. As you can see, this happened during dayshift and I was not on shift."
The hearing officer found that the charge was supported by the conduct report and the witness statements. Based upon the recommendation of the hearing officer, the following sanctions were imposed: 30 days' loss of commissary and telephone privileges; a 90-day disciplinary segregation suspended; a 90-day deprivation of earned credit time; and a demotion in credit class.
Harris argues that he is entitled to habeas relief because the evidence was insufficient to support the charge and the sanctions ...