United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
ERNEST C. COLLIER, Petitioner,
OPINION AND ORDER
L. Miller, Jr. Judge
C. Collier, a pro se prisoner, filed a habeas corpus
petition challenging the prison disciplinary hearing (ISO
15-04-0019) that was held on April 14, 2015, in which he was
found guilty of threatening in violation of B-213, deprived
of 30 days earned credit time, and demoted to credit class 2.
The conduct report completed by Mrs. Hills, an employee of
Aramark working at the Indiana State Prison, states as
On 4-3-15 I Mrs. Hills was serving lunch on the line.
Offender Collier, Ernest 892985 came through the line
complaining about the fruit drink. I told him to order
something different to drink on commissary, he then took his
apple off his tray and leaned over the counter towards my
midsection. I felt threaten[ed] My reflects [sic] smacked his
hand away from me.
Collier also reported this incident to Sgt. Everett, who
wrote a report stating:
On 04/03/15, at approx. 1110 inmate Collier E. 892985 entered
the Shift Supervisor's office, and stated that Mrs. Hill
(Food Service Supervisor) hit him. That he had an apple in
his hand, and she smacked the apple out of his hand. During
the conversation Collier communicated to me that he was going
to do everything possible to her. I spoke to the Food Service
Supervisor Hill, and she stated that it did happen, that she
did not know what he was doing. Mrs. Hill said he approached
the serving line reached across the line, and grabbed an
apple, then reaching across the line towards her stomach with
the hand holding the apple. She said it was an automatic
reaction, that she did not know what he was doing. Collier
received a Conduct Report 213 Threatening, and placed on Dorm
restriction. Lt. Williams notified.
Collier was notified of the charge and his rights, pleaded
not guilty and requested a lay advocate. Mr. Collier
requested Offender Demetrius Echols, Offender Eric Berrios,
and Officer Janice Collins as witnesses. He also asked for
security camera footage of the incident.
Echols stated, “Well I was standing behind Mr. Ernest
when I seen [sic] him getting his food and after he was
putting an apple on the counter and she slap[ped] the apple
out of his hand.” Offender Berrios said, “I was
behind Echols and Collier and I saw the apple flying. Collier
normally gives me his apple, which he was trying to sit down
for me. Echols told me that Mrs. Hills smacked the apple out
of Collier's hand.” Officer Collins stated:
Mr. Collier came into Sgt. Everett office, state Ms. Hill had
slap[p]ed his hand, that he was tired of her threatening him,
he has had problems with her before. After Mr. Collier left,
Sgt. Everett went to the kitchen to see what happen [sic].
When returning from the kitchen, Sgt. Everett stated, she
said yes I hit his hand.
hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing. Mr. Collier
gave the following statement:
1st after I walked into Chow, I heard one offender
kitchen worker tell another that they needed more kool-aid.
So I jokingly said yea bring the good stuff, not the watered
down stuff. She chimed in talking belligerent. I told her not
to talk to me like that. I grabbed my tray and I always give
Berrios my apple so I took the apple off my tray to the
counter attempting to, so I can grab my juice. And she
smacked my hand before I can even set it on the counter. It
stunned me. I told her not to hit me. Then I sat down,
stunned and waited for Berrios to finish eating. Juice was
going to go in the empty space where the apple was. I went to
see Sgt. and said I wanted a grievance and told him what
happened. This is not my character.
hearing officer reviewed video from the two security cameras
in the area, but the incident couldn't be seen because
one camera was too far away and the other was too blurry.
Thus, the videos were not used as supporting evidence in the
hearing officer's decision. The hearing officer found Mr.
Collier guilty of threatening. In making this determination,
the hearing officer relied on staff reports, witness
statements, and copy of the incident report and Mr.
Collier's statement. The hearing officer noted:
This DHB Officer has reviewed the staff report,
offender's statement, copy of incident report, and
requested witness statements. Report is clear and concise.
Staff felt intimidated/threatened when offender moved too
close, close enough to smack his hand away, after showing
disagreement about juice. History shows history of insolence
and threatening. Offender guilty of B213.
Collier's appeals to the facility head and the final
reviewing authority were denied.
prisoners lose earned time credits in a prison disciplinary
hearing, they are entitled to certain protections under the
Due Process Clause: (1) advance written notice of the
charges; (2) an opportunity to be heard before an impartial
decision maker; (3) an opportunity to call witnesses and
present documentary evidence in defense when consistent with
institutional safety and correctional goals; and (4) a
written statement by a fact finder of evidence relied on and
the reasons for the disciplinary action. Wolff v.
McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563 (1974). To satisfy due
process, there must also be “some evidence” to