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Haga v. Superintendent New Castle Correctional Facility

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

November 14, 2016

JOHN HAGA, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT 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 for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. NCF 15-06-0072. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. 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, Officer Manzo wrote a Conduct Report charging Mr. Haga with assault on staff in violation of Code A-11. The Conduct Report states:

On above date and approximate time I Ofc Manzo and my partner Ofc Bates were conducting showers in RHU. When we went to restrain Off Haga J #220306 as we approached the shower to restrain Off Haga, he smacked . . . a cup from med line on the cuff port ledge that said cup and an unknown substance and the cup and substance flew toward my partner and I. I Ofc. Manzo asked Off Haga “really why did you do that?” Off Haga stated “because I've been in this shower for (2) two hours.” I informed Off Haga that it was unnecessary to do that. As we began to walk down range to Off Haga's cell, he began speaking in vulgar and profane language and while doing so he also began to tense his body and clench his fists in an aggressive manner. As my partner and I reached cell #112 to place Off Haga back inside his cell we opened the cuff port to unrestrain him. As we unrestrained his left hand Off Haga turned around as he normally would but as he turned he snapped his hand into a fist and pulled his arm into his cell with his right hand still restrained. At this time my partner and I pulled the lead and cuffs back through the cuff port and was able to get a hold of Off Haga's hands and secure them on the cuff port ledge to unrestrain and secure the cuff port. At this time I Ofc Manzo did a body check and noticed I had sustained a cut on my left wrist & left index finger. No other injuries to report. End of Report.

Filing No. 17-1 at 1-2.

         Officer Bates submitted a witness statement, which stated the following:

On the above date and approx. time I Ofc Bates was escorting offender Haga, John #220826 from the shower to his assigned cell RHU 112. During the course of the escort Off Haga was tense and verbally aggressive. Off Haga was placed in his cell and Ofc Manzo removed the wrist restrain from Off Haga's left Hand. At this time Off Haga spun to his right and clenched his right hand into a fist and pulled his right arm inside the cuffport of his cell. I Ofc Bates maintained control of the lead strap and my partner maintained his control of the wrist restraints. In pulling the handcuffs inside his cuffport Off Haga injured Ofc Manzo's hand and broke the clasp of the RHU restraint lead strap. I Ofc Bates and Ofc Manzo were able to gain control of Off Haga's wrists and remove the wrist restraint from Off Haga's right wrist and secure the cuffport of cell RHU 112. At this time it was discovered that Officer Manzo's wrist watch was broken during the incident. RHU unit sgt was notified of the incident. End of Report.

Filing No. 17-2 at 1.

         Mr. Haga was notified of the charge on June 11, 2015, when he received the Screening Report. He plead not guilty to the charge and requested five witnesses, a lay advocate, and the video of the incident. There was a note in the Screening Report from the hearing officer stating that there is no video recording of the incident because the video system for that area was broken.

         Three of Mr. Haga's witnesses were fellow inmates and provided the following statements. Fellow inmate Charles Cheeks stated that he woke up and Mr. Haga “was be[]ing assault[ed] by staff.” Filing No. 17-4. Fellow inmate Jack Hobbs testified that when the officers were removing Mr. Haga's cuffs, “he was spinning around like he always do[es] and the officer must of thought he was trying to pull in the cuffs.” Filing No. 17-5. Another fellow inmate stated that he heard Mr. Haga say “why are you doing this? I'm not doing anything to force you to be aggressive with me, ” which he contends made it obvious that “the officers were being aggressive.” Filing No. 17-6. Finally, Nurse Davis and Officer Pew both testified that they were not present during the incident in question. Filing No. 17-7; Filing No. 17-8.

         A hearing was held on June 23, 2015. Mr. Haga stated at the hearing, “I was having a seizure. You can't prove that [Officer Manzo] did not have that cut.” Filing No. 17-12. Based on Mr. Haga's statement, the staff reports, evidence from the witnesses, and confidential pictures of the incident, the hearing officer found Mr. Haga guilty. The hearing officer recommended and ...


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