United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
petition of Tracy Johnson for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
NCF 16-01-0052. For the reasons explained in this Entry,
Johnson's habeas petition must be
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).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
January 5, 2016, Internal Affairs Officer Williams issued a
Report of Conduct charging Johnson with battery inflicting
serious bodily injury in violation of Code A-102. The Report
of Conduct states:
The following Conduct Report has been issued to Offender
Tracy Johnson IDOC #906033, on the above date and time;
Internal Affairs was notified of an regarding [sic] an
assault, in which Johnson was involved. By reviewing video
footage, Internal Affairs was able to determine Johnson
entered C4 and with a closed fist struck offender Sullivan,
R. #203881 in the face causing abrasions and hematomas on his
orbital areas. Johnson admitted during an interview, “I
hit him twice in the face and then kicked him in the
ass”. Due to the [ ] severity of the assault and the
facial injuries inflicted Johnson did violate code A-102
(Assault/Battery-Causing Bodily Injury) of the Adult
Dkt. 10-1. Johnson was notified of the charge on January 6,
2016, when he was served with the Report of Conduct and the
Notice of Disciplinary Hearing (Screening Report). The
Screening Officer noted that Johnson wanted to plead guilty
and waived the right to call witnesses and request evidence.
Hearing Officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on January
7, 2016, during which Johnson again pled guilty. Dkt. 10-12.
The Hearing Officer noted Johnson's statement, “I
hit him with my hand. These young guys walk all over
us.” Id. (capitalization modified). Relying on
the Conduct Report, pictures, offender and witness statement,
the Hearing Officer determined that Johnson had violated Code
A-102 (Id.). The sanctions imposed included 45 days
of lost commissary and phone privileges, 6 months of
disciplinary segregation, the deprivation of 180 days of
earned credit time, and the demotion from credit class I to
II. The Hearing Officer imposed the sanctions because of the
seriousness and nature of the offense and the degree to which
the violation disrupted or endangered the security of the
filed an appeal to the Facility Head on January 7, 2016,
arguing that he was found guilty of Class A Assault/Battery,
but should have been found guilty of Class B 212
Assault/Battery because he did not use a weapon during the
assault. Dkt. 10-10. The appeal was denied on January 22,
2016. Johnson then appealed to the Final Reviewing Authority,
who reduced the offense to a B-212 level battery and modified
the sanction to three months of disciplinary segregation and
90 days of lost earned credit time. Dkt. 10-15. The rest of
the sanctions remained the same.
argues that he is entitled to relief because there was
insufficient evidence that he caused serious bodily injury
and because the sanctions imposed were too harsh.
Johnson's custodian responded to these arguments on
behalf of the State. No reply was filed.
first ground for relief, that there was insufficient evidence
to find him guilty of Class A-102 battery has been
considered. The “some evidence” standard is
lenient, “requiring only that the decision not be
arbitrary or without support in the record.”
McPherson v. McBride,188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir.
1999). No relief is warranted on this basis, however, during
the course of the disciplinary appeal process, the charge was
reduced from a Class A-102 battery requiring serious bodily
injury to a Class B-212 battery, which requires only bodily
injury. Thus whether there was sufficient evidence of
“serious bodily injury” is no longer at issue.
The conduct report, video, photographs, and Johnson's
guilty plea are “some evidence” that he is guilty
of charged offense which resulted in bodily injury.
Henderson v. United States Parole Comm'n, 13
F.3d 1073, 1077 (7th Cir. 1993) (a federal habeas court
“will overturn the . . . [conduct board's] decision
only if no reasonable adjudicator could have found . . . [the