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Gulley v. Plainfield Corr. Facility

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

September 6, 2016

NICHOLAS A. GULLEY, Petitioner,
v.
PLAINFIELD CORR. FACILITY, Respondent.

          ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge United States District

         The petition of Nicholas Gulley for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. IYC 15-09-0285. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Gulley'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) (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 September 27, 2015, Sergeant Mead wrote a Conduct Report charging Mr. Gulley with trafficking. The Conduct Report states:

On 9-27-2015 at approximately 2:33 pm, I, Sgt M. Mead observed through video surveillance the visitation of Offender Gulley, Nicholas #961671 and Visitor April Sirosky in the offender visitation room. At approximately 2:33 pm Offender Gulley, Nicholas #961671, removed a black object from his mouth and wiped the object on his pants. After a more extensive review of the visit, it was discovered that at approximately 2:26pm Sirosky reaches into the left side of her bra appearing to conceal something in her hand. At approximately 2:27pm Sirosky is observed opening a Cracker Jack bag and she appears to be placing something inside the bag. At approximately 2:32pm, Offender Gulley is observed taking a black object out of the same Cracker Jack bag and placing it into his mouth, followed by removing the black object and wiping it on his pants at approximately 2:33pm. At approximately 2:36pm a black object is clearly observed in Offender Gulley's right hand and conceals the package in his mouth. Offender Gulley was ordered to place his hands behind, while placing his hands behind his head, he appears to put a black object in his mouth. The offender was then escorted out of the visitation room and strip searched. Offender Gulley was then escorted to HSU for Evaluation then to RSH where he was placed in yellow-25 on dry cell.

[Filing. No. 10-1 at 1.]

         Mr. Gulley was notified of the charge on September 29, 2015, when he received the Screening Report. Mr. Gulley did not request to call any witnesses, and he only requested the video as evidence. He plead not guilty to the charge.

         A video summary was prepared and states the following:

On [October 11, 2015], I DHO J. Faudree reviewed the Visit Room PTZ Camera for an incident that occurred on 9/27/15. After reviewing the camera I did clearly observe at 2:26:53PM visit[o]r April Sirosky reach in her shirt with her right hand. At 2:26:58PM she pulls her right hand out of her shirt. At 2:27:16PM she picks up a bag of Cracker Jacks. At 2:27:19PM she opens the bag of Cracker Jacks. At 2:27:27PM she is clearly observed dropping a black object into the Cracker Jack bag. At 2:27:29PM she gives the bag to Offender Gulley, Nicholas #961671. At 2:28:17PM Gulley reaches in the bag with his right ha[n]d. At 2:29:41PM pulls the object out of the Cracker Jack bag and places it in his mouth. At 2:33:19PM Gulley is clearly observed taking the black object with his right [hand] and wipe it on his left pant leg. At 2:35:59PM Gulley stands up and turns around. At 2:36:01PM the black object is clearly observed in Offender Gulley's right hand. At 2:36:03 the offender raises [h]is hand in an upward motion to his mouth.

[Filing No. 10-4 at 1.]

         A hearing was held on October 28, 2015. Mr. Gulley stated that Ms. Sirosky did not “place anything in the bag.” [Filing No. 10-5 at 1.] Based on Mr. Gulley's statement, the staff reports, and the video evidence, the hearing officer found Mr. Gulley guilty. The hearing officer recommended and approved the following sanctions: one-hundred-eighty-day earned-credit-time deprivation and a credit class demotion.

         Mr. Gulley appealed to the Facility Head. The Facility Head modified the offense from trafficking to aiding or abetting trafficking, but otherwise affirmed the decision. Mr. Gulley then appealed to the IDOC Final Reviewing Authority, who denied his appeal. He then ...


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