United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
William T. Lawrence, Judge United States District Court
prisoner challenging the process he was afforded in a prison
disciplinary proceeding must meet two requirements: (1) he
has a liberty or property interest that the state has
interfered with; and (2) the procedures he was afforded upon
that deprivation were constitutionally deficient.”
Scruggs v. Jordan, 485 F.3d 934, 939 (7th Cir.
2007). The question presented by this action for habeas
corpus relief brought by Gary Chandler, a state prisoner, is
whether the prison disciplinary proceeding he challenges, No.
IYC 16-01-274, is tainted by constitutional error.
v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974), prescribes the
procedural protections afforded an inmate who faces the loss
of earned good time or a demotion in time earning
Where a prison disciplinary hearing may result in the loss of
good time credits, Wolff held that the inmate must
receive: (1) advance written notice of the disciplinary
charges; (2) an opportunity, when consistent with
institutional safety and correctional goals, to call
witnesses and present documentary evidence in his defense;
and (3) a written statement by the factfinder of the evidence
relied on and the reasons for the disciplinary action. 418
U.S. at 563-567.
Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985). In
addition, there is a substantive component to the issue,
which requires that the decision of a hearing officer be
supported by “some evidence.” Id.
present case, the pleadings and the expanded record show that
a conduct report was issued on January 15, 2016 charging
Chandler with having committed aggravated battery on another
offender in a housing unit at the Plainfield Correctional
Facility. The charge was based on events which occurred
during the evening of December 17, 2015. At that time, as
described in a report of investigation, Chandler and three
other inmates carried out a vicious attack on the victim.
This event was recorded on a video system and Chandler's
identification as one of the attackers was confirmed from the
video. Chandler was notified of the charges on January 31,
2016, and also notified of his procedural rights in
connection with the matters. A hearing was conducted on
February 20, 2016. Chandler was present at the hearing and
made a statement concerning the charge. His statement was
that he was in the area but that he did not touch anybody.
The hearing officer considered the conduct report, the report
of investigation, Chandler's statement, the video record,
and other evidence and found Chandler guilty of aggravated
battery. Chandler was sanctioned for this misconduct, and
this action was filed after his administrative appeal was
the requirements of Wolff and Hill as an
analytical template, Chandler received all the process to
which he was entitled. That is, the charge was clear,
adequate notice was given, and the evidence was sufficient.
In addition, (1) Chandler was given the opportunity to appear
before the hearing officer and make a statement concerning
the charge, (2) the hearing officer issued a sufficient
statement of his findings, and (3) the hearing officer issued
a written reason for the decision and for the sanctions
imposed. Chandler's claims that he was denied the
protections afforded by Wolff and Hill are
• Chandler argues that authorities failed to follow
various policies before and during the challenged
disciplinary proceeding. These arguments, however, are
insufficient to support the relief he seeks. See Keller
v. Donahue, 2008 WL 822255, 271 Fed.Appx. 531, 532 (7th
Cir. Mar. 27, 2008) (in a habeas action, an inmate “has
no cognizable claim arising from the prison's application
of its regulations.”); Hester v. McBride, 966
F.Supp. 765, 774-75 (N.D.Ind. 1997) (violations of the
Indiana Adult Disciplinary Policy Procedures do not state a
claim for federal habeas relief). Additionally, Chandler has
not identified any irregularity which was prejudicial to the
fundamental fairness of the proceeding. These arguments are
therefore insufficient to warrant the habeas corpus relief
• Chandler also challenges the sufficiency of the
evidence. In this setting, evidence is constitutionally
sufficient if it “point[s] to the accuseds guilt."
Lenea v. Lane, 882 F.2d 1171, 1175 (7th Cir. 1989).
To be supportable, a decision must “not be arbitrary or
without support in the record." McPherson v.
McBride, 188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir. 1999). Although
Chandler denies that he participated in the attack, the
report of investigation, interview notes, and the video
record amply point to Chandler's guilt. Id. (in
reviewing a disciplinary determination for sufficiency of the
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 boards decision to
revoke good time credits has some factual basis”). The
minor inconsistencies suggested by Chandler do not compel the
rejection of this inference. See Hill, 472 U.S. at
457 ("The Federal Constitution does not require evidence
that logically precludes any conclusion but the one reached
by the disciplinary board."). The evidence in No. IYC
16-01-274 was constitutionally sufficient. Henderson v.
United States Parole Comm'n, 13 F.3d 1073, 1077 (7th
Cir. 1993) (a federal habeas court “will overturn the
[hearing officer's] decision only if no reasonable
adjudicator could have found [the petitioner] guilty of the
offense on the basis of the evidence presented.”).
touchstone of due process is protection of the individual
against arbitrary action of the government."
Wolff, 418 U.S. at 558. There was no arbitrary
action in any aspect of the charge, disciplinary proceeding,
or sanctions involved in the events identified in this
action, and there was no constitutional infirmity in the
proceeding which entitles Chandler to the relief he seeks.
Accordingly, his petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be
consistent with this ...