United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
J. MCKINNEY, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT .
petition of Joseph Reed for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
ISF 15-11-0366. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr.
Reed's habeas petition must be denied.
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).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
November 11, 2015, Officer Benton wrote a Conduct Report
charging Mr. Reed with attempting to traffic. The Conduct
On 11-11-15 at approximately 1130 hours, I, C/O N. Benton,
had offender Reed, Joseph #984710 and offender Williams,
Desmond #203831 working at the horse barn. I was assisting
with the horses inside the barn and stepped out to see what
the offenders were doing. I asked offender Williams where
offender Reed was. I clearly observed offender Reed attempt
to bury something in the horse manure as offender Williams
was saying “Reed, let's go, let's go,
Reed.” Upon further investigation, the items offender
Reed was attempting to bury was five items wrapped in black
electrical tape inside plastic zipper bags. Inside the taped
items were five eight ounce bags of a brown leafy substance.
Offender was identified by his state issued ID and notified
of this conduct report.
Dkt. 6-1 at 1. The five bags were identified as tobacco,
photographed, and placed into evidence.
Reed was notified of the charge on November 19, 2015, when he
received the Screening Report. He plead not guilty to the
charge. He requested and received a lay advocate, but did not
request any physical evidence. Mr. Reed also called Mr.
Williams as witness. Mr. Williams submitted a written witness
statement, which stated the following: “As I was
letting the horses in the gate I saw Reed messing with the
manure[, ] he said something like I found something over
here[.] I think it might be guns[.] My exact words to him
w[ere] you better leave that . . . alone and come on.”
Dkt. 6-4 at 1.
hearing was held on November 23, 2015. At the hearing, Mr.
Reed stated that he saw “something in the manure[, ]
was being nosy and saw something wrapped in tape. [I] thought
it was guns [and] told Williams. He said leave it alone and
come on. I started to put it back.” Dkt. 6-6 at 1.
Based on Mr. Reed's statement, the staff reports, and the
witness statement, the hearing officer found Mr. Reed guilty
of attempted trafficking. The hearing officer explained that
he “believe[d] [the] Conduct Report to be true and
factual.” Dkt. 6-6 at 1. The hearing officer
recommended and approved the following sanctions: a
ninety-day earned-credit-time deprivation and a suspended
credit class demotion.
Reed appealed to Facility Head and the IDOC Final Reviewing
Authority, but both of his appeals were denied. He then
brought this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Reed raises two arguments in his petition: (1) whether there
was sufficient evidence to find him guilty of attempted
trafficking; and (2) whether the hearing officer violated
Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”) policy
when he failed ensure that inmates are not overcharged based
on their conduct. The respondent maintains that Mr. Reed is
not entitled to habeas relief on either basis. Mr. Reed did
not file a reply brief responding to the respondent's