United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Jones, a pro se prisoner, filed a petition under 28
U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his prison disciplinary
hearing where a hearing officer found him guilty of
possession of a controlled substance in violation of Indiana
Department of Correction policy B-202. DE 1 at 1. His
punishment was 90 days earned credit time being taken from
him and he was demoted from Credit Class 2 to Credit Class 3.
Id. According to Jones, there are four grounds which
entitle him to habeas corpus relief.
Ground One, Jones claims, "Superintendent Griffin
instructed to find all B and A write ups guilty." DE 1
at 2. Liberally construing this claim, this appears to be an
argument that Jones was denied due process because the
Superintendent of the facility issued an instruction to the
prison's hearing officers that all offenders charged with
class A or B offenses be found guilty. "[P]risoners are
entitled to be free from arbitrary actions of prison
officials." McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 787
(7th Cir. 1999) (quotation marks omitted). But in the prison
disciplinary context, adjudicators are "entitled to a
presumption of honesty and integrity, " and "the
constitutional standard for impermissible bias is high."
Piggie v. Cotton, 342 F.3d 660, 666 (7th Cir. 2003).
Jones does not provide any additional information to explain
what makes him believe the Superintendent issued such an
instruction, or why he believes that the hearing officer
followed such an instruction. And Jones's unsubstantiated
allegation is not enough to overcome the presumption. In the
absence of any evidence, Ground One is not a basis for habeas
Grounds Two, Three, and Four, Jones argues that the hearing
officer did not have sufficient evidence to find him guilty
of violating B-202. In the disciplinary context, "the
relevant question is whether there is any evidence in the
record that could support the conclusion reached by the
disciplinary board." Superintendent v. Hill,
472 U.S. 445, 455-56 (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, 188 F.3d at 786. Even a
"meager" amount of evidence will do. Webb v.
Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000).
what the Conduct Report has to say about what Jones is
alleged to have done:
On October 9, 2015 at approximately 7:45pm I Officer G.
Bailey was assigned to the IHU Vi side. I was
conducting a property inventory of offender Jones, Clifford
DOC#998061 from IHU-207.1 located a folded piece of tan paper
inside a pillow case in offender Jones' property box.
After unfolding the paper it revealed a green leafy substance
that is believed to be the controlled substance referred to
as K-2 or spice. Also located numerous pieces of paper
containing other offenders' information that speaks of
DE 7-1. K-2 is the name of synthetic marijuana. See
McNeeley v. Superintendent, No. 3:13 CV 401, 2014 WL
301462, at *1 n.l (N.D. Ind. Jan. 28, 2014) citing
Nat'l Drug Control Pol'y,
(last accessed July 28, 2017).
IDOC defines offense B-202 as "[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. http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/02-04-101
APPENDIX I-OFFENSES 6-l-2015fn.pdf (last accessed
July 28, 2017). The IDOC's definition of
'possession' includes any contraband on the
prisoner's person, without reference to ownership:
"offenders are presumed to be responsible for any
property, prohibited property or contraband that is located
on their person, within their cell or within areas of their
housing, work, educational or vocational assignment that are
under their control." Disciplinary Code for Adult
101 The Disciplinary Code for Adult Offenders
6-l-2015.pdf (last accessed July 28, 2017). Indiana
State law prohibits possession of any synthetic drug. Ind.
Code § 35-48-4-11.5.
hearing officer's finding that Jones was guilty was not
arbitrary or unreasonable in light of the evidence in the
Conduct Report. Further, a Conduct Report alone can be
sufficient evidence to support a finding of guilt.
McPherson, 188 F.3d at 786. Here, the reporting
officer recognized the concealed substance as synthetic
officer's identification of the substance, combined with
the suspicious concealment of the substance inside a pillow
case, was "some evidence" that Jones was guilty of
argues that he should not have been found guilty because the
confiscated substance was not tested. However, the
prison's refusal to test the substance did not violate
Jones' due process rights. "Prison disciplinary
proceedings are not part of a criminal prosecution, and the
full panoply of rights due a defendant in such proceedings
does not apply." Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S.
539, 556 (1974). Though prisoners have a right to submit
relevant exculpatory evidence, they do not have the right to
create evidence which does not already exist because
"[p]rison officials must have the necessary discretion
to keep the hearing within reasonable limits." Id.
See also Freitas v. Auger, 837 F.2d 806, 812 n.13 (8th
Cir. 1988) ("Freitas was not entitled to a polygraph
examination ...."); Rhatigan v. Ward, 187
Fed.Appx. 889, 890-891 (10th Cir. 2006); and Arthur v.
Ayers, 43 Fed.Appx. 56, 57 (9th Cir. 2002) (inmates not
entitled to laboratory testing of substances). Thus, the fact
that the substance was not tested is not a basis for habeas
Jones argues that he should not have been found guilty
because (in a different disciplinary ticket) the reporting
officer mistook his identity. DE 1 at 3. But this has no
relevance to Jones' present petition. The documents
demonstrate that on October 9, 2015 Jones received two
disciplinary tickets; the ticket in this case, and a ticket
in another case. He had a hearing in both cases on October
20, 2015. While both Conduct Reports concern Jones' use
or possession of a controlled substance in violation of
B-202, the tickets were issued as a result of two different
incidents. In this petition, Jones has not challenged the
merits of his discipline in the other case. And nor could he,
as his claims regarding that case have already been
adjudicated in Jones v. Superintendent,
3:16-cv-130-RL (closed July 27, 2016). Thus the content of
his other disciplinary ticket is not relevant to this case
and does not serve as a basis for habeas corpus relief.
reasons set forth above, the petition (DE 1) is
DENIED. The clerk is
DIRECTED to close this case.