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McDermitt v. Smith

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

May 10, 2017

CLAYTON MCDERMITT, Petitioner,
v.
BRIAN SMITH, Respondent.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         The petition of Clayton McDermitt for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. ISF16-02-63. The Respondent filed a Return to the Order to Show Cause and no reply has been submitted. For the reasons explained in this Entry, McDermitt'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 January 21, 2016, Officer Yarbrough wrote a Report of Conduct in case ISF 16-02-0063 charging McDermitt with resisting a staff member. The Report of Conduct states:

On 1-21-16 at approx. 2319 pm hours, I Officer Yarbrough ‘371 while conducting a property search on Offender Clayton McDermitt DOC #157037 bunk 36D in 15 North had him approach me from my right side pushing me forward until I was on my knees and then grabbed both of my hands while I was confiscating a white powder substance from a mirror on his box. While on my knees I called a signal 10 and attempted to apply restraints on Offender McDermitt. After several orders to cuff up I applied the restraints and he was escorted out of 15 North. Offender McDermitt was advised of this conduct report and identified by State ID.

(Dkt. 8-1, Exhibit A).

         On February 3, 2016, McDermitt was notified of the charge of resisting a staff member and served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing “Screening Report.” McDermitt was notified of his rights, pled not guilty and requested the appointment of a lay advocate (Dkt. 8-2, Exhibit B). He requested two witnesses, Offenders Hook and Stearnes, and requested video evidence as physical evidence. McDermitt later waived his request for Offender Hook as a witness. Id.

         The hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing in ISF 16-02-0063 on February 5, 2016, and found McDermitt guilty of the charge of resisting a staff member (Dkt. 8-3, Exhibit C). In making this determination, the hearing officer considered and relied on the offenders' statements, staff reports, and video evidence. The hearing officer recommended and approved the following sanctions: a written reprimand, 30 days lost commissary privileges, a suspended 90 day deprivation of earned credit time, a suspended demotion from credit class I to credit class II, and imposition of a previously suspended 60 day deprivation of earned credit time. Id.

         McDermitt appealed to the Facility Head and Appeal Review Officer without success.

         C. Analysis

         McDermitt filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus in which he first argues that the original charge listed on the Report of Conduct-assault on staff-was impermissibly changed to resisting a staff member. His second and final claim for relief is ...


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