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Haga v. Superintendant New Castle Correctional Facility

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

October 5, 2016

JOHN HAGA, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDANT New Castle Correctional Facility, Respondent.

          ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         The petition of John Haga (“Haga”) for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. NCF 15-03-0023. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Haga's habeas petition must be denied.

         A. 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).

         B. The Disciplinary Proceeding

         On March 2, 2015, Sergeant Patton wrote a Conduct Report charging Haga with assault with serious bodily injury in violation of Code A-102. The Conduct Report states:

On the above date and approximate time I Sgt. D. Patton did witness on the E-2 stairs . . . offender Haga #220826 strike offender Blasko #851093 multiple times with closed fists and strike him in his head/facial area with his feet. Offender Blasko did have several injuries to his head/facial area. Offender Blasko had lacerations to his nose, right eyelid and eyebrow. Offender Blasko did result in 3 steri-strips . . . the right eyebrow and eyelid as well as x-rays from onsite medical staff. Offender Haga was advised he would be receiving a conduct report for assault with serious bodily injuries.

(Filing No. 14-1 at 1).

         Haga was notified of the charge on March 10, 2015, when he received the Screening Report. He plead not guilty to the charge and requested three witnesses-T. Coleman, Albert M. Goering and Aaron Moles, -a lay advocate, and the video of the incident.

         Haga's three witness were fellow prisoners who provided the following statements. T. Coleman stated, “I saw [two] offenders fighting they were both throwing punches at each other. Haga never assaulted Blasko.” (Filing No. 14-3 at 1). Albert M. Goering stated that he “was at commissary when the incident occurred in E2.” (Filing No. 14-4 at 1). Finally, Aaron Moles stated, “I seen the whole fight against Mr. Haga and Mr. Blasko. They both were kicking and th[ow]ing punches and this isn't the first time the two of them had issues. I've seen Mr. Blasko go after Mr. Haga and other offenders keep them separated.” (Filing No. 14-5 at 1).

         A hearing was held on March 12, 2015. At the hearing, Haga stated “I do not start fights, he came at me first you did not see that.” (Filing No. 14-9 at 1). Based on Haga's statement, the staff reports, evidence from the witnesses, and pictures and videos of the incident, the hearing officer found Haga guilty of assault with serious bodily injury. The hearing officer recommended and approved sanctions including a one-hundred-eighty-day earned-credit-time deprivation, a credit-class demotion, and the imposition of a suspended sanction from another disciplinary action.

         Haga appealed to the Facility Head, but his appeal was denied. Haga then appealed to the IDOC Final Reviewing Authority, who also denied his appeal. He then brought this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         C. Analysis

         Haga raises three claims in his habeas petition. The respondent addresses each of these claims in his response brief, and Haga did not file a reply brief. The ...


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