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Scroggins v. Knight

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

May 22, 2017

LARRY SCROGGINS, Petitioner,
v.
STANLEY KNIGHT, Respondent.

          ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         The petition of Larry Scroggins for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. IYC 16-02-144. For the reasons explained in this entry, Mr. Scroggins'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 February 6, 2016, M. Roberts wrote a Report of Conduct in case IYC 16-02-144 charging Mr. Scroggins with use/possession of a wireless or cellular device. The Conduct Report states:

On February 6th at approximately 1:44 P.M. I Officer M. Roberts and Lieutenant M. Roache were conducting rounds in H-Unit bed area when I observed Offender Scroggins Larry #211800 between rows 3 and 4. The offender saw us walking towards him and he began to walk away from us. Lieutenant M. Roache ordered him to come towards us and he complied. I noticed he was holding something wrapped in tissue paper in his left hand. Lieutenant Roache ordered him to show us his hands and he refused, and began to run towards the back of the bed area. While running I saw Offender Scroggins drop a small black and orange object in the trash bag. When the trash was searched I did find the black and orange object to be a cellular device. He then turned right towards row 1 and row 2 so I immediately went between row 1 and row 2 and ordered Offender Scroggins to turn around and put his hands on his head and put him in mechanical restraints.

[Dkt. 13-1].

         Lieutenant Roache provided the following statement:

On February 6th at approximately 1:44 P.M. I, Lieutenant M. Roache and Officer M. Roberts were conducting rounds in H-Unit bed area when I observed Offender Scroggins Larry #211800 between rows 3 and 4. The offender saw us walking towards him and he began to walk away very quickly. I ordered him to come toward us and he complied. I then noticed he was holding an item in his left hand. I ordered him to show me his hand and he refused and began to run towards the back of the bed area. Myself and Officer Roberts followed him. I then saw offender Scroggins toss a red and black cell phone into a brown trash bag on the floor. A complete search of the area was conducted. Officer Roberts retrieved a black and orange cellular phone from the trash bag.

[Dkt. 13-2].

         On February 12, 2016, Mr. Scroggins 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 requested a lay advocate and requested offender Don Bennett as a witness. He requested video of the H-Unit latrine hallway from 4:15 PM to 4:45 PM. He stated the video would show he had nothing in his hand. [Dkt. 13-5].

         Offender Bennett provided the following statement:

The only thing he had possession of was a spray bottle to cover the tobacco smell and he did hand it over when asked it will show on camera. As far as any device, I hang out with him daily and have never known him to ...

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