United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
petition of Bobby Vaughn for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
IYC 16-10-0199. For the reasons explained in this Entry,
Vaughn's habeas petition must be denied.
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
October 18, 2016, Officer Brown wrote a Report of Conduct in
case IYC 16-10-0199 charging Vaughn with possession of a
cellular device. The Report of Conduct states:
On 10/18/2016 at approximately 2:15 pm, I, Officer J. Brown
(260) was assisting Officer Q. Fritz (251) in a search of
Offender Vaughn, Bobby #160479 / N1-3U. Upon entering Cell
N1-03, I Officer J. Brown gave Offender Vaughn a direct order
to come with us to the Central lobby. Offender Vaughn walked
out of the cell in front of me as if to comply with my order.
As Officer Fritz approaches the sally port doors to let us
through, Offender Vaughn turns around and starts walking
towards the dayroom latrine. I follow Offender Vaughn and
gave several orders for him [to] change his direction. Vaughn
continues to ignore my orders and continued walking in the
opposite direction. Once Offender Vaughn passed the steps of
the dayroom, I clearly observed him pass a flat, black, touch
screen phone to Offender Grant, Anthony #259549 / N1-3L.
Offender Grant then tried to walk past me. I then stuck out
my left arm to block his path. Grant then tried to walk away
from me. I placed my left hand on the Offenders chest and
placed my right hand on the Offenders right wrist while
ordering him to submit to mechanical restraints. As I gave
Offender Grant the order to submit to mechanical restraints,
the Offender pulled away from me and ran into the dayroom
latrine. As Offender Grant reached the latrine, he threw the
phone into the toilet and attempted to flush it. When
Offender Grant lunged to the toilet, both he and I fell to
the ground. While this was happening I placed my right hand
on his left hand to try and stop him from flushing the
toilet. I then placed my left forearm on his chest and pushed
him back to create distance. Officer Fritz called first
responders via radio then placed both of his hands on the
left shoulder of Offender Grant and assisted him to his feet.
I then retrieved the cell phone from the toilet and exited
November 29, 2016, Vaughn was notified of the charge of
possession of a cellular device and served with the Report of
Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing
“Screening Report”. Vaughn was notified of his
rights, pled not guilty and requested the appointment of a
lay advocate. He requested a witness, Offender Anthony Grant,
but did not request any physical evidence.
hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on December
13, 2016, and found Vaughn guilty of the charge of possession
of a cellular device. In making this determination, the
hearing officer considered the offender's statements,
staff reports, and photographic evidence. The hearing officer
recommended and approved the following sanctions: a 180-day
deprivation of earned credit time, and imposition of a
previously-suspended sanction demoting him from credit class
I to credit class II, and a suspended demotion from credit
class II to credit class III.
appeals were denied and he filed this petition for a writ of
challenges the disciplinary action taken against him arguing
that his due process rights were violated when: 1) his
hearing was not held within a reasonable time, 2) he was
screened under another inmate's conduct report, 3) the
hearing officer failed to consider a witness statement, and
4) the administrative appeal of the other inmate involved in
the incident at issue was granted.
Date of Hearing
first asserts that his hearing was not held within a
reasonable time after the conduct at issue took place. Due
process requires only 24-hours' notice of a hearing the
claimed violation. Wolff, 418 U.S. at 563 (1974).
Therefore, any delay in holding the hearing did not violate
his due process rights. In addition, any violation of IDOC
policy is not enough to raise a due process violation. Prison
policies, regulations, or guidelines do not constitute
federal law; instead, they are “primarily designed to
guide correctional officials in the administration of a
prison . . . not . . . to confer rights on inmates.”
Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 481-82 (1995).
Therefore, claims based on prison policy, such as the one at
issue here, do not form a basis for habeas relief. See
Keller v. Donahue, 271 Fed.Appx. 531, 532 (7th Cir.
2008) (rejecting challenges to a prison disciplinary
proceeding because, “[i]nstead of addressing any
potential constitutional defect, all of [the
petitioner's] arguments relate to alleged departures from
procedures outlined in the prison handbook that have no
bearing on his right to due process”); Rivera v.
Davis, 50 Fed.Appx. 779, ...