United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
WARREN C. MEECE, Petitioner,
DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
inmate Warren Meece was disciplined in a proceeding
identified as No. BTC 16-12-187 for violating prison rules.
Contending that the proceeding is tainted by constitutional
error, Meece seeks a writ of habeas corpus. Finding no error
of this nature, however, the Court concludes that Meece's
petition for writ of habeas corpus must be
December 19, 2016, a conduct report was issued charging Meece
with conspiracy/ attempting harassment based on the content
of a letter Meece had written to Mr. Kleyn, which was
included in a letter he had written to Stacy Meece and which
prison authorities had intercepted. The separate letter
contained a disparaging threat to Mr. Kleyn.
December 30, 2016, Meece was given a copy of the conduct
report and notified of his procedural rights. A hearing was
conducted on January 10, 2017. Meece attended the hearing and
made a statement concerning the charge. The hearing officer
considered Meece's statement, together with the other
evidence, and found Meece guilty of the charged misconduct.
His administrative appeal was denied and this action
in Indiana custody may not be deprived of good-time credits,
Cochran v. Buss, 381 F.3d 637, 639 (7th Cir. 2004),
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 requirements of Wolff and Hill as an
analytical template, Meece received all the process to which
he was entitled. That is, the charge was clear, adequate
notice was given, and the evidence was sufficient. In
addition, (1) Meece was given the opportunity to appear
before the hearing officer and make a statement concerning
the charge, (2) the hearing officer issued a sufficient
statement of his findings, and (3) the hearing officer issued
a written reason for the decision and for the sanctions
imposed. Meece's claims otherwise lack merit.
• Meece's first claim is that the conduct report was
not written within the time required by prison policies.
Wolff does not prescribe a comparable deadline,
however, and the mere violation of a prison policy does not
support federal habeas relief. See Keller v.
Donahue, 2008 WL 822255, 271 Fed.Appx. 531, 532 (7th
Cir. Mar. 27, 2008) (in a habeas action, an inmate “has
no cognizable claim arising from the prison's application
of its regulations.”); Hester v. McBride, 966
F.Supp. 765, 774-75 (N.D.Ind. 1997) (violations of the
Indiana Adult Disciplinary Policy Procedures do not state a
claim for federal habeas relief).
• Meece's second claim is that the hearing officer
violated prison rules by failing to grant Meece's request
on the day of the hearing to postpone the hearing so that he
could obtain documentary evidence. As with the first claim,
however, a violation of prison rules does not state a
cognizable claim for relief and a request made on the date of
the hearing need not be granted. Sweeny v. Parke,
113 F.3d 716, 720 (7th Cir. 1997), overruled on other
grounds by White v. Ind. Parole Bd., 266 F.3d 759,
765-66 (7th Cir. 2001).
• Meece's third claim is that prison authorities
lacked authority to convict him of violating a criminal law
and that he was denied a full criminal trial. This claim
reveals that Meece misapprehends what transpired.
Specifically, the expanded record shows that he was charged
with violating a prison rule which corresponded to a crime,
not with a crime itself. Additionally,
“[p]rison 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).
touchstone of due process is protection of the individual
against arbitrary action of the government.”
Wolff, 418 U.S. at 558. There was no arbitrary
action in any aspect of the charge, disciplinary proceeding,
or sanctions involved in the events identified in this
action, and there was no constitutional infirmity in the
proceeding which entitles Meece to the relief he seeks.
Accordingly, his petition for a writ of habeas corpus is
denied and this action is dismissed.
consistent with this ...