United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
WALTON PRATT, United States District Court Judge.
petition of Randall Scott (“Mr. Scott”) for a
writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary
proceeding, RDC 15-05-0039, in which he was found guilty of
use or possession of a wireless device/cell phone. For the
reasons explained in this entry, Mr. Scott's habeas
petition must be denied.
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
22, 2015, Sergeant A. Behmlander issued a Report of Conduct
charging Mr. Scott with use or possession of a cellular
device. The Report of Conduct states:
On 5/22/2015 I, Sgt. Behmlander was Shift Supervisor on the
4-12 shift. At 1730 I executed a search on the property box
of Offender Scott, Randall #126158. Upon searching his box I
discovered a Motorola tracfone hidden inside a bag of Refried
Beans. The cellular phone was found in Offender Scott's
#126158 locked property box which was in his possession.
Offender Scott #126158 is being charged with A-121
Use/Possession of Wireless or cellular communication device.
Scott was notified of the charge on May 28, 2015, when he was
served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of
Disciplinary Hearing (Screening Report). Dkt. 9-2. The
Screening Officer noted that Mr. Scott did not want to call
any witnesses and did not request any evidence.
Hearing Officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on June 4,
2015. Dkt. 9-4. The Hearing Officer noted that Mr. Scott
stated, “I hope the cell phone is investigated and they
find out who's [sic] it was. Where is the note. They made
the statement to me that they was told they had a cell
phone.” Id. The Hearing Officer found Mr.
Scott guilty and imposed sanctions of the loss of 180 days of
earned credit time and the demotion from credit class I to
II. Id. The Hearing Officer imposed the sanctions
because of the seriousness of the offense and the degree to
which the violation endangered the security of the facility.
Scott filed an appeal to the Facility Head, who modified the
sanctions to the loss of 90 days of earned credit time and
restored the credit class to class I. Dkt. 1-1, p. 6. Mr.
Scott then appealed to the Final Reviewing Authority, who
denied the appeal on August 12, 2015. Dkt. 9-6.
Scott alleges that his due process rights were violated
during the disciplinary proceeding. His claims are that: 1)
the property box was accessible to anyone even though it was
locked upon search; 2) he was not strip searched; 3) the case
was not properly investigated; and 4) the sanctions were only
partially restored on appeal.
first three claims are treated as challenges to the
sufficiency of the evidence. Mr. Scott argues that the cell
phone was found in an open dorm area, that there was no
charger found, and that combination locks can be opened by
anyone who has minimal knowledge of them. He further argues