United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. Miller, Jr. Judge United States District Court
Hardman, a prisoner representing himself, filed a habeas
corpus petition challenging the prison disciplinary hearing
(WCC 16-06-161) in which a disciplinary hearing officer found
him guilty of possession of a cell phone in violation of
Indiana Department of Correction policy A-121. Mr. Hardman
was sanctioned with the loss of 30 days earned credit time.
Mr. Hardman raises three grounds in his petition, which he
claims entitle him to habeas corpus relief.
Grounds One and Three, Mr. Hardman argues that the hearing
officer didn't have sufficient evidence to find him
guilty. 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 v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir.
1999) (quotation marks omitted).
[T]he findings of a prison disciplinary board [need only]
have the support of some evidence in the record. This is a
lenient standard, requiring no more than a modicum of
evidence. Even meager proof will suffice, so long as the
record is not so devoid of evidence that the findings of the
disciplinary board were without support or otherwise
arbitrary. Although some evidence is not much, it still must
point to the accused's guilt. It is not our province to
assess the comparative weight of the evidence underlying the
disciplinary board's decision.
Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000)
(quotation marks, citations, parenthesis, and ellipsis
Hardman was charged with violating IDOC A-121. The Department
of Correction defines this offense as the
“[u]nauthorized use or possession of any cellular
telephone or other wireless or cellular communications
device.” Indiana Department of Correction, Adult
Disciplinary Process: Appendix I.
.pdf. The Conduct Report charged Mr. Hardman as follows:
On the above date [June 5, 2016] at approximately 12:45pm
offender Hardman, Jerry doc# 978729 approached me, Officer
Johnson at the GSC large yard fence line while 10 dorm was
returning from recreation, he then physically handed me a
piece of paper with a cell phone number on it and stated to
me “here is my cell phone number, call me after nine pm
to talk about the proposition.”
hearing officer had sufficient evidence to find Mr. Hardman
guilty of possession of a cell phone. Mr. Hardman admitted to
Officer Johnson that he had a cell phone, and he provided her
with the phone number where he could be reached. This alone
was sufficient to find Mr. Hardman guilty. The hearing
officer needed a mere “modicum” of evidence to
find Mr. Hardman guilty. See Webb v. Anderson, 224
F.3d 652. The hearing officer had evidence of an admission
from Mr. Hardman. While the phone wasn't located, the
hearing officer didn't need to see the phone on Mr.
Hardman's person to find him guilty of possession.
See Brenneman v. Knight, 297 F. App'x 534, 536
(7th Cir. 2008) (finding prisoner guilty based on
circumstantial evidence); Hamilton v. O'Leary,
976 F.2d 341, 345 (7th Cir. 1992) (finding offender guilty
based on offender's constructive possession of
contraband). Furthermore, “[t]he Federal Constitution
does not require evidence that logically precludes any
conclusion but the one reached by the disciplinary
board.” Hill v. Sup't, 472 U.S. at 457.
While it is possible that Mr. Hardman lied about his
possession of the cell phone or provided a cell phone number
belonging to another offender (theories he does not present),
the hearing officer nevertheless had enough evidence to find
him guilty of possession. Grounds One and Three do not
identify a basis for habeas corpus relief.
Ground Two, Mr. Hardman argues that he improperly received
multiple Conduct Reports and multiple sanctions for incidents
that were all part of one trafficking scheme. Mr. Hardman
claims that his discipline in this case was cumulative of his
discipline in two other cases, WCC 16-06-162 and WCC
16-06-163, in which he was charged and disciplined for
attempting to traffic with Officer Johnson. In his other two
cases, Mr. Hardman was disciplined for attempted trafficking
in violation of IDOC A-111. In this case, Mr. Hardman was
disciplined for possession of a cell phone in violation of
IDOC A-121. That Mr. Hardman committed numerous infractions
on the same day doesn't mean that the Department of
Correction could not discipline him for each of his separate
infractions. Ground Two doesn't identify a basis for
habeas corpus relief.
court DENIES the petition for writ of habeas corpus. (ECF 1)
The clerk ...