United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
DEGUILIO, United States District Court Judge
Hubbard, a pro se prisoner, filed a habeas corpus
petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging the
disciplinary hearing (WCC 16-11-63) where the Disciplinary
Hearing Officer (DHO) found him guilty of possession of a
controlled substance in violation of Indiana Department of
Correction (IDOC) policy B-202. ECF 2 at 1. As a result,
Hubbard was sanctioned with the loss of 30 days earned credit
petition, Hubbard raises three grounds. Hubbard claims in
each ground that the IDOC violated its own policy in imposing
his discipline. However, habeas corpus relief is not
available for the violation of a prison rule. Estelle v.
McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 68 (1991) (“In conducting
habeas review, a federal court is limited to deciding whether
a conviction violated the Constitution, laws, or treaties of
the United States.”); Keller v. Donahue, 271
F. App'x 531, 532 (7th Cir. 2008) (inmate's claim
that prison failed to follow internal policies had "no
bearing on his right to due process"). Nevertheless,
this court will analyze each of Hubbard's claims to
determine whether any claim identifies a due process
violation entitling him to habeas corpus relief.
prisoners lose earned time credits in a prison disciplinary
hearing, they are entitled to certain protections under the
Due Process Clause: (1) advance written notice of the
charges; (2) an opportunity to be heard before an impartial
decision maker; (3) an opportunity to call witnesses and
present documentary evidence in their defense when consistent
with institutional safety and correctional goals; and (4) a
written statement by a fact finder of evidence relied on and
the reasons for the disciplinary action. Wolff v.
McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563 (1974).
Ground One, Hubbard argues that his rights were violated
because the conduct report identified the wrong date as the
“Date of Incident.” ECF 2 at 2. On November 1,
2016, IDOC staff performed a drug test on Hubbard, and he
tested positive for suboxone. ECF 2-1 at 1. The Conduct
Report identifies the Date of Incident as November 1, 2016.
Id. Hubbard then requested additional laboratory
testing. ECF 2-1 at 1. The laboratory test, confirming the
positive findings, was dated November 5, 2016. ECF 2-1 at 9.
Hubbard argues that the date on the Conduct Report should
have been the date that the laboratory test results were
issued, rather than the date he initially tested positive.
One does not identify any due process violation. Erroneously
dating a Conduct Reports is not a basis for habeas corpus
relief. The basis of Hubbard's discipline was his initial
test results, and that date is noted on the report.
Furthermore, changing the date of the Conduct Report would
not have had any impact on the outcome of his disciplinary
case. Ground One does not implicate any of Hubbard's
rights under Wolff, and therefore Ground One does
not state a basis for habeas corpus relief.
Grounds Two and Three, Hubbard argues that his due process
rights were violated because his urine sample was
“handled by multiple officers without gloves” and
there was a delay in his receipt of the test results. ECF 2
at 2-3. Based on these factors, Hubbard argues that the
sample tested was not his sample. ECF 2 at 3. Grounds Two and
Three amount to an impermissible challenge of the sufficiency
of the evidence.
satisfy due process, there must be “some
evidence” to support the hearing officer's
decision. Superintendent, Mass. Corr. Inst. v. Hill,
472 U.S. 445, 455 (1985). “In reviewing a decision for
some evidence, courts are not required to conduct an
examination of the entire record, independently assess
witness credibility, or weigh the evidence, but only
determine whether the prison disciplinary board's
decision to revoke good time credits has some factual
basis.” McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784,
786 (7th Cir. 1999) (quotation marks omitted).
[T]he findings of a prison disciplinary board [need only]
have the support of some evidence in the record. This is a
lenient standard, requiring no more than a modicum of
evidence. Even meager proof will suffice, so long as the
record is not so devoid of evidence that the findings of the
disciplinary board were without support or otherwise
arbitrary. Although some evidence is not much, it still must
point to the accused's guilt. It is not our province to
assess the comparative weight of the evidence underlying the
disciplinary board's decision.
Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000)
(quotation marks, citations, parenthesis, and ellipsis
omitted). A Conduct Report alone can be sufficient evidence
to support a finding of guilt. McPherson, 188 F.3d
the DHO found Hubbard guilty of violating IDOC B-202. An
inmate violates this policy by “[p]ossession or use of
any unauthorized substance controlled pursuant to the laws of
the State of Indiana or the United States Code or possession
of drug paraphernalia.” Adult Disciplinary Process,
Appendix I: Offenses.
The Conduct Report charges, “[o]n 11/01/2016 at
approximately 12:00 p.m, offender Hubbard, Clauncey #956733
tested positive for suboxone. Offender Hubbard requested for
Specimen to be sent to the lab for further testing.”
ECF 2-1 at 1. Hubbard's sample was sent to a laboratory
and tested positive for Buprenorphine. ECF 2-1 at 9.
Buprenorphine is a controlled substance under Indiana law.
IC. § 35-48-2-8 (West); Weathers v. State, 69
N.E.3d 955 (Ind.Ct.App. 2016) (table) (explaining that while
the Indiana “statute references buprenorphine[, ]
suboxone is the trade name for a compound of buprenorphine
had sufficient evidence to find that Hubbard was guilty of
using a controlled substance in violation of IDOC policy. A
prisoner may be found guilty of a disciplinary infraction
based on circumstantial evidence. See Hamilton v.
O'Leary, 976 F.2d 341, 345 (7th Cir. 1992);
Brenneman v. Knight, 297 F. App'x 534, 536 (7th
Cir. 2008). The DHO was presented with two different test
results that were positive for traces of suboxone, or a
compound of suboxone. This evidence more than satisfies the
“some evidence” standard sufficient to find
Hubbard guilty. Therefore, Grounds Two and Three do not state
a basis for habeas corpus relief.
these reasons, the habeas corpus petition is DENIED pursuant
to Section 2254 Habeas Corpus Rule 4. The clerk is ...