United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
CLEVERLY P. LOCKHART, Petitioner,
KEITH BUTTS, Superintendent, Respondent.
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus filed by Petitioner Cleverly P. Lockhart. For the
reasons stated below, the petition is denied.
is an Indiana prisoner. On February 11, 2015 the prison
classification supervisor issued a report of conduct charging
Lockhart with violating prison rules by producing or using
counterfeit documents in violation of Code B-230, charge No.
NCF 15-02-0060. The conduct report recited that Lockhart had
submitted a fabricated document (a form used by the Indiana
Department of Correction) to the Indiana Court of Appeals. A
hearing on this charge was held on February 18, 2015.
Lockhart requested statements from five witnesses, one of
which was denied. Statements of the four witnesses were
considered by the hearing officer. Lockhart was present at
the hearing and made a statement concerning the charge. The
hearing officer considered that statement, together with the
other evidence, and found Lockhart guilty. The question
presented in the present action is whether the disciplinary
proceeding challenged by petitioner Cleverly Lockhart is
tainted by constitutional error under the foregoing
standards. Because the Court finds from consideration of the
pleadings and the expanded record that the challenged
proceeding is not constitutionally infirm, Lockhart's
petition for writ of habeas corpus must be denied.
Indiana prisoner must be afforded procedural due process
before being deprived of good-time credits or demoted in
credit class. Montgomery v. Anderson, 262 F.3d 641,
644-45 (7th Cir. 2001). 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).
challenges the validity of this proceeding through his
contentions that: (1) he was denied evidence; (2) he was
denied witnesses; and (3) the evidence was not sufficient.
Using the requirements of Wolff and of Hill
as a guide, however, Lockhart received all the procedural
protections to which he was entitled.
first two claims are related, but are without merit. At the
point when Lockhart was notified of his procedural rights, he
identified certain individuals from whom he requested
statements. Each of those individuals provided statements,
and each of those statements was considered by the hearing
officer. These circumstances refute Lockhart's claim that
he was denied evidence and that he was denied witnesses. As
to any specification that Lockhart was denied access to the
form which was submitted, he does concedes that he submitted
it. More was not required. See Outlaw v. Anderson,
29 F. App'x 372, 374 (7th Cir. 2002).
remaining claim is his challenge to the sufficiency of the
evidence. If believed, the conduct report established that
Lockhart submitted a forged form to the Indiana Court of
Appeals. The hearing officer noted that Lockhart's
statement was: “I appealed it on June 20. I got it from
the pod rep[resentative]. They disciplined him over it and
Ms. Williams. I did not know it was counterfeit. I did mail
it.” The hearing officer determined that Lockhart
committed the charged misconduct based on staff reports,
statement of offender, evidence from witnesses, and the
counterfeit document itself. In this setting, evidence is
constitutionally sufficient if it “point[s] to the
accused's guilt, " Lenea v. Lane, 882 F.2d
1171, 1175 (7th Cir. 1989), and if the decision is “not
. . . arbitrary or without support in the record."
McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir.
1999); see also Hill, 472 U.S. at 457 ("The
Federal Constitution does not require evidence that logically
precludes any conclusion but the one reached by the
disciplinary board."). Although Lockhart denied acting
with a culpable state of mind, his use of the form suggests
otherwise and it was up to the hearing officer to decide any
issue of credibility. Scruggs v. Jordan, 485 F.3d
934, 939 (7th Cir. 2007). This Court cannot now reweigh the
evidence. McPherson, 188 F.3d at 786 (in reviewing a
disciplinary determination for sufficiency of the evidence,
“courts are not required to conduct an examination of
the entire record, independently assess witness credibility,
or weigh the evidence, but only determine whether the prison
disciplinary board's decision to revoke good time credits
has some factual basis”). The evidence in No. NCF
15-02-0060 was constitutionally sufficient as to all
components of the offense Lockhart was found to have
touchstone of due process is protection of the individual
against arbitrary action of the government."
Wolff, 418 U.S. at 558. There was no arbitrary
action in any aspect of the charge, disciplinary proceeding,
or sanctions involved in the events identified in this
action, and there was no constitutional infirmity in the
proceeding which entitles Lockhart to the relief he seeks.
Accordingly, his petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be
consistent with this ...