United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
RONALD E. WILLIAMS, JR., Petitioner,
DICK BROWN, Respondent.
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
petition of Ronald E. Williams, Jr. for a writ of habeas
corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding, WVE
15-09-0071, in which he was found guilty of possessing
intoxicants. For the reasons explained in this entry, Mr.
Williams' habeas petition must be denied.
in Indiana custody may not be deprived of credit time,
Cochran v. Buss, 381 F.3d 637, 639 (7th Cir. 2004),
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); Jones v. Cross, 637 F.3d
841, 845 (7th Cir. 2011); Piggie v. Cotton, 344 F.3d
674, 677 (7th Cir. 2003); Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d
649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000).
September 15, 2015, Correctional Officer Hughes issued a
Report of Conduct charging Mr. Williams with possession of
intoxicants in violation of Code B-231. Dkt. 13-1. The Report
of Conduct states:
On 9-15-15 at approx. 7:20 pm I c/o A. Hughes was conducting
Rec in GHU when I smelled an alcohol odor coming from cell
406 where Offender Williams, Ronald DOC #170778 and Offender
Wilson, James DOC #139229 reside. While conducting a search
of the cell I found a bag containing approx. one gallon of an
alcohol smelling liquid under the bunk bed. The bag of
alcohol smelling liquid was sent to master control where it
was photographed and disposed of.
Id. The bag containing an alcohol smelling liquid
was confiscated. Dkt. 13-5.
Williams was notified of the charge on September 16, 2015,
when he was served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice
of Disciplinary Hearing (Screening Report). Dkt. 13-6. The
Screening Officer noted that Mr. Williams wanted to call
Officer Hughes as a witness and that he requested the video
to show who went into the cell. Id. The summary of
the video review states, “I (DHO S. Chapman) attempted
to watch the video for the rec period in question on 9/15/15.
Due to the angle of the camera, the placement of an air duct,
and a light, I am unable to get a clear view of the front of
cell 406. The video neither supports nor disputes the conduct
report.” Dkt. 13-8.
hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on September
23, 2015. Dkt. 13-9. The hearing officer noted Mr.
Williams' statement that the “POD officer say [sic]
my cell can be seen by the camera. Reporting officer should
have had a staff witness with him when shaking down.”
Id. The hearing officer also noted that Mr. Williams
received a picture of the evidence card at screening.
Id. Relying on the staff report, the statement of
the offender, the video summary, and the photos and
confiscation form, the hearing officer determined that Mr.
Williams had violated Code B-231. The sanctions imposed
included a written reprimand, a loss of commissary
privileges, the deprivation of 60 days of earned credit time,
and the demotion from credit class I to class II (suspended).
The hearing officer imposed the sanctions because of the
seriousness and frequency of the offense and the likelihood
of the sanction having a corrective effect on the
offender's future behavior.
Williams' appeals were denied. This habeas action
Williams alleges that his due process rights were violated
during the disciplinary proceeding. His claims are that: 1)
the hearing officer said she could not use the video
requested but then listed the video in her reason to find
guilt; 2) the reporting officer did not have a staff witness
with him when he searched the cell; and 3) he was denied a
full copy (front and back) of the evidence record card.
three of Mr. Williams' claims challenge the sufficiency
of the evidence. The “some evidence” evidentiary
standard in this type of case is much more lenient than
“beyond a reasonable doubt” or even “by a
preponderance.” See Moffat v. Broyles, 288
F.3d 978, 981 (7th Cir. 2002) (hearing officer in prison
disciplinary case “need not show culpability beyond a
reasonable doubt or credit exculpatory evidence.”). The
“some evidence” standard requires “only
that the decision not be arbitrary or without support in the
record.” McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784,
786 (7th Cir. 1999). ...