United States District Court, N.D. Indiana
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT
Scott, a pro se prisoner, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus [ECF No. 1] challenging the prison disciplinary
hearing (ISP 16-04-227) at which the Disciplinary Hearing
Officer (DHO) found him guilty of trafficking in violation of
Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) policy A-113. As a
result, he was sanctioned with the loss of 120 days earned
credit time and was demoted from Credit Class 1 to Credit
December 8, 2016, Scott filed a Letter [ECF No. 9] with this
Court and stated that he had retained private counsel in this
case. Scott sought leave to amend his Petition in light of
his retention of counsel. However, nearly five months have
passed and no attorney has filed an appearance on behalf of
Scott and no amended petition has been filed. The Court notes
that at the time he requested leave, Scott did not require
leave of court to file an amended petition. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 15(a). Rule 15(a) permits a party to amend its
pleading on one occasion as a matter of course within 21 days
after service of the responsive pleading. Respondent filed
his Response [ECF No. 5] to the Order to Show Cause on
December 5, 2016. Scott's deadline to file an amended
petition was December 27, 2016. He did not file an amended
petition, and did not seek additional time to do so.
Therefore, the Court considers this matter fully briefed.
Petition, Scott raises one issue: he argues that he requested
“all physical evidence, ” but that no physical
evidence was produced to him at the hearing. (Pet. 2, ECF No.
1.) Respondent contends that there was sufficient evidence on
which to find Scott guilty of trafficking, and also argues
that Scott did not have a right to personally review all of
the evidence. It is unclear whether Scott challenges the
sufficiency of the evidence used to find him guilty or
whether he challenges the fact that he did not personally
review all of the evidence presented to the DHO. The Court
will therefore address each of these issues.
imposition of prison discipline will be upheld so long as
there is some evidence to support the finding.
Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455-56 (1985).
“[T]he relevant question is whether there is any
evidence in the record that could support the conclusion
reached by the disciplinary board.” Id.
“In reviewing a decision for some 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) (quotation marks omitted).
[T]he findings of a prison disciplinary board [need only]
have the support of some evidence in the record. This is a
lenient standard, requiring no more than a modicum of
evidence. Even meager proof will suffice, so long as the
record is not so devoid of evidence that the findings of the
disciplinary board were without support or otherwise
arbitrary. Although some evidence is not much, it still must
point to the accused's guilt. It is not our province to
assess the comparative weight of the evidence underlying the
disciplinary board's decision.
Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000)
(quotation marks, citations, parenthesis, and ellipsis
omitted). 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, 13 F.3d 1073, 1077 (7th Cir. 1994).
the DHO had sufficient evidence to find Scott guilty of
violating IDOC A-113. The IDOC defines this offense as
“[e]ngaging in trafficking (as defined in IC
35-44.1-3-5) with anyone who is not an offender residing in
the same facility.” Adult Disciplinary Process,
(last visited Apr. 27, 2017). Indiana law defines the offense
of trafficking as:
(b) A person who, without the prior authorization of the
person in charge of a penal facility or juvenile facility,
knowingly or intentionally:
(1) delivers, or carries into the penal facility or juvenile
facility with intent to deliver, an article to an inmate or
child of the facility;
(2) carries, or receives with intent to carry out of the
penal facility or juvenile facility, an article from an
inmate or child of the facility; or
(3) delivers, or carries to a worksite with the intent to
deliver, alcoholic beverages to an inmate or child of a jail
work crew or community work crew;
Indiana Code § 35-44.1-3-5. The Conduct Report [ECF No.
1-1] states that
[o]n 04/28/2016 at approx. 7:50 am Bennie Wolfinger was
droped (sic) off by Shauna Whitaker just south of the
facility. Correctional Police, Investigators and local law
enforcement found an object wrapped in black electrical tape
in the possession of Bennie Wolfiner. Bennie Wolfinger was
interviewed by Investigators where it was discovered that the
package was to be thrown over the IDO recreation fence to be
delivered to Offender Seth Barnhart # 996204 and Edward Scott
# 996330 when he returned from work later that day. Case
report 16-ISP-0067 found substantiated for trafficking.