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Davenport v. Smith

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

April 18, 2017

DAVID DAVENPORT, Petitioner,
v.
BRIAN SMITH Superintendent, Respondent.

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

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         The petition of David Davenport for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. ISF 16-02-0062. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Davenport'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 January 22, 2016, Sgt. Hill wrote a Conduct Report charging Mr. Davenport with assault/battery in violation of Code B-212. The Conduct Report states:

On 1/22/2016 at approx. 2300hrs I Sgt. J. Hill #295 was reviewing cameras for a altercation that took place in 11 North on the A Side when I observed the following: At approximately 1815 I Sgt. Hill #295 observed Offender Davenport, David #904991 throwing multiple closed fist punches at Offender Farnsworth, John #224784 on the A Side of 11 North in the walkway. During this incident Offender Farnsworth # 224784 was backing up and trying to block the punches. Offender Davenport continued to throw multiple closed fist punches at Offender Farnsworth leading into Cube 3 on the A Side of 11 North. Offender Davenport was notified of all reports written and identified by his state issued I.D.

Dkt. 7-1 at 1.

         Mr. Davenport was notified of the charge on February 3, 2016, when he received the Screening Report. He plead not guilty to the charge, and he requested video evidence.

         A hearing was held on February 5, 2016. Mr. Davenport denied guilt, but based on Mr. Davenport's statement, the staff reports, and the video evidence, the hearing officer found Mr. Davenport guilty. The hearing officer recommended and approved sanctions including a sixty-day earned-credit-time deprivation.

         Mr. Davenport 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.

         C. Analysis

         Mr. Davenport raises several claims in his habeas petition, which the Court construes and summarizes as follows: (1) there was insufficient evidence to convict him of assault or battery; (2) he was denied an impartial decisionmaker; and (3) he was subject to racial discrimination because he is black and the other offender involved in the incident who is white was not charged. The respondent contends that the latter two claims are unexhausted and that the remaining claim lacks merit. The Court begins with the issue of exhaustion and procedural default before turning to the merits of the remaining claims.

         1. ...


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