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Hale v. Superintendent, New Castle Correctional Facility

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

March 11, 2015

MICHAEL HALE, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT, NEW CASTLE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, Respondent.

ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, District Judge.

The petition of Michael Hale for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as NCN XX-XX-XXXX. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Hale's habeas petition must be denied.

Discussion

A. Standard

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).

B. The Disciplinary Hearing

On November 8, 2013, Officer Tharp wrote a Report of Conduct in case NCN XX-XX-XXXX charging Hale with resisting. The Report of Conduct states:

On the above date and approximate time, I Ofc. K Tharp and Ofc. T. Jones were escorting Offender Hale, Michael #884687 to his cell 0-3-112 returning from C.A.B. Upon placing Offender Hale in his cell, Ofc. T. Jones attempted to unsecure the mechanical restraints from the offender. At this time the offender pulled away from Ofc. Jones and ran toward the opposite( sic ) side of his cell. I Ofc. K. Tharp had the lead strap in my hands at this time and took a step back to brace myself, once the offender had extended the lead he was then pulling away from Ofc. Jones and myself. I Ofc. Tharp and Ofc. Jones gave the offender a direct order to stop resisting us and to return to the cuff port. The offender after resisting for approx. 10 sec. then returned to allow Ofc. T. Jones to remove the restraints. Supervisors and medical were informed.

Officer Jones also provided a statement describing this same conduct. On November 13, 2013, Hale was notified of the charge of resisting and served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing "Screening Report". Hale was notified of his rights, pled not guilty and requested the appointment of a lay advocate. He requested a witness, the Offender is cell 103, and requested evidence of medical complications as physical evidence.

The hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing in NCN XX-XX-XXXX on November 21, 2013, and found Hale guilty of the charge of resisting. In making this determination, the hearing officer considered the staff reports and medical pictures and assessment. The hearing officer approved the following sanctions: a written reprimand, 30 days lost commissary and phone privileges, and a 45 day deprivation of earned credit time. Hale appealed to the Facility Head on November 23, 2013. The Facility Head denied the appeal on December 3, 2013. Hale's appeal to the Appeal Review Officer was denied on January 15, 2014.

C. Analysis

Hale challenges the disciplinary action taken against him, arguing 1) the evidence was insufficient to support the charge; 2) he was denied an impartial decision maker; 3) his requested continuance was denied; 4) he was not allowed to testify at the hearing.

1. Sufficiency of the Evidence

First, Hale argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. To satisfy the demands of due process, the determination of guilt need only be supported by "some evidence in the record." Hill, 472 U.S. at 454. The "some evidence" standard is lenient, "requiring only that the decision not be arbitrary or without support in the record." McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir. 1999). This standard "does not require evidence that logically precludes any conclusion but the one reached by the disciplinary board." Hill, 472 U.S. at 457. A conduct ...


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