United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
petition of Warren Parks for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
CIC 15-06-416. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr.
Park'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
29, 2015, Investigator M. Grady wrote a conduct in case CIC
15-06-416 wrote a Report of Conduct in case CIC 15-06-416,
charging Mr. Parks with violation of Offense # 213,
Threatening. The conduct report states:
On Monday, June 29, 2015 at 8:05 am, I investigator M. Grady
reviewed a letter written by Offender Parks, Warren #116977
to Superintendent Wendy Knight. Offender Knight described the
action of Superintendent Knight as one of “White
Supremacy” after receiving a Class C Conduct Report.
Offender Parks stated in his letter to Superintendent Knight,
“You and your White Society is still seriously
suffering psychologically from the evil effect of
dehumanizing practice of human slavery.[“]. Offender
Parks ends his letter by stating the following, “Mrs.
Clark has no jurisdiction to reclass me. She's not even
part of Pen Products. DOC Policy say[s] you are not to use
the re-class for discipline but you allowed this at your
watch. This is racially motivated by White Power. Just to
inform you, White People has put us in slavery, stole our
history from us, made us live in ghetto, your hell put drugs
in the streets, broke our home, we made it we still alive and
I will make through this somehow, but for You and Your Boss,
this ain't over by far”. Offender Parks was shown a
copy of the letter he sent to Superintendent Knight and
stated the letter was written by him. The contents of this
letter was written to intimidate and threaten Superintendent
[dkt. 13-1]. On July 2, 2015, Parks was notified of the
charge of Offenses #213 and served with a copy of the conduct
report and incident report and a copy of the Notice of
Disciplinary Hearing “Screening Report”. Parks
was notified of his rights and pleaded not guilty. Parks did
not request any witnesses but did request that the letter be
available at the hearing.
2, 2015, a disciplinary hearing was held in case CIC
15-06-416. Parks pleaded not guilty provided the following
statement: I never said a threat to Supt. That was the only
job I had. I.” [dkt. 13-3] The hearing officer found
Parks guilty of Offense #213, Threatening. The hearing
officer relied on the staff reports, offender's
statement, and the letter to Superintendent Knight in making
his determination. The following sanctions were recommended
and approved: written reprimand, 30-day phone and commissary
restriction, and a 30-day credit time deprivation. The
hearing officer based the sanctions due to the frequency and
nature of the offense and the likely corrective effect of
sanctions. Thereafter, Mr. Parks's appeals were denied
and he filed the present petition for a writ of habeas
Park challenges the disciplinary action against him arguing:
1) he was denied a witness; 2) his First Amendment rights
were violated; 3) the Superintendent had no jurisdiction to
discipline him; and 4) he was subject to double jeopardy.
Parks argues he was denied an expert witness. However, to
obtain review of a claim for habeas relief, a prisoner must
first exhaust his state administrative remedies. Markham
v. Clark, 978 F.2d 993, 995-96 (1992); see 28
U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A), (c). Exhaustion requires that
the prisoner present each claim he seeks to raise in his
habeas petition at each level of the administrative appeals
process. Markham, 978 F.2d 993, 995-96 (7th Cir.
1992); see also O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S.
838, 842 (1999). The prisoner must provide sufficient
information to put a reasonable prison official on notice as
to the nature of his claim, so that the prison officials are
afforded an opportunity to correct any problems. See
Moffat v. Broyles, 288 F.3d 978, 982 (7th Cir. 2002).
Failure to exhaust a claim results in a procedural default
that bars federal habeas relief. Id. at 981-82.
Unfortunately for Mr. Park, he failed to raise this issue in
his disciplinary appeal, and therefore, has defaulted on this
claim. [dkt. 13-4].
Mr. Parks argues his First Amendment Free Speech rights were
violated. He is incorrect. Mr. Parks's disappointment and
frustration concerning his job loss is understandable,
however, writing a letter threatening Superintendent Knight
is unacceptable. While portions of the letter may constitute
permissible expressions of free speech, the conclusory
statement -“but for You and Your Boss, this ain't
over by far”-clearly is meant to intimidate. Threats
are not protected by the First Amendment. See, e.g.,
Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343, 358-60 ...