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Mukka v. Butts

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

September 21, 2016

RICHARD MUKKA, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT BUTTS, Respondent.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE.

         The petition of Richard Mukka for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. IYC 14-05-0149. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mukka'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 May 14, 2014, Kelly Hofman, of the New Castle Correctional Facility, wrote a Report of Conduct in case number IYC 14-05-0149 (“conduct report”) charging Mukka with Code A-116 for his refusal to participate in a mandatory program, i.e., the Department's Sex Offender Management and Monitoring (“SOMM”) Program.[1] SOMM Program participants are “required to discuss and take responsibility for past acts of sexual violence and abuse that [they] have committed in order to benefit from the program.” requires offenders to take responsibility for acts of sexual violence and abuse). The conduct report states the following:

On Wednesday 5/14/14, Offender Richard Mukka #103641 was sent a call out pass to discuss his participation in the SOMM program. This writer told Offender Richard Mukka #103641 that he was being offered the SOMM program and this meant he would agree to participate in the program by honestly taking responsibility for the sexual offence. Offender Richard Mukka #103641 was informed that he was not meeting program expectations and was being written up on a Code 116A for refusing to take accountability for his sexual offense.

         On May 18, 2014, Mukka was served with the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing (Screening Report) (“screening report”), which notified him of his rights. He pled not guilty to the charge and did not waive 24 hours' notice of the hearing date. He asked for a lay advocate, and that Officer Morefield and Cari Rezman serve as witnesses. On May 21, 2014, a hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing in Mukka's case. Mukka had the assistance of a lay advocate. At the hearing, Offender Mukka stated: “They threw me out before they let me in. All she said I did wrong was use the word apparently.” Cari Rezman, part of the SOMM Program administration, stated as follows:

On this date, 5/14/14, Mr. Richard Mukka #103641 stated that he “apparently” committed his sexual offence. The program requirements were explained to Mr. Mukka whom was not willing to respond directly about taking responsibility for his instant sexual offense. Mr. Mukka was informed that he would be written up on a Code 116A for refusing to meet program expectations.

         Witness C. M. Morefield stated:

The above offender came into my office on 5/14/2014 to tell me he was being written up on an A-116 from his SOMM instructor. The offender stated that he is willing to participate in the program and that he told his instructor that he would say anything that she wanted him to say. He went on to state that she said he was not being sincere.

         At the conclusion of the proceeding, the hearing officer relied upon staff reports, the statement of the offender, and evidence from witnesses in finding Mukka guilty. At the end of the hearing and based upon the hearing officer's recommendations, the following sanctions were imposed: a loss of commissary and phone privileges, one month of disciplinary segregation, 180 day earned credit time deprivation, and a credit class demotion.

         Mukka's appeals were denied and he filed the present petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

         C. ...


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