United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY GRANTING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AS
TO CLAIM OF INADEQUATE NOTICE
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge
petition of Keith White for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding, RDC 15-09-0022,
in which he was found guilty of attempting to engage in
trafficking. For the reasons explained in this entry, Mr.
White’s habeas petition must be granted as to his claim
that he was not given adequate notice.
in Indiana custody may not be deprived of credit time,
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); Jones v. Cross, 637 F.3d
841, 845 (7th Cir. 2011); Piggie v. Cotton, 344 F.3d
674, 677 (7th Cir. 2003); Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d
649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
September 22, 2015, Intelligence Analyst Eloiza issued a
Report of Conduct charging Mr. White with attempting to
engage in trafficking in violation of Code A-111/113. The
Report of Conduct states: “This conduct report is based
on information gathered and forwarded to the Office of
Investigations and Intelligence. See confidential case file
15-COA-0026. Refer any requests to the Office of
Investigations and Intelligence for limited access related to
this case file.” Dkt. 14-1.
White was notified of the charge on September 25, 2015, when
he was served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of
Disciplinary Hearing (Screening Report). The Screening
Officer noted that Mr. White did not want to call any
witnesses. Mr. White requested all documentation pertaining
to the offense, and a visitation schedule for “H”
cell house. He became very agitated when he was informed some
of the records were confidential, resulting in him being
removed from the screening.
Hearing Officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on October
2, 2015. The Hearing Officer noted Mr. White’s
statement, “I don’t [know] what they are accusing
me of. Something just don’t seem right about this whole
thing. Why didn’t they wait for the drugs and bust us
then.” Dkt. 14-4. Relying on the staff reports, the
statement of the offender, and the confidential Internal
Affairs report, the Hearing Officer determined that Mr. White
had violated Code A-111/113, attempting to traffic (drugs).
The sanctions imposed included a written reprimand, a
restriction of phone privileges, 60 days of disciplinary
segregation, the deprivation of 180 days of earned credit
time, and the demotion from credit class I to II. The Hearing
Officer imposed the sanctions because of the seriousness of
the offense and the degree to which the violation disrupted
or endangered the security of the facility.
White’s appeals were denied. This habeas action
White alleges that his due process rights were violated
during the disciplinary proceeding. Mr. White’s claims
are restated as: 1) he was not given adequate notice of the
charge; and, 2) the evidence was not sufficient to support
the finding of guilt.
White first argues that the conduct report did not give him
adequate notice to prepare a defense to the charge. A
prisoner has a right to notice of the charges against him
“in order to inform him of the charges and to enable
him to marshal the facts and prepare a defense.”
Wolff, 418 U.S. at 564. “The notice should
inform the inmate of the rule allegedly violated and
summarize the facts underlying the charge.”
Northern v. Hanks, 326 F.3d 909, 910 (7th Cir. 2003)
(citing Whitford v. Boglino, 63 F.3d 527, 534 (7th
respondent argues that although the conduct report itself did
not contain details regarding the offense, the Report of
Investigation of Incident (“Report of
Investigation”) included sufficient details of the
offense, including the specific offense charged, the
location, and the date the offense took place. The Report of
Investigation states, “Information gathered during
confidential case file 15-COA-0026 confirms that Offender
White, Keith 157565 was attempting to engage in trafficking
contraband into Pendleton Correctional Facility on 8/8/2015.
Contact the Office of Investigations and Intelligence for
limited viewing of this confidential case file.” Dkt.
White points out that he was not even given a copy of the
Report of Investigation when he was screened. Mr. White
asserts that he was not aware of the Report of Investigation
or what it stated until he received the return to order to
show cause and supporting documents in this action. Dkt. 22,
p. 3. The expanded record fails to show that Mr. White was
notified of or given a copy of the Report of Investigation at
any time prior to ...