United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. Miller, Jr. Judge United States District Court
Deane, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a habeas corpus
petition challenging ISP 16-08-96 where the Disciplinary
Hearing Officer (DHO) found him guilty of the A-100 offense
of Violation of Law on August 16, 2016. The Conduct Report
charged Deane with battery in violation of Indiana law IC
35-42-2-1. He was sanctioned with the loss of 90 days earned
credit time and was demoted from Credit Class 1 to Credit
Class 2. Mr. Deane lists three grounds in support of his
Ground One, Mr. Deane argues that he couldn't be found
guilty of, and sanctioned for, violating State law without a
jury trial and a judgment entered by a trial court. Mr. Deane
mistakes his prison discipline for a criminal conviction.
"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). The IDOC
disciplined Mr. Deane for violating its rule requiring
inmates to follow state law. See Montgomery v.
Anderson, 262 F.3d 641, 646 (7th Cir. 2001) (affirming
dismissal of prisoner's habeas claim that prison
discipline requires criminal due process protections where
prisoner was disciplined for violating State law). The IDOC
is authorized to discipline offenders in its custody, and
this includes the imposition of restitution. See
Ind. Code 11-11-5 et seq. The IDOC defines offense
A-100 as follows: "[v]iolation of any federal, state or
local criminal law (Must specify by name and criminal code
number)." Disciplinary Code for Adult Offenders,
Appendix I. http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/02-04-101
APPENDIX I- OFFENSES 6-1-2015(1).pdf. While
Mr. Deane is correct that he was not charged or convicted
with violating Indiana law, neither is a predicate for the
disciplinary offense. Thus, Ground One doesn't provide a
basis for habeas corpus relief.
Ground Two, Mr. Deane raises a number of distinct clams
regarding his screening, his guilty plea, and his claim that
he was entitled to a multi-member disciplinary board, rather
than a single hearing officer. The respondent contends that
Mr. Deane is procedurally defaulted on the claims in Ground
Two because he didn't exhaust his administrative remedies
with respect to these claims.
Indiana does not provide judicial review of decisions by
prison administrative bodies, so the exhaustion requirement
in 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b) is satisfied by pursuing all
administrative remedies. These are, we held in Markham v.
Clark, 978 F.2d 993 (7th Cir. 1992), the sort of
"available State corrective process" (§
2254(b)(1)(B)(I)) that a prisoner must use. Indiana offers
two levels of administrative review: a prisoner aggrieved by
the decision of a disciplinary panel may appeal first to the
warden and then to a statewide body called the Final
Reviewing Authority. Moffat sought review by both bodies, but
his argument was limited to the contention that the evidence
did not support the board's decision. He did not complain
to either the warden or the Final Reviewing Authority about
the board's sketchy explanation for its decision.
O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 119S.Ct.
1728, 144 L.Ed.2d 1 (1999), holds that to exhaust a claim,
and thus preserve it for collateral review under § 2254,
a prisoner must present that legal theory to the state's
supreme court. The Final Reviewing Authority is the
administrative equivalent to the state's highest court,
so the holding of Boerckel implies that when
administrative remedies must be exhausted, a legal contention
must be presented to each administrative level.
Moffat v. Brovles, 288 F.3d 978, 981-982 (7th Cir.
2002). Procedural default can be excused and the court can
consider a claim that wasn't properly raised if a
petitioner can demonstrate cause and prejudice.
Weddington v. Zatecky, 721 F.3d 456, 465 (7th Cir.
2013). Mr. Deane argues that he did present these claims
during his administrative appeal, and asserts his
presentation of the claims were merely "inartfully
expressed." Review of Mr. Deane's administrative
appeals demonstrates that he is mistaken. In his appeals, Mr.
Deane took issue with the sufficiency of the evidence, the
absence of a jury trial and court order, and the severity of
the restitution imposed. He didn't raise any other
argument. Thus, Mr. Deane's claims in Ground Two are
procedurally defaulted and he cannot proceed them.
Ground Three, Mr. Deane takes issue with the conditions of
his confinement before his hearing. The conditions of his
confinement aren't relevant for purposes of Mr.
Deane's habeas corpus petition. The scope of Mr.
Deane's present claims are limited to the question of
whether he was afforded adequate due process during his
disciplinary hearing. See Wolff v. McDonnell, 418
U.S. 539 (1974). Ground Three doesn't pertain to any of
his procedural rights under Wolff, and so
doesn't identify a basis for habeas corpus relief.
Deane wants to appeal this decision, he doesn't need a
certificate of appealability because he is challenging a
prison disciplinary proceeding. See Evans v.
Circuit Court, 569 F.3d 665, 666 (7th Cir. 2009).
However, he may not proceed in forma pauperis on appeal
because pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) an appeal in
this case could not be taken in good faith.
these reasons, the court DENIES the habeas corpus petition
(ECF 1). The Clerk DIRECTED to close this case. Petitioner is