United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ROSE, SR. PUTNAMVILLE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY Electronically
ENTRY DISMISSING ACTION AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL
William T. Lawrence, Judge
Rose, Sr., was disciplined at an Indiana prison for his use
of an intoxicant. Contending that the proceeding is tainted
by constitutional error, Rose seeks a writ of habeas corpus.
now considered the pleadings and the expanded record, and
being duly advised, the Court finds that the petition for
writ of habeas corpus should be denied. This
conclusion rests on the following facts and circumstances:
behavior of inmates in Indiana prisons is govern by a written
code. This code prescribes various infractions, one of which
is the use of an intoxicant. Violation of the rules governing
inmate conduct can result in the imposition of sanctions.
was charged with the use of an intoxicant in a conduct report
issued on May 29, 2016, based on an incident in which he
displayed erratic behavior. A medical evaluation of Rose was
made and the examining nurse opined that Rose was showing
signs of being high off “spice.” Rose was
supplied with a copy of the conduct report and notified of
his procedural rights in connection with the matter. A
hearing was conducted on June 8, 2016. Rose was present at
the hearing hand made a statement concerning the charge. The
hearing officer considered that statement, along with the
statements of others who were present and the conduct report
itself, and found Rose guilty of the charged misconduct.
Sanctions were imposed.
Prisoners in Indiana custody may not be deprived of good-time
credits, Cochran v. Buss, 381 F.3d 637, 639 (7th
Cir. 2004), 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).
Measured against this standard, Rose's challenge to the
disciplinary proceeding fails. Specifically: (1) the conduct
report contains the reporting officer's first-hand
account of Rose's behavior; (2) the medical evaluation of
that behavior is undisputed; (3) Rose received a copy of the
conduct report on June 6, 2016; (4) a hearing was conducted
on June 8, 2016; (5) Rose was present at the hearing and made
a statement concerning the charge; (6) the hearing
officer's report identifies the evidence considered in
making a decision; and (7) the hearing officer's report
includes a statement of his findings and a statement of the
reasons for the sanctions which were imposed.
Rose's arguments to the contrary are unpersuasive:
a. Rose points out that there was no urinalysis or other
forensic test performed to show whether he was intoxicated,
but due process does not require such a test in these
circumstances, see Allen v. Purkett, 5 F.3d 1151,
1153 (8th Cir. 1993) (per curiam) (holding that prison
officials were not required to provide additional urinalysis
by impartial laboratory to corroborate reports about
prisoner's drug use); Freitas v. Auger, 837 F.2d
806, 812 n.13 (8th Cir. 1988) (holding that prisoners are not
entitled to polygraph tests in disciplinary hearings), and
the medical opinion of his intoxication was sufficient
evidence to support the hearing officer's conclusion.
See, e.g., Morgan v. Campbell, 2007 WL 776104, at *4
(E.D.Cal. Mar. 12, 2007)(“identification of alcohol by
laboratory testing is not required. Identification of alcohol
based upon factors such as appearance or characteristic odor
can be accepted as sufficient”) report and
recommendation adopted, 2007 WL 1747483 (E.D.Cal. June
18, 2007) affd, 270 F.App'x 657 (9th Cir. 2008).
b. The sanctions imposed were authorized for this type of
misconduct, and the severity of the sanction imposed is
ordinarily not cognizable in an action such as this. Koo
v. McBride, 124 F.3d 869, 875 (7th Cir. 1997). This case
is no exception.
c. The hearing officer is presumed to have been impartial,
Piggie v. Cotton, 342 F .3d 660, 666 (7th Cir. 2003)
(citing Withrow v. Larkin, 421 U.S. 35, 47 (1975)),
Rose has not shown otherwise-in particular, he has not shown
that the hearing officer was “personally or
substantially involved in the circumstances underlying [the
investigation of the] charge.” Greer v.
Hogston, 288 F.App'x. 797, 799 (3d Cir. 2008); see
also Redding v. Holt, 252 F.App'x 488 (3d Cir.
2007)-and a hearing officer who follows established
procedures, whose discretion is circumscribed by regulations,
and who adheres to Wolffs procedural requirements, does not
pose a hazard of arbitrariness violative of due process.
Wolff, 418 U.S. at 562 and 571.
"The 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 Rose to the relief he ...