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Sims v. Smith

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

July 19, 2017

GREGORY SIMS, Petitioner,
v.
BRYAN SMITH, Respondent.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          HON. JANE MAGNTTS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE

         The petition of Gregory Sims for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. ISF 16-09-0464. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Sim'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 September 26, 2016, CPO Wire issued a Report of Conduct charging Sims with possession of a controlled substance in violation of Code B-202. The Report of Conduct states, “On September 23, 2016 I, D. Wire received the confirmation of the urinalysis drug screen report on Offender Gregory Sims DOC #979154. The test results states [sic] that Offender Sims tested positive for Buprenorphine and Norbuprenorphine.” Sims was notified of the charge on September 29, 2016, when he was served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing (Screening Report). The Screening Officer noted that Sims requested Sergeant Bricker as a witness and the video for evidence. When asked by Sims if the urine was left “laying around”, Sergeant Bricker responded:

After urine drug screen was done I used a reditest substance abuse screening device to test for suboxone. It was a positive read. All tests were done with the offender present. Seal was placed on bottle secured by offender. After being told of results offender Sims refused to sign. Urine sample placed in secure designated area by IA with all proper paperwork.

When asked by Sims if he left the urine out, Sergeant Bricker responded, “No, after test and secured by the security seal urine sample results do not change after initial outcome. Urine moved to secure area. Date of urine sample taken was 9-7-16.” The summary of the video of the event provides, “On 9-6-16 at approx. 10:26:26 in the strip cell offender Sims, Gregory ##979154 can be see[n] taking a urinalysis test. At 10:27:16 Sgt. Bricker can be seen sealing the container used for the u[ri]nalysis.”

         The Hearing Officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on October 21, 2016. The Hearing Officer noted Sims' comments that the hearing was “[o]ut of time frame” and that he “didn't get video I requested.” Relying on the staff reports, the statement of the offender, and the physical evidence, the Hearing Officer determined that Sims had violated Code B-202. The sanctions imposed included a written reprimand, a loss of phone privileges, a demotion from credit class I to II, and the imposition of a suspended sentence from case ICF16-08-0331.

         Sims's appeals were denied and he filed the present petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

         C. Analysis

         Sims challenges his disciplinary conviction arguing that the report was written beyond the time frame set forth in The Disciplinary Code for Adult Offenders, that the hearing was held beyond the time frame, that the sanctions were not rehabilitative in nature, and that he was denied physical evidence.

         Violations of Department ...


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