United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on pro se Petitioner
Rafael Torres's (“Mr. Torres”) Petition for
Writ of Habeas Corpus challenging a prison disciplinary
proceeding identified as No. IYC 14-02-0223 (Filing No.
1). For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr.
Torres' habeas petition must be denied.
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
October 15, 2016, Investigator P. Prulhiere wrote a Report of
Conduct charging Mr. Torres with conspiring to traffic. The
Report of Conduct states:
On February 15, 2016 at approximately 8:00 am, I,
Investigator P. Prulhiere, completed an investigation of
Offender Rafael Torres 144059 for attempted/conspiring to
traffic contraband into Plainfield Correctional Facility. Due
to the evidence I have collected, I have found sufficient
evidence to charge Offender Torres with this charge.
No. 9-1 at 1. The Report of Conduct also cited as
evidence the Report of Investigation of Incident
(“incident report”) for case number 16-IYC-0008,
which set forth the basis for the charge in detail:
. . . As a result of my investigation as summarized in
confidential Investigations Division Report number
16-IYC-0008, I have found several instances of physical
evidence, recorded phone calls and collaborated interviews
and tip information which show that Offender Torres has
played an active role in trafficking scenarios at Plainfield
Correctional Facility. During the investigation, I was able
to substantiate that Offender Torres has in his use or
possession not less than 4 cell phones since September of
2015. . . . The method of investigation for these cell phones
is explained in detail in Investigation Division Case Number
16-IYC-0008 as well as how these phones connect to other
offenders Offender Torres was conspiring with. On December
18, 2015, an assault was reported on an offender suspected of
having trafficking connections with Offender Torres in
Housing Unit South F Unit. (Summarized in Investigation
Division Case Number 16-IYC-0007.) It was on the day of
Offender Torres' placement in Administrative Restrictive
Housing that his association with the assaulted offender was
confirmed and Offender Torres admitted that he was in fear
that the same result would occur to him as did the assaulted
offender. On January 5, 2016, the Investigations Office
received tip information that Offender Torres was keeping no
less than 2 cell phones and drugs in cells L-6 and L-8. When
this information was available, a request was submitted to
move Offender Torres away from the cell phones. Offender
Torres attempted to refuse the move, but when confronted with
the option of placement in Restricted Housing, made the
statement regarding his affiliation with the offender who was
assaulted on December 18, 2015 in F Unit. Immediately after
Offender Torres attempted to refuse his move, a search was
conducted of the suspected cell of L6 and L8 where a total of
3 cell phones were retrieved. … On December 26, 2016,
a trafficking event was attempting [sic] using the Plainfield
Correctional Facility Visiting Room. (This incident was
investigated in Investigation Division Case Number
15-IYC-0128.) As a result of that investigation, interview
and tip information was substantiated regarding how the
scenario was arranged and who the primary individuals were
who conspired to commit the act. On this date, a large amount
of methamphetamine and synthetic marijuana were intercepted
by Investigation Officers. Additionally, this intercepted
trafficking scenario collaborated information gathered in the
case of the assault that was committed in F Unit on December
17, 2015 (Investigation Division Case Number 16-IYC-0007)
which was found to have been related to a similar trafficking
scenario where the offenders who had committed the assault in
F Unit were in dispute about the amount of drug that was
supplied upon delivery by offenders working for Offender
Torres and the assaulted offender in F Unit. . . .
Filing No. 9-2 at 1-2.
Torres was notified of the charge on February 26, 2016, when
he received the Screening Report. He pled not guilty to the
charge, requested Investigator Prulhiere as a witness to
answer two specific questions, and requested as physical
evidence the case files discussed in the incident report.
hearing was held on March 18, 2016. Mr. Torres stated that he
was not guilty and that “the reports do not
specifically connect [him] to th[e] incident.”
(Filing No. 9-6 at 1.) Based on Mr. Torres'
statement, the staff reports, witness statements, and the
investigation report, the hearing officer found Mr. Torres
guilty. The hearing officer recommended and approved
sanctions including a one-hundred-eighty day
earned-credit-time deprivation and a credit-class demotion.
Torres appealed to the Facility Head and the Indiana
Department of Correction 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.