United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
LOZANO, United States District Court Judge.
matter is before the Court on the Petition under 28 U.S.C.
Paragraph 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus, filed by Tony Reed,
a pro se prisoner, on October 1, 2016 (DE #9). For
the reasons set forth below, the petition (DE #9) is DENIED
pursuant to Habeas Corpus Rule 4 and the motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis (DE #7) is DENIED as MOOT. The
clerk is DIRECTED to close this case.
petition, Reed is challenging the prison disciplinary hearing
(WCC 16-03-0227) where he was found guilty on March 28, 2016,
of possessing a deadly weapon in violation of A-106 by the
Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO). Reed was sanctioned with
the loss of 60 days earned credit time.
Conduct Report charges, “On 3/10/2016 at approximately
5:40 am, during an E Squad shakedown I, Sgt. M. Dombrowski
conducted a search of Offender Reed, Tony 902503 and his
property. As I searched Offender Reed, Tony, I observed
Offender Reed, Tony remove a small package containing two
razor blades from his oral cavity. While searching Offender
Reed's property box, I found an unauthorized lock.”
(DE #9-1 at 3.)
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
support the hearing officer's decision.
Superintendent, Mass. Corr. Inst. v. Hill, 472 U.S.
445, 455 (1985).
argues that there was insufficient evidence to have found him
guilty because he used the razors to cut hair. He also
complains that the report mentioned him possessing both a
lock and a razor, but he was only found guilty of possessing
the razor. In evaluating whether there is adequate evidence
to support the findings of a prison disciplinary hearing,
“the relevant question is whether there is any evidence
in the record that could support the conclusion reached by
the disciplinary board.” Superintendent v.
Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455-56 (1985). Even a conduct report
alone can provide evidence sufficient to support the finding
of guilt. McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784, 786
(7th Cir. 1999).
In reviewing a decision for some 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
Hill, 472 U.S. at 457 (quotations marks and citation
[T]he findings of a prison disciplinary board [need only]
have the support of some evidence in the record. This is a
lenient standard, requiring no more than a modicum of
evidence. Even meager proof will suffice, so long as the
record is not so devoid of evidence that the findings of the
disciplinary board were without support or otherwise
arbitrary. Although some evidence is not much, it still must
point to the accused's guilt. It is not our province to
assess the comparative weight of the evidence underlying the
disciplinary board's decision.
Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000)
(quotation marks, citations, parenthesis, and ellipsis
there was sufficient evidence to find Reed guilty of
possessing a dangerous weapon. Though he argues that the
razors were merely going to used to cut hair, the hearing
officer was not required to accept his version of events. It
was not unreasonable for the hearing officer to have
concluded that it could have been used as a weapon. Surely, a
disposable razor - like many common items - can be fashioned
into a weapon by a creative inmate, but that does not mean
that every inmate with a disposable razor is guilty of
possession of a dangerous weapon. Without more, it is merely
a disposable razor. Here, though, Reed altered the disposable
razor by removing the razor blades and then hiding them in
his mouth in an attempt to avoid their detection. The DHO
heard Reed's arguments, weighed the facts, and found
against him. There is no indication that the decision was
arbitrary. “The Federal Constitution does not require
evidence that logically precludes any conclusion but the one
reached by the disciplinary board.” Superintendent
v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 457 (1985). It is not for this
court to re-weigh the evidence.
complaint about the conduct report fares no better. The
purpose of a conduct report is to inform the inmate of the
charge against him. Wolff requires advance notice of
sufficient facts to inform the accused of the behavior with
which he is charged. 418 U.S. at 570. Here, the conduct
report identifies the offense as “Possession of a
Deadly Weapon.” The offense code is identified as
“A-106". The conduct report contained a
description of the weapons found in the area. (DE #9-1 at 3.)
This clearly notified Reed that he ...