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Jordan v. Knight

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

March 29, 2017

MICHAEL JORDAN, Petitioner,
v.
STANLEY KNIGHT, Respondent.

         ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          HON. JANE MAGNTTS-STINSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CHIEF JUDGE.

         The petition of Michael Jordan for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding, IYC 15-05-0163, in which he was found guilty of possession of a cellular phone. For the reasons explained in this entry, Mr. Jordan's habeas petition must be denied.

         I. Overview

         Prisoners in Indiana custody may not be deprived of credit time, 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); Jones v. Cross, 637 F.3d 841, 845 (7th Cir. 2011); Piggie v. Cotton, 344 F.3d 674, 677 (7th Cir. 2003); Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000).

         II. The Disciplinary Proceeding

         On May 17, 2015, Sergeant Tomaw issued a Report of Conduct charging Mr. Jordan with possession of a cellular device in violation of Code A-121. Dkt. 7-1, p.1. The Report of Conduct states:

On 5-16-15 at approx. 3:50 pm I Sgt D. Tomaw responded to a first responders call in Central N-Unit made by Officer A. Denbo. Once I arrived at the location Offender Jordan, Michael #200319 N-20U was already placed in mechanical restraints, and was being escorted out to HSU. I asked the officer what was the situation[.] Officer Denbo stated that he attempted to perform a pat search on Offender Jordan, as he was getting ready to perform the pat search right outside of N-20 cell door, Offender Jordan turned away and started to run. The officer also stated that the offender ran into the cell next to his in N-21 and shut the door behind him locking the door, and began to push to button to flush the toilet in the cell. The officer unlocked the door and opened the door and gave a verbal command to turn around and cuff up, which he complied with the order. I Sgt. Tomaw walked into N-21 cell to search the area [to] make sure no contraband was present. Once I began my search I noticed a light right in front of me underneath the chair. I reached down [and] grabbed the article which was [a] 1 Samsung Galaxy S-3 cell phone, I immediately placed the article in my left cargo pocket and finished the search only to find a cell phone charger. I then walked down to RSH where the offender was, to question him about the article found, the offender there stated to Sgt P. Rutan and I that it was his cellular device. The offender was then given a notice of confiscation which he signed for and was notified he would receive a conduct report for a 121-A.

Dkt. 7-1, p.1.

         Two other officers submitted witness statements in support of the Conduct Report. Sergeant Rutan stated:

         On 5/16/2015 at approximately 4:45 pm, I asked offender Jordan, Michael DOC # 200319 out of N2-204 if the Samsung cell phone confiscated from Sergeant D Tomaw was his. Offender Jordan stated that it was his cell phone.

Dkt. 7-1, p. 4.

Officer Denbo stated:
On 05/16/2015 at approximately 3:50 p.m. I, Officer A. Denbo attempted to conduct a pat search on two offenders in front of the door of Central N-20 cell door. As I started to pat search Offender Jordan, Michael #200319 N2-20U the offender began to mess with his gray sweat pants, the offender then turned an[d] took off running. The offender ran into N-21 cell and he then shut the door causing it to lock. I immediately called for First Responders via the radio. I, Officer Denbo unlocked and opened the door and ordered the offender to turn ...

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