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Doss v. Superintendent Pendleton Correctional Facility

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

May 8, 2017

REGINALD DOSS, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT Pendleton Correctional Facility, Respondent.

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

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, United States District Court Chief Judge

         The petition of Reginald Doss for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary conviction for attempted assault on staff with bodily fluid (A-111/A-117) identified as STP 15-10-0029. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Doss'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 October 8, 2015, Ofc. M. Truex wrote a Report of Conduct charging Mr. Doss with attempting to assault staff with bodily fluid, offense A-111/A-117. The conduct report states:

On 10/8/2015 at approx. 2:15 PM I, Officer Truex stopped offender Doss, Reginald DOC # 249558 because he was not correctly dressed. Offender Doss refused to stop. Sgt. M. Harrison intervened and again ordered offender Doss to correct his jumpsuit that was hanging from his waist. Offender Doss then gathered spit into his mouth stepping towards myself, in an attempt to spit on me, at that instance, Sgt. Burrow and Sgt. Truex arrived and placed offender Doss into restraints and escorted offender Doss to medical before offender Doss could spit on me.

(Dkt. 9-1, Ex. A).

         On October 29, 2015, Mr. Doss was notified of the charge of attempted assault with bodily fluids (A-111/A-117) and served with a copy of the conduct report and the screening report. Mr. Doss was notified of his rights and pleaded not guilty. He requested a lay advocate. Mr. Doss did not request any witnesses or physical evidence (Dkt. 9-2, Ex. B).

         On November 4, 2015, a disciplinary hearing was held in case STP 15-10-0029. Mr. Doss pleaded not guilty and provided the following statement:

I got assaulted by staff down there. They told me that to get transferred out I needed to level up. They kept trying to provoke me but I didn't try to spit. Truax [sic] said hit me so I could get shipped.

(Dkt. 9-4, Ex. C). The disciplinary hearing officer (“DHO”) found Mr. Doss guilty of attempted assault with bodily fluid. In making this determination, the DHO considered staff reports, the statement of the offender, and evidence from witnesses (Dkt. 9-1, Ex. A, Dkt. 9-4, Ex. C; Dkt. 9-11, Sealed Ex. H). The DHO also stated: “DHB finds guilty due to report, statement and evidence.” (Dkt. 9-4, Ex. C). Due to the seriousness of the offense, the offender's attitude and demeanor during the hearing, and the likelihood of the sanction having a corrective effect on offender's future behavior, the hearing officer imposed the following sanctions: a written reprimand, 90 days' change in work/housing, 60 days' disciplinary segregation, 30 days' lost phone privileges, 90 days' lost earned credit time (ECT), and a demotion from credit class one to credit class two. Id.

         Mr. Doss appealed to the Facility Head and then to the Final Reviewing Authority, but both appeals were denied. He then filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         C. ...


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