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Gibbs v. Knight

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

September 29, 2016

KENNETH W. GIBBS, Petitioner,
v.
WENDY KNIGHT, Superintendent, Respondent.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         The petition of Kenneth W. Gibbs for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. CIC 15-06-0257. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Gibb's habeas petition must be denied.

         Discussion

         Overview

         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); Piggie v. Cotton, 344 F.3d 674, 677 (7th Cir. 2003); Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000).

         I. The Disciplinary Proceeding

         On June 16, 2015, Mr. Gibbs was in the custody of the Correctional Industrial Facility in Pendleton, Indiana. On that date, Caseworker Jeremiah Pardue wrote a Conduct Report that charged Mr. Gibbs with security threat group (“STG”) in violation of code B-208. The Conduct Report states:

On June 16, 2015 at approx. 1:00 pm I caseworker Pardue was inspecting [] mail that offender Gibbs, Kenneth #30344 6B-4C had given me. Upon inspecting the mail I determined that the envelopes contained STG material. The items were confiscated and turned into the DHB lockers for review.

[dkt. 7-1].

         On June 19, 2015, Mr. Gibbs was notified of the charge and served with a copy of the Conduct Report and a Notice of Disciplinary Hearing “screening report.” Mr. Gibbs was notified of his rights and pled not guilty. The Screening Officer noted that Mr. Gibbs refused screening and walked away, as a result he did not request any witnesses or any evidence. [dkt. 7-4].

         The hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on June 25, 2015. Mr. Gibbs made the following statement: This is my House and my church. [dkt. 7-7].

         The hearing officer found Mr. Gibbs guilty of the charge STG. [dkt. 7-7]. In making the guilty determination, the hearing officer relied on the physical evidence.[1] Based on the hearing officer's recommendation the following sanctions were imposed: a written reprimand, thirty (30) day loss of phone and commissary privileges, thirty (30) day deprivation of earned credit time, and the imposition of a suspended sanction in CIC 15-01-025 of a thirty (30) day deprivation of earned credit time. The hearing officer recommended the sanctions because of the frequency and nature of the offense, as well as the likelihood of the sanction having a corrective effect on the offender's future behavior.

         On June 28, 2015, Mr. Gibbs appealed to the Facility Head. The Facility Head denied the appeal on June 28, 2015 [dkt. 7-9].

         II. ...


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