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Patterson v. Smith

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

November 28, 2016

JAVON PATTERSON, Petitioner
v.
BRIAN SMITH, Respondent.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          William T. Lawrence, Judge United States District Court

         The petition of Javon Patterson for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. STP 15-04-0059. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Patterson's habeas petition must be denied.

         Discussion

         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), 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 April 14, 2015, Correctional Major S. Rice wrote a Report of Conduct in STP 15-04-0059 charging Mr. Patterson with class A offense, #121, possession or use of a cellular device. The conduct report states:

On 4/14/15 at approximately 1130 hours, I, Major S. Rice along with Administrative Captain M. Murff were conducting an interview with Offender Patterson, Javon #247166 about behavioral issues that have been displayed in unit #6 by several offenders. The intelligence received from other interviews conducted resulted in an interview with Patterson. Offender Patterson was questioned on the intelligence received about him owning a cellular phone and it was stolen by another offender in the dorm. During the interview, Offender Patterson verbally confirmed with Capt. Murff and myself to have been in possession of the cellular device and it in fact was stolen by another offender. Offender Patterson then went on to confirm other intelligence reports that he in fact was performing illegal transactions with what he says is his “girl” on the outside to obtain K-2 spice from another offender in the facility. He stated his “girl” would pay the other offender's “girl” and he would receive the K-2 when the transaction was completed. Offender Patterson verbally admitted several times in the interview process that he did in fact use and possessed synthetic marijuana K-2 spice many times since his arrival at the facility and his last purchase was approximately 6 weeks ago. -End of Report-

[dkt. 9-1]. On April 15, 2015, Mr. Patterson was notified of the charge of offense #121 and served with the conduct report and the notice of disciplinary hearing screening report. [dkts. 9-1, 9-2]. Patterson was notified of his rights and pled not guilty. Mr. Patterson did not request any witnesses or physical evidence. [dkt. 9-2].

         On May 7, 2015, a hearing was held and the hearing officer found Mr. Patterson guilty of offense #121. [dkt. 9-3]. In making the determination of guilt, the hearing officer relied on staff reports and Mr. Patterson's statement. Based on the hearing officer's recommendation the following sanctions were imposed: a written reprimand, a thirty (30) day loss of phone privileges, a one-hundred-eighty (180) day deprivation of earned credit time, and a demotion from credit class 1 to credit class 2, which was suspended. [dkt. 9-3]. The hearing officer recommended the sanctions because of the seriousness of the offense, and degree to which the violation disrupted/endangered the security of the facility. Id.

         On May 18, 2015, Mr. Patterson appealed to the Facility Head. On June 15, 2015, the Facility Head denied the appeal. [dkt. 9-4]. M r . Patterson's appeal to the Appeal Review Officer was denied on July 3, 2015. [dkt. 9-5].

         C. Analysis

         Mr. Patterson is not entitled to habeas relief because he was afforded due process. He asserts the following claims: 1) he was denied evidence; 2) Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”) policy was violated; and, 3) he was unable to obtain records.

         1. In grounds one and two of his petition, Mr. Patterson alleges the witness statements he requested were not provided to him. However, Patterson did request any witness statements. On April 15, 2015, Mr. Patterson was notified of the charge of a violation of class A offense #121 and notified of his rights. He was given the opportunity to request witnesses and physical evidence. M r . Patterson did not request either. M r . Patterson signed the ...


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