United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
petition of Douglas Sprunger for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
ISF 16-02-0263. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr.
Sprunger's habeas petition must be
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).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
February 6, 2016, Officer Thompson wrote a Conduct Report
charging Mr. Sprunger with possession of a cellular device in
violation of Code A-121. The Conduct Report states:
On 02-06-16 at approximately 1015 in the C-side latrine of 18
south I, officer Thompson, was conducting a search of
offender Douglas Sprunger #161040. During the search offender
Sprunger #161040 reached into the waistline of his shorts and
retrieved a black touch screen ZTE cellphone. I then ordered
Sprunger to give me the cellphone and he complied with the
order given. I identified the offender by his State-issued
identification card and advised him of the conduct report.
Filing No. 8-1 at 1.
Sprunger was notified of the charge on February 12, 2016,
when he received the Screening Report. He plead not guilty to
the charge. Mr. Sprunger requested fellow inmate Travis
Scherber as a witness, but did not request any physical
evidence. Mr. Scherber provided a witness statement, which
stated, “I told them that the phone [and] shorts were
mine. He grabbed the wrong shorts.” Filing No. 8-7 at
hearing was held on February 15, 2016. Mr. Sprunger stated
the following at the hearing: “Not my phone. I was in
the shower when I got out I put some shorts on that
weren't mine. I use[d] the restroom. [Three] officers
came in . . . on me. Apparently there was a phone that I
didn't know about.” Filing No. 8-9 at 1. Based on
Mr. Sprunger's statement, the staff reports, witness
statements, and a picture of the phone, the hearing officer
found Mr. Sprunger guilty. The sanctions imposed included a
one-hundred-twenty day earned-credit-time deprivation and the
imposition of suspended sanctions from another disciplinary
Sprunger appealed to Facility Head and then to 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.
Sprunger raises four claims in his habeas petition. The
respondent contends that all of the claims lack merit. The
Court will address each claim in turn.