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Jones v. Superintendent

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

April 27, 2017

FRANK L. JONES, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT New Castle Correctional Facility, Respondent.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          TARRY J. McKINNEY, JUDGE

         The petition of Frank Jones for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. NCN 15-10-0022.[1] For the reasons explained in this Entry, Jones's habeas petition must be denied.

         Discussion

         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 October 6, 2015, Internal Affairs Officer Dunn issued a Report of Conduct charging Jones with possession of a cellular device in violation of Code A-121. The Report of Conduct states:

On the above date and approximate time I, Investigator Dunn, completed my investigation regarding Frank Jones #912612 attempting to introduce contraband into New Castle Correctional Facility. On 9/24/15 I. A. Dunn received a phone call from mailroom supervisor, Jenny Gibson regarding offender Frank Jones #912612 television that was received at the facility. Mailroom supervisor Gibson advised Internal Affairs to come look at the television because there were items inside it. Myself and Investigator Williams reported to the mailroom to take the television apart and pulled out four bags of tobacco weighing 8.1 oz. Captain Rice, UTM Price, and myself brought the television in the box to UTM Price's office in O-Unit. Offender Jones was brought to UTM Price's office to accept the television. Jones was asked if he sent out his television to be repaired, Jones stated yes. Offender Jones was asked to sign a paper acknowledging he received his television. Offender Jones signed the paper taking ownership of his television. Jones was then instructed to remove the television from the box. Offender Jones left UTM Price's office with his television. As Jones was walking thru the main door to O-Unit, I advised Jones to put the television down and advised Jones that 12 cell phones were confiscated out of his television and that he would be receiving a conduct report.

         Jones was notified of the charge on October 9, 2015, when he was served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing (Screening Report). The Screening Officer noted that Jones refused screening, thereby refusing any witnesses or evidence. Several Incident Reports were completed prior to the Report of Conduct being issued. One of the reports was completed by Officer J. Gibson and states:

On the above date and time, I J. Gibson was going through the packages, when I came across a box that had been refused from Pen Products from offender Frank Jones 912612 01-108A. Box was suspicious as it had return label from Michigan City but was appearing to be sent from offender Jones 912612 out for repair. I J. Gibson opened the box and noticed a foul smell. I J. Gibson took the TV out and noticed there was contraband inside. I.A. Williams was notified right away. Property was turned over to I.A. Williams.

         One of the reports was written by Captain S. Rice and states:

On the above date and time, I Captain S. Rice witnessed IA J. Dunn and I.A A. Williams open a TV with offender Frank Jones 912612 01-108A name engraved on it. As I.A Dunn removed the back of the TV, he removed 12 cell phones, some green leafy substance, a brown leafy substance, a scraper and a tube of super glue. After all contraband was removed, I.A Dunn and myself placed the TV back in the box and took it to offender Jones. Offender Jones was ask[ed] if the TV belong[ed] to him and he said yes and signed for it. I.A Dunn then confiscated the TV and advised offender Jones he would be receiving conduct for the contraband.

         Officer Williams also completed an Incident Report that states:

On the above date and time, Mailroom Supervisor Gibson contacted Internal Affairs regarding a suspicious package received through the mailroom. Upon arrival, Mrs. Gibson stated the television was not sent out through the facility but sent by an outside person to PEN products. PEN products did not open the package, rejected it, and it was sent to the return address on the box. The return address on the package was to Frank Jones #912612, New Castle Correctional Facility. The package contained a television with Frank Jones' name and DOC # on it. Inside the television were 12 cell phones, mar[i]juana, tobacco, box cutters, black electrical tape, ...

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