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Washington v. Brown

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

May 5, 2017

DOMINIQUE WASHINGTON, Petitioner,
v.
RICHARD BROWN, Respondent.

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

          LARRY J. McKINNEY, JUDGE

         The petition of Dominique Washington for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. WVS 15-07-0012. For the reasons explained in this entry, Washington's habeas petition must be denied.

         A. Overview

         Prisoners in Indiana custody may not be deprived of credit time, Cochran v. Buss, 381 F.3d 637, 639 (7th Cir. 2004), 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 July 29, 2015, IA J. Poer wrote a Report of Conduct in case WVS 15-07-0012 charging Mr. Washington with a violation of law (I.C. 35-45-9-3, Criminal Gang Activity). The Conduct Report states:

Refer to Report of Investigation dated 7/29/15 and Confidential Case File 15-CIC-0020.

[Dkt. 6-1].

         The Report of Investigation of Incident states:

On July 16, 2015 members of the Security Threat Groups Maniac Latin Disciples and Imperial Gangsters assaulted offender Steven Lasley 247353 and Christopher Hibshman 179351 in B Unit cell 2-4B at 8:53 PM. Both Lasley and Hibshman are confirmed members of the Security Threat Group Dirty White Boys. An investigation was conducted, see Confidential Case File 15-CIC-0020. The results of the investigation substantiate that members of the STG Maniac Latin Disciples and Imperial Gangsters were acting under orders when they assaulted the Dirty White Boys Lasley and Hibshman. The reason for the assault was retribution against the Dirty White Boys for stealing a package of suboxone that a member of the Maniac Latin Disciples had lost at recreation. I.C. 35-45-9-3 Criminal Gang Activity is defined as “A person who knowingly or intentionally commits an act: (1) with the intent to benefit, promote or further the interests of a criminal gang; or (2) for the purpose of increasing the person's own standing or position within a criminal gang; commits criminal gang activity, a Level 6 felony.” Dominique Washington 244317 is a suspected member of the STG Maniac Latin Disciples and was acting with the intent to benefit, promote or further the interests of a criminal gang, to wit assaulting members of the Dirty White Boys as retribution for stealing and thereby disrespecting his organization.

[Dkt. 6-2].

         On July 31, 2015, Mr. Washington was notified of the charge and was given a copy of the Conduct Report and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing “Screening Report.” He was notified of his rights and pled not guilty. He did not request a lay advocate. He checked the box that he did not request any witnesses but in the empty space below included the names Lasley and Hibshman with the statement “I did not assault anyone.” He did not request any physical evidence. [Dkt. 6-3].

         Offender Lasley provided the statement: “I don't know anything about this, I didn't see this person do anything wrong!” [Dkt. 6-4]. Offender Hibshman provided the statement: “There was no gang activity going on.” [Dkt. 6-5].

         The hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing in case WVS 15-07-0012 on August 7, 2015. At the hearing Mr. Washington provided the following statement: “I ...


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