United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
JOSE G. RODRIGUEZ, Petitioner,
RICHARD BROWN, Respondent.
ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
J. McKINNEY, JUDGE
petition of Jose Rodriguez on for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
WVE 16-01-0037. For the reasons explained in this Entry,
Rodriguez's habeas petition must be granted.
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
January 13, 2016, Officer Miller wrote a conduct report
charging Rodriguez with B-207 possession of an electronic
device. Ex. A. The conduct report states:
On 1-13-15 at approx. 10:00 a.m. I c/o D. Miller was
assisting in a secondary search of clothes belonging to
offender Rodriguez, Jose # 197741 who was assigned to FHU RW
cell # 420. During the search, I did find various pieces of
electronic equipment that have been fashioned into what is
consistent with chargers for cellular phones.
pieces of electronic equipment were confiscated and
photographed. The conduct report also noted that Officer N.
McKinney was a witness. Officer McKinney stated: “On
1-13-16 at approx. 10:00 a.m. I c/o N. McKinney did witness
c/o D. Miller pull multiple electronic parts out of the
waistband and pockets of the shorts being searched that
belong to offender Rodriguez, Jose # 197741.”
January 14, 2016, Rodriguez was notified of the charge of
possession of an electronic device and served with a copy of
the conduct report and the screening report. Rodriguez was
notified of his rights and pleaded not guilty. He also waived
24 hours advance notice of the disciplinary hearing.
Rodriguez requested a lay advocate, and an advocate was later
appointed. He did not request a witness, but he did ask that
the DHO examine the confiscated electronic devices.
January 19, 2016, a disciplinary hearing was held regarding
the charge of possession of an electronic device in case WVE
16-01-0037. Rodriguez pleaded not guilty and provided the
following statement: “These was extention [sic] for
head phone or special order for stuff sold by NHU (plus
program) can it be dropped to a C - it was personal property
but broken.” The DHO found Rodriguez guilty of
possession of an electronic device. In making this
determination, the Report of Disciplinary Hearing states that
the DHO relied on staff reports, the offender's
statement, the witness's statement, the photo, and the
confiscation form. Due to the seriousness and frequency of
the offense, as well as the likelihood that the sanction
would have a corrective effect, the hearing officer imposed
the following sanctions: a written reprimand, one month of
lost phone privileges, an earned credit time deprivation of
45 days, and a demotion from credit class one to credit class
two, which was suspended.
appeals were denied and he filed the present petition for a
writ of habeas corpus.
argues that the hearing officer did not review the electronic
equipment itself as he had requested and that the evidence