United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
petition of Cornelius Powell for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding, REF 15-10-0002,
in which he was found guilty of aiding and abetting the
violation of a class A offense and possession or use of
cellular device, Code A-111 and Code A-121 violations. For
the reasons explained in this entry, Mr. Powell's habeas
petition must be denied.
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
October 1, 2015, Officer George Edmonds issued a Report of
Conduct charging Mr. Powell with aiding and abetting the
violation of a class A offense and possession or use of a
cellular device in violation of Code A-111 and Code A-121.
The Report of Conduct states:
On 9/30/2015 approximately 7:41am, I officer George Edmonds
witnessed resident Cornelius, Powell 910820 standing in a
huddle with resident Ivory Hill 157982 who I Edmonds
witnessed with a cell phone in his hand. Powell also was
looking down at the cell phone as well as Ivory Hill, Myran,
McKnight 894255, Eric McNeal 147483. I officer Edmonds order
Powell to stand away from Hill as I search Hill, but Powell
walked behind Hill and received a object [sic] from
Hill's hand, then I Edmonds order[ed] Powell to stand to
the other side and I Edmonds witnessed a black cell phone
charger on the ground [where] both Hill and Powell were
standing before I order[ed] Powell to move, then I Edmonds
was distracted by Myran, McKnight by dropping a piece of
paper, and witnessed Powell move quickly away again. And when
I Edmonds searched the area [where] Powell had moved from I
witnessed a black cell phone on a machine still on. I Edmonds
confiscated cell phone and called Lt. Phearson.
Powell was notified of the charge on October 1, 2015, when he
was served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of
Disciplinary Hearing (Screening Report). Dkt. 11-2. The
Screening Officer noted that Mr. Powell requested five
witnesses, two of which were State Fair employees.
Id. Mr. Powell's request for the State Fair
employee witnesses was denied when they could not be
identified and located. Id. Mr. Powell did not
request any physical evidence or a lay advocate. Id.
Mr. Powell's signature appears on the Notice of
Disciplinary Hearing and Report of Conduct. Dkt. 11-1; dkt.
Eric McNeal provided a statement that said:
I, Eric McNeal [sic] Mr. Powell on 9-30-15 with a cup of
coffee standing talking to me, Mr. Hill, Mr. McKnight and
some fair workers unsupervised waiting to work when Off.
Edmonds ask [sic] if he could pat us down[.] Mr. Hill never
passed Mr. Powell anything because Mr. Hills [sic] hands were
in the air while being search[ed].
McNight provided a statement that said:
Powell never was not [sic] handed anything from Hill. Officer
Edmonds was very serious about us not moving around. His tone
of voice was loud and ...