United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
William T. Lawrence, United States District Court Judge.
petition of Jesse Murphy for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
CIC 14-09-176. For the reasons explained in this Entry,
Murphy's habeas petition must be denied.
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).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
September 20, 2014, Sergeant Clark wrote a conduct report
that charged Murphy with class B offense 203, refusing to
submit to testing. The conduct report states:
On 9-20-2014 at approximately 11:25 A.M. I Sergeant M. Clark
was conducting a[n] I cup 8 panel drug test on Offender
Murphy, Jesse #925827 Cell 16A3E. During his strip search, I
saw a white object under his testic[les]. I then told him to
remove the object which was a small bottle with a liquid
inside. He dumped the bottle and tossed it in the trash. At
that time he refused further testing.
picture was taken of the bottle. On September 24, 2014,
Murphy was notified of the charge and served with the conduct
report and the notice of disciplinary hearing
“screening report.” Murphy was notified of his
rights, pled not guilty, and did not request the appointment
of a lay advocate.
the screening, Murphy requested Officers Johnson and Gordon
as witness and requested Indiana Department of Correction
(“IDOC”) Policy 01-02-107 as evidence. The
request for Officer Gordon to serve as a witness was denied
on the basis it was repetitive. Officer Johnson offered the
following statement: “On September 20, 2014 I was in
E-unit control area when Sgt. Clark discovered a bottle
hidden under Offender Murphy[‘]s testicles. After
discovering the bottle Offender Murphy stated what's the
point I'm dirty. At that time Sgt. Clark asked Offender
Murphy if he was refusing to provide a sample he said I
guess.” The hearing officer conducted a disciplinary
hearing in No. CIC 14-09-176 on September 24, 2014. Murphy
provided the following statement “A bottle was
discovered but I was trying to take the test. Matt Johnson
said I was done. I never said I refused testing.” The
hearing officer found Murphy guilty of the charge of refusing
to submit to testing.
making the guilty determination, the hearing officer relied
on the conduct report and Officer Johnson's statement
that Murphy refused further testing. The hearing officer
imposed the following sanctions: a written reprimand, a 30
day loss of telephone privileges, a 45-day earned credit time
deprivation, and the imposition of a suspended sanction in
case number CIC 14-07-0179 of a demotion to credit class 2.
The sanctions were imposed because of the frequency and
nature of the offense and the likelihood of the sanctions
having a corrective effect on the offender's future
appeals through the administrative process were denied. He
now seeks relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, arguing
that his due process rights were violated.
alleges that he was denied evidence when his request for a
statement from Officer Gordon was denied as duplicative and
when the hearing officer did not review IDOC Policy 01-02-107
at the hearing.
prisoner has a limited right to present witnesses and
evidence in his defense, consistent with correctional goals
and safety. Wolff, 418 U.S. at 566. A hearing
officer has considerable discretion with respect to witness
and evidence requests, and may deny requests that threaten
institutional safety or are irrelevant, repetitive, or
unnecessary. Piggie v. Cotton,342 F.3d 660, 666
(7th Cir. 2003). Furthermore, due process only requires
access to witnesses and evidence that are exculpatory.
Rasheed-Bey v. Duckworth,969 F.2d 357, 361 (7th
Cir. 1992). “Exculpatory” in this context means
evidence that “directly undermines the reliability of
the evidence in the record pointing to [the prisoner's]
guilt.” Meeks v. McBride,81 F.3d 717, 721
(7th Cir. ...