United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
SEAN P. RICH, Petitioner,
DICK BROWN Superintendent, Respondent.
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
J. McKINNEY, JUDGE United States District Court Southern
District of Indiana
petition of Sean Rich for a writ of habeas corpus challenges
a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. WVE
17-01-0016. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr.
Rich's habeas petition must be denied.
in Indiana custody may not be deprived of good-time credits,
see Cochran v. Buss, 381 F.3d 637, 639 (7th Cir.
2004) (per curiam), or of credit-earning class, see
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). See
also 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).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
January 5, 2017, Officer Huston wrote a Conduct Report
charging Mr. Rich with unauthorized possession of property in
violation of Code B-215. The Conduct Report states:
On 1-5-17 at approximately 7 a.m. I, c/o J. Huston observed
offender Sean Rich DOC #995701 who works in North Industry
Print Shop enter the North Industry Wire Shop with an
unopened package of (100) 4x4 cotton pads taken from the
Print Shop and made the attempt to pass to another offender
which I intercepted.
Dkt. 12-1 at 1.
Rich was notified of the charge on January 9, 2017, when he
received the Screening Report. He plead not guilty to the
charge and did not request any physical evidence. He
requested a lay advocate and Mr. Wehmeyer, his job
supervisor, as a witness. Mr. Wehmeyer provided witness
statements via two e-mails. In the first he stated,
“Yes one of [Mr. Rich's] jobs is a backup supply
clerk for the Print Shop[, ] [n]ot the wire shop[.] [H]is
mistake was taking them to the wire shop without a Forman
permission. Wire shop foreman did not ask for them.”
Dkt. 12-5 at 1. And in the second he stated, “We
don't use cotton pads in the Wire Shop.” Dkt. 12-6
hearing was held on January 12, 2017. Mr. Rich stated at the
hearing, “It was a mistake - I didn't hear
clearly.” Dkt. 12-8 at 1. Based on the Conduct Report,
Mr. Rich's statement, the witness statements, a photo of
the cotton pads, and the confiscation form regarding the
cotton pads, the hearing officer found Mr. Rich guilty of
unauthorized possession of property. The sanctions imposed
included a thirty-day earned-credit-time deprivation.
Rich appealed to Facility Head and the IDOC Final Reviewing
Authority, but both of his appeals were denied. He then
brought this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254.
petitioner raises nine grounds for relief in his habeas
petition. The respondent contends that several of the
petitioner's claims are unexhausted and thus procedurally
defaulted, and that the remaining claims lack merits. The
Court will begin with the issue of exhaustion before turning
to the merits of the claims that were properly exhausted.