United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
William T. Lawrence, Judge
petition of Darnell Johnson for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
RDC 17-02-0028. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr.
Johnson'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 23, 2017, Officer T. Wilson wrote a Conduct Report
charging Mr. Johnson with disorderly conduct. The Conduct
On 2-23-17 at approximately 7:50 am I, Officer T. Wilson, was
calling out TB reads in North Pod when a misunderstanding
with an offender occurred regarding the TB read. At this
time, offender Johnson, Darnell #219986 yelled from his cell
in North Pod 247 “Shut the fuck up c.o., Beat that
c.o.'s ass.” I then ordered the offender to stop
yelling and causing a disruption in the Pod. The offender
Johnson then responded “Roll this door bitch. I'll
beat yo ass. I dare you to walk by my door. I'll gunsmoke
yo ass.” He then kicked his door several times. The
offender kept yelling profanities despite repeated orders to
stop. I then called the pod Sergeant and upon his arrival
offender Johnson was placed in mechanical restrains and
escorted to 1st Range.
Dkt. 9-1 at 1.
Johnson was notified of the charge and received the Screening
Report on the same date the Conduct Report was written. He
plead not guilty to the charge, requested the Nurse on the
range at the time and inmate Joshua Flora as witnesses, and
requested video evidence of the incident to show that Officer
Wilson “blew a kiss at me.” The Nurse provided a
witness statement that corroborated Officer Wilson's
Conduct Report, while Mr. Flora's witness statement said
that he was asleep at that time. Finally, a video evidence
review was conducted, and it was concluded that there was
“no video recording at the place of th[e]
incident.” Dkt. 9-2 at 4.
hearing was held on February 28, 2017. At the hearing, Mr.
Johnson stated, “I woke up to North Pod screaming and
yelling. I was shaking and sweating due to medical fasting. I
did not exhibit any violent or negative behavior. Upon asking
for help from the officer, he blew a kiss and then gave me a
Conduct Report.” Dkt. 9-3 at 1. Based on Mr.
Johnson's statement, the staff reports, and the evidence
from the witnesses, the hearing officer found Mr. Johnson
guilty of disorderly conduct. The sanctions imposed included
a thirty-day earned-credit-time deprivation and a suspended
Johnson 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.
Johnson raises the following three claims in his habeas
petition: (1) he was denied his requested witness statement
from inmate Mr. Flora; (2) he was not provided an adequate
written basis for the decision; and (3) he was denied the
requested video evidence. The respondent argues that Mr.
Johnson's first two arguments were not raised in his
administrative appeals and are therefore procedurally
defaulted. The Court will address the issue of procedural
default before turning to the merits of the remaining claims.