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Fox v. Superintendent

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

July 19, 2017

RAMON FOX, Petitioner,


          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         The petition of Ramon Fox for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. IYC 16-01-0275. For the reasons explained in this entry, Mr. Fox'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 January 27, 2016, Investigator P. Prulhiere wrote a Report of Conduct in case IYC 16-01-0275 charging Mr. Fox with violation of state law, I.C. 35-42-2-1.5, aggravated battery. The Conduct Report states:

As a result of an investigation completed on January 15, 2016, there is sufficient evidence to charge Offender Fox with a violation of State Law IC 35-42-2-1.5 (1) aggravated battery, a level 3 felony.

[Dkt. 13-1].

         The Investigation Report states:

On December 18, 2015 at approximately 5:50 am (Ref: incident report filed with same date), Officer R. Thomas was advised by an offender in Housing Unit South F Unit that an offender was injured and needed medical care. This offender's condition indicated that he had been assaulted. From this point on, this offender will be referred to as the victim. The victim had injuries to his eyes, face, torso and arms that were bleeding and bruised. The victim also had wounds consistent with having been stabbed with a spike type weapon. Supervisory staff attempted to question the victim about his condition, but due to incoherent behavior and speech, no accurate information was obtained. The victim was evaluated by Plainfield Correctional Facility medical staff and it was determined that the victim needed to be taken to an Emergency Room for treatment.
Upon discovery of the victim's condition, Housing Unit South was placed on Lockdown status. Investigator Feldkamp and Lieutenant Kent began a systemic process of interviewing Offenders assigned to Housing Unit South Dorm, F Unit. Leads were gradually acquired to aid in the process of reviewing closed circuit surveillance video. Information received from unit interviews provided a possible location and time of the victim's assault, between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm on December 17, 2015 near or at bed location F4-8L or F4-9L. I, Investigator Prulhiere, began a systematic process of reviewing the unit video and did find activity occurring near the location that was provided. After observing this activity (the activity did appear to be an active assault), I attempted to locate the victim on unit video. At approximately 6:54 pm, I observed the victim near his assigned bunk moving in a normal manner. I observed the victim walk to the row of bunks into the aisle between rows F3 and F4 stopping between beds F4-10 and F4-11. At approximately 7:01 pm, the victim walked to the space between F4-8/F4-9 and sat down. The victim remained there until the observed time of the assault which was found to be approximately 7:33 pm. At approximately 7:06 pm, Housing Unit South began their recreation movement to the facility gym. During this time, it was found in the review of surveillance video, that four offenders from Housing Unit South G Unit evaded security and entered into Housing Unit South F Unit. Three identified suspects and Offender Ramon Fox 932844 entered F unit and blended into the unit with other offenders. (All of the suspects and victim are named in case number 16-IYC-0007. A key for the names is included separately in the case file). As time approached 7:30 pm, these four (4) offenders began to assume what appeared to be preplanned positions in proximity to the victim. Suspect 4, from the middle camera's perspective went to a position that was just to the left of the bed area/latrine hallway entrance door and waited. Suspect 1 went to the victim's current located standing at the opening between beds F4-8 and F4-9 directly in front of the victim. Offender Fox, suspect 2, stood directly in the middle camera's view with Suspect 3 speaking to an F Unit Offender. At approximately 7:33 pm, suspect 2 and suspect 3 proceed to the area where the victim was currently located.
Suspect 4, moved in behind Offender Fox, suspect 2 and suspect 3 which placed the three of them with suspect 1 in the area with the victim. Using video surveillance, I observed that Offender Fox, suspect 2, was the first aggressor to move in and attack the victim. From approximately 7:33pm consistently through 7:39 pm the assault barrage from these four offenders was made on the victim. The assault was contained to the space between F4-8L and F4-9L, included F4-9L and merged into the space between F4-9L and F4-10L.
Interviews were conducted with all four suspects and the victim. These interviews yielded confirmation that all of the suspects identified on unit video were active participants in the incident. All of these suspects struck the victim with closed fists, kicked or held the victim while the others struck or kicked the victim. Upon a more clear review of the video, using this information, at approximately 7:38:40 I observed Suspect 4, begin a highly active kicking barrage on the victim that continued for approximately 30 seconds. As a result of this ...

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