United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
LOZANO, United State District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on a Petition under 28 U.S.C.
Paragraph 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a person in State
Custody Seeking Review of a Prison Disciplinary Sanction,
filed by Ramar Daniels, a pro se prisoner, on March
25, 2015. Here, Daniels challenges a disciplinary
determination made by a hearing officer at the Westville
Correctional Facility ("Westville") under case
number WCC 15-10-0291. For the reasons set forth below, the
court DENIES the petition (DE 1) . The clerk is DIRECTED to
close this case.
October 9, 2015, Correctional Officer Robinson prepared a
conduct report charging Daniels with threatening. (DE 8-1.)
The conduct report stated:
On the date and time above I officer Robinson while making my
secured round I found Offender Daniels, Ramar 104542 making
an unnessary [sic] fire in the microwave. Offender was given
a direct order to stop an[d] give it up[. H]e failed to
comply [.] Instead he ran with the fire material and flushed
it in the toilet[. H]e later came back and got in my face and
stated the following: "I'm going to write your ass
up again and get you fucked up motherfucker, and get you out
of here." I officer Robinson felt intimidated by
Offender Daniels, Ramar 104542 and supervisor was notified.
October 16, 2015, Daniels was notified of the charge of
threatening and served with a copy of the conduct report and
the screening report. (DE 8-2.) The screening report reflects
that he pled not guilty and requested lay advocate. He did
not ask to call any witnesses but he did request video
evidence. (Id.) On October 20, 2015, after
disciplinary hearing officer ("DHO") Finn conducted
a video review:
Upon review of the video footage, I, Officer Finn, observe
Offender Daniels, Ramar 104542 make a fire at the microwave
near the entry door of PI. The offender then goes to the
restroom on the North hall. Officer Robinson is then seen
walking toward the restroom. Offender Daniels and her are
seen talking after he exits. Offender Daniels walks toward
the dayroom, turns around and heads back towards the
officers' station. There is no audio available.
October 23, 2015, DHO Finn conducted a disciplinary hearing
and found Daniels guilty of the charge of threatening. (DE
8-5.) At the hearing, Daniels's comment was, "She
wasn't never taking to me. I walked right past her.
I'm in prison for killing her brother. That's why she
keeps lying on me." (Id.)
prisoners lose earned time credits in a prison disciplinary
hearing, they are entitled to certain protections under the
Due Process Clause: (1) advance written notice of the
charges; (2) an opportunity to be heard before an impartial
decision maker; (3) an opportunity to call witnesses and
present documentary evidence in defense when consistent with
institutional safety and correctional goals; and (4) a
written statement by a fact finder of evidence relied on and
the reasons for the disciplinary action. Wolff v.
McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563 (1974). To satisfy due
process, there must also be "some evidence" to
support the hearing officer's decision.
Superintendent, Mass. Corr. Inst. v. Hill, 472 U.S.
445, 455 (1985).
Daniels raises two claims in his petition: (1) there was
insufficient evidence to support the conviction; and (2) the
disciplinary hearing officer was biased, which led him to
mischaracterize the video evidence.
Daniels claims there was insufficient evidence to find him
guilty of threatening. In reviewing a disciplinary
determination for sufficiency of the evidence, "courts
are not required to conduct an examination of the entire
record, independently assess witness credibility, or weigh
the evidence, but only determine whether the prison
disciplinary board's decision to revoke good time credits
has some factual basis." McPherson v. McBride,188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir. 1999). "[T]he relevant
question is whether there is any evidence in the record that
could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary
board." Superintendent v. Hill,472 U.S. 445,
455-56 (1985) . The court will overturn the hearing
officer's decision only if "no reasonable
adjudicator could have found [the prisoner] guilty of the
offense on the basis of the evidence presented."
Henderson v. United States Parole Comm'n, ...