United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
William T. Lawrence, United States District Judge.
petition of Jason Neace for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding, REF 15-12-0008,
in which he was found guilty of being under the influence of
an intoxicating substance. For the reasons explained in this
entry, Mr. Neace's habeas petition must be
in Indiana custody may not be deprived of credit time,
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); Jones v. Cross, 637 F.3d
841, 845 (7th Cir. 2011); 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
December 3, 2015, Officer T. Sutton issued a Report of
Conduct charging Mr. Neace with being under the influence of
an intoxicating substance in violation of Code B-231. The
Report of Conduct states:
On December 3, 2015 at approx. 11:10 am I Officer T. Sutton
was conducting a security check in unit 8 c1 bed area. As I
entered through the back door I smelled a strong sweet oder
[sic], that resembled synthetic marijuana. I then saw
resident Neace, Jason 967370 sitting in a chair by bed C1-13,
along with him was resident Headspeth, Wayne #233874 and
resident Olston, Zachery, #133183. Resident Neace eye's
[sic] where [sic] red and dialated [sic] and he was sluggish.
I then asked resident Neace to get up and move to the wall,
so I could look for what was being smoked. I then radio [sic]
for G. Edmonds for help. I then escorted him to medical. He
was then seen by Mr. Civils.
Dkt. 13-1, p. 1.
Civils, LPN, examined Mr. Neace when he was taken to medical.
Dkt. 13-1, pp. 2-5. Nurse Civils found that although Mr.
Neace's vital signs were stable, his pupils were sluggish
and slow to react and his gait was off balance. Nurse Civils
concluded that Mr. Neace was possibly intoxicated.
Id. Nurse Civils examined Mr. Neace again a few
hours later and found that his pupils were non-reactive to
light stimuli, his speech was slurred, and his standing gait
was off. Id.
Neace was notified of the charge on December 4, 2015, when he
was served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of
Disciplinary Hearing (Screening Report). Dkt. 13-2. The
Screening Officer noted that Mr. Neace did not request any
witnesses, but requested a medical test and urinalysis.
hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on December
7, 2015. Dkt. 13-4. The hearing officer noted Mr. Neace's
statement, “I wasn't in a chair. I was just getting
out of bed.” Id. Relying on the staff report,
the statement of the offender, and the medical test, the
hearing officer determined that Mr. Neace had violated Code
B-231. Id. The hearing officer's reasons for his
decision were that the Report of Conduct was “clear,
” the “medical test shows some form of
intoxication, ” and Mr. Neace “admits to being in
area in question.” Id.
sanctions imposed included a written reprimand, the
deprivation of 90 days of earned credit time, and the
demotion of credit class II to III. Id. The hearing
officer imposed the sanctions because of the seriousness and
frequency or nature of the offense, the offender's
attitude and demeanor during the hearing, and the likelihood
of the sanction having a corrective effect on the
offender's future behavior. Id.
Neace's appeals were denied. This habeas action followed.