United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
William T. Lawrence, Judge
petition of Burton Florence for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding, ISR 15-02-0011,
in which he was found guilty of possessing a hazardous
chemical. For the reasons explained in this entry, Mr.
Florence's habeas petition must be
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).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
February 3, 2015, Lt. R. Marvell wrote a Report of Conduct
charging Mr. Florence with possession of any hazardous
chemical, offense A-106. Dkt. 10-1. The conduct report
I stopped ofd. Florence at the bottom of the steps in F-Block
and searched him. Ofd. Florence had just entered the cell
house with his supervisor (Chamberlain). Ofd. Florence had a
clear trash bag containing work boot[s] and sealed with a
knot tied on top. Upon opening the bag and inspecting the
boot[s], I found one contained a 12 oz Gatorade bottle with
liquid soap, and a roll of black electrical tape. The second
boot contained a 20 oz. coke bottle with a clear liquid that
ofd. Florence stated was chemicals to clean the ice machine.
Dkt. 10-1. The items found in Mr. Florence's boots were
confiscated and entered as evidence. Dkt. Nos. 10-2, 10-3,
February 5, 2015, Mr. Florence was notified of the charge of
possession of hazardous chemicals (A-106) and served with a
copy of the conduct report and the screening report. Mr.
Florence was notified of his rights and pleaded not guilty.
Dkt. 10-6. He requested a lay advocate, and one was appointed
to him. Mr. Florence requested the following witnesses: S.
Krause, Chamberlain, Blauvelt, and Kris Coom [sic].
Id. The witness request for Steve Krause was
originally denied because he was not present, but Mr. Krause
later submitted a statement. Dkt. Nos. 10-6, 10-9. The
witness requests for Chamberlain and Blauvelt were granted.
Dkt. Nos. 10-6, 10-8, 10-10. The witness request for Kris
Coom [sic] was denied because he was not present. Dkt. 10-6.
Mr. Florence also requested a work count letter which was
denied because it did not pertain to the case, and he
requested a copy of a past grievance against Marvell, which
was also denied as not pertaining to the case. Dkt. 10-6.
February 9, 2015, a disciplinary hearing was held in case ISR
15-02-0011. Dkt. 10-11. Mr. Florence pleaded not guilty and
provided the following statement:
It wasn't authorized. Marvell tried to act like I was
concealing. I had it in a transparent bag in my hand. I
don't understand. He tried to get them back. I had my
headphones with me so I could go back to the house to give
them to Mr. Scaife.
disciplinary hearing officer ("DHO") found Mr.
Florence guilty of possession of a hazardous chemical.
Id. In making this determination, the DHO considered
staff reports, the statement of the offender, evidence from
witnesses, and pictures. Id. The DHO also stated:
"CR supported by picture evidence and witness statements
- Ofd. changed story numerous times. Ofd. freely admits to
having all items." Id. Due to the seriousness
and frequency/nature of the offense, the offender's
attitude and demeanor during the hearing, and the degree to
which the violation disrupted/endangered the security of the
facility, the DHO imposed the following sanctions: a written
reprimand, one year of disciplinary segregation, one year of
earned credit time ("ECT") lost, and a demotion
from credit class one to credit class three. Id.
Florence appealed the disciplinary action to the Facility
Head on February 16, 2015. Dkt. 10-12. The Facility Head
denied the appeal on February 27, 2015. Dkt. 10-13. Mr.
Florence appealed to the Final Reviewing Authority for the
Indiana Department of Correction ("IDOC"), who
modified his disciplinary conviction to Possession of
Unauthorized Property (B-215) and reduced the sanctions to:
restricted housing for three months, 90 days' lost ECT,
and a demotion from credit class one to credit class two.