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Troutman v. Knight

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

December 1, 2016

DOMINUQUE TROUTMAN, Petitioner,
v.
STANLEY KNIGHT, Respondent.

          ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         The petition of Dominuque Troutman for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. IYC 16-01-0174. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Troutman'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 January 14, 2016, Officer Feldkamp wrote a Conduct Report charging Mr. Troutman with assault and battery in violation of Code B-212. The Conduct Report states:

On November 24, 2015, at approximately 6:22 PM an incident took place in Central Unit cell N-10. Officer reported approaching that cell because of multiple offenders entering the room. Once the staff arrived at cell N-10 they discovered an offender that was assigned to that cell with injuries consistent with being assaulted. Offender Dominique Troutman #161981 was identified using facility video as one the offenders in the cell at the time that this offender was assaulted in N-10. See report of investigation.

Dkt. 9-1 at 1.

         The Report of Investigation referenced in the Conduct Report states:

On December 12, 2015 I Investigator C. Feldkamp was assigned to investigate a situation that originated on November 24, 2015 at approximately 6:22 PM in Housing Unit Central cell N-10. During that incident an offender who was assigned to cell N-10L was assaulted while he was on his bunk in his cell. Prior to the incident as observed on facility video offender Dominique Troutman #161981, Michael Earls #148396, Kenneth Doss #219666 and Robert Peterson #249596 were observed entering the cell. None of those offenders were assigned to that cell. Th[is] drew the attention of offender[s] in HUC that were not in cell N-10 and a crowd began to gather. Staff on site noticed the group of offenders and approached cell N-10. As the offenders began to disperse from the area staff discovered the offender in cell N-10 had been assaulted and called for assistance. Offenders Troutman, Earls, Doss and Peterson were clearly observed and identified as the offenders that were present in cell N-10 during the time of the assault. During interviews concerning this incident none of these offenders would admit to assaulting this offender but do not deny being present during the assault. Confidential video, audio and case file are being maintained in the Investigations office and are available for review.

Dkt. 9-2 at 1.

         Mr. Troutman was notified of the charge on January 24, 2016, when he received the Screening Report. He plead not guilty to the charge, requested a lay advocate, requested as witnesses inmates Michael Earls and Kenneth Doss, and requested to view the report of investigation. Both Mr. Earls and Mr. Doss provided witness statements, and a summary of the video evidence was also provided.

         A hearing was held on February 2, 2016. The hearing officer changed the charge from assault and battery to aiding/abetting/conspiring to commit assault and battery. Mr. Troutman stated that he was not guilty; he was trying to diffuse the situation between Mr. Earls and Mr. Barnett and was unable to intervene before Mr. Earls assaulted Mr. Barnett. After reviewing Mr. Troutman's statement, the staff reports, the witness statements, the video review, the report of investigation, and the other confidential materials, the hearing officer found Mr. Troutman guilty. The hearing officer recommended and approved sanctions including a thirty-day earned-credit-time deprivation and a credit class demotion.

         Mr. Troutman appealed to Facility Head and then the IDOC Final Reviewing Authority, but both of his appeals were denied. He then brought this petition for a writ ...


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