United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
William T. Lawrence, Judge
Discussing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
petition of Roman French for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
ISP 15-04-0179. For the reasons explained in this Entry,
Roman French's habeas petition must be
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
April 21, 2015, Internal Affairs Investigator C. Dustin wrote
a conduct report that charged French with Class A offense
#117, assault on staff. The conduct report states:
On 4/21/2015 at 11:25 after confiscating a Smart phone from
Offender French #900271 cell location DCH East 320 Offender
French pulled away from Officer Westman and myself when we
attempted to put him in his cell. Offender French then
started to walk away and sat down and pulled one leg from his
cuffs. Officer Westman then tried to stop his actions from
bringing his other leg out at which time I gave a 1 second
burst of O.C. to Offender French on target. Offender French
continued to attempt to pull his leg out to get both hands
free when I placed my right hand around him and started to
pull up on the chain on the cuffs so that he could not get
his foot out. Offender French then bit my right hand and
would not let go so I gave a knee strike to his head which
did not work, I gave a 2nd knee strike to his head causing
him to let go of my hand with his teeth. Offender French
continued to attempt to get his hands free braking free from
Officer Westman's grip[.] Offender French then head
butt[ed] me 2 or three times[.] I then tried to get control
of his head and attempted to place him on the ground causing
us both to fall forward first responders then arrived and
assisted in gaining control of Offender French
were taken of Investigator Dustin's injuries and a report
of incident was prepared. On April 22, 2015, French was
notified of the charge and served with the conduct report and
the notice of disciplinary hearing “screening
report.” French was notified of his rights, pled not
guilty, and did not request the appointment of a lay
advocate. French requested witness statements from several
offenders and video/camera footage of the incident. [dkt.
9-2, at p. 1]. French's request to view video recorded
evidence was denied based on safety and security. A summary
of the video recorded evidence was provided. [dkt. 9-2, at p.
2]. Four witness statements were also provided. [dkt. 9-2, at
hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on April 28,
2015. French made the following statement:
We got into an argument because I confronted him about the
trafficking. Ofc Westman walked away from us several times
because we were talking about (Dustin and I) [her]
trafficking. I walked away because Dustin made a threat to
me. While I walked away, he told Dustin to take me down.
Westman bear hugged me. That's when I attempted to bring
the cuffs to the front. Dustin was hitting me. Dustin sprayed
me several times. He was hitting me and I bit him in
self-defense. He was kneeing me. He maced me a few times. I
said I was done.
hearing officer found French guilty of the charge of assault
on staff. [dkt. 9-3].
making the guilty determination, the hearing officer relied
on the conduct report, the offender's statement, evidence
from witnesses, vide evidence, and the incident report. Based
on the hearing officer's recommendation the following
sanctions were imposed: a thirty (30) day loss of phone and
commissary privileges, two-hundred-seventy (270) days of
disciplinary segregation, a one-hundred-twenty (120) day
deprivation of earned credit time, and a demotion from credit
class 1 to credit class 2 (dkt. 9-2). The hearing
officer recommended the sanctions because of ...