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Williams v. Superintendent New Castle Correctional Facility

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

February 21, 2017

SUPERINTENDENT New Castle Correctional Facility, Respondent.


          William T. Lawrence, Judge United States District Court Distribution: Southern District of Indiana

         The petition of Anthony Williams for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as NCF 16-03-0158. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Williams'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 March 21, 2016, SOMM Counselor C. Bradley wrote a Conduct Report charging Mr. Williams with refusal of a mandatory program. The Conduct Report states:

Offender Williams, Anthony DOC 254689 consented to participate in the SOMM program on 12/7/15. As part of the consent process, Offender Williams signed the INSOMM Treatment Participation Agreement which details the internal progressive discipline process that will be taken should an offender not adhere to treatment expectations. Offender Williams was informed that he was not adhering to treatment expectations based on his overall demeanor in group and unwillingness to discuss his treatment issues. As a result, Offender Williams was placed on the progressive discipline system. He was placed on Level One of the disciplinary system on 2/2/16 due to his negativity in the group and only minimally participating. He was placed on Level Two of the disciplinary system on 2/29/16 due to not completing the homework assigned that he had 2 weeks to complete. He was placed on Level Three of the disciplinary system on 3/9/16 due to not coming out with the group call outs, missing group and temporarily suspended from group per the disciplinary system. When Offender Williams returned to group on 3/21/16 he continued to refuse to adhere to group expectations as evidenced by stating that he did not feel it was necessary to address why he was on the level system and denying major aspects of his instant offense. He was then placed on Level Four of the disciplinary system which includes a code 116A conduct report[.] Offender Williams was verbally informed he would be receiving a Code 116A conduct report based upon failure to adhere to program expectations.

Dkt. No. 13-1 at 1.

         Mr. Williams was notified of the charge on March 23, 2016, when he received the Screening Report. He plead not guilty to the charge, requested a lay advocate, but did not request any witnesses or physical evidence.

         A hearing was held on March 24, 2016. Mr. Williams stated at the hearing, “It's not about me not minimally participating. Some of her teachings throw me off.” Dkt. 13-5 at 1. Based on Mr. Williams's statement, the staff reports, and Mr. Williams's signed consent form to participate in the program, the hearing officer found Mr. Williams guilty of refusing a mandatory program. The hearing officer recommended and approved sanctions including a one-hundred-fifty-six day earned-credit-time deprivation and a credit-class demotion.

         Mr. Williams 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 of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         C. Analysis

         Mr. Williams raises two claims in his habeas petition. First, he argues that there was insufficient evidence of his guilt. Second, he maintains that he was denied an impartial decisionmaker. The respondent contends that the latter claim is procedurally defaulted, while the former lacks merits. Mr. Williams did not file a reply brief.

         1. ...

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