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Cook v. Smith

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

October 17, 2017

ARCINE COOK, Petitioner,
v.
BRIAN SMITH Superintendent, Respondent.

          ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          Robert L. Miller, Jr. United States District Judge.

         The petition of Arcine Cook (“Mr. Cook”) for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. ISF 17-02-0019. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Cook's habeas petition must be denied.

         A. Overview

         Prisoners 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, 644-445 (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, 570-571 (1974); Piggie v. Cotton, 344 F.3d 674, 677 (7th Cir. 2003); Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000).

         B. The Disciplinary Proceeding

         On January 30, 2017, Officer Hylton wrote a Conduct Report charging Mr. Cook with engaging in an unauthorized financial transaction. Indiana Department of Prisons Policy 02-04-101 Appendix I defines the charge as:

“Engaging in or possessing materials used for unauthorized financial transactions. This includes, but is not limited to, the use or possession of identifying information of credit cards, debit cards, or any other card used to complete a financial transaction.”

Dkt. 8-8.

         The Conduct Report states:

On 01/30/2017 at approx. 1820 hrs., phone calls were reviewed in tower #1 by C/O N. Hylton #449. A phone call made by offender Arcine Cook #249635 does confirm that offender Cook did engage in an unauthorized financial transaction. The call was made on 01/22/2017 at 1947 hrs. To 219-359-9117 from 17NB 3. 01:25 Cook: Did you pick up the demo? Female: Yeah. Yeah Cook: For a cinnam [sic], for a honey bun. Right? Female: Yeah. Cook: I need 70 of that. 01:37 Female: Oh, no. Cause you made me late for work man. 01:49 Female: I was like 30, 40 minutes late for work cause I had to leave right then. Dang I was gonna say like 60/40 at the most, but when I got so late for work, I'm like, God damn. I might need that whole half. Cook: I can't give you half of everything Donna. That's what I'm tell in you. I got bills I have to pay too. Cook: I can't pay my bills if I'm giving you half of everything. I gotta pay phone, phone money and pay my bills. I got a 1200 dollar bill hanging over my head. Female: Bill for what? You didn't tell me bout no bill. What you talk in about? Cook: Because I can't talk on the phone like that. 02:43 Cook: If my cousin gain them, God damn it, out there on 8th avenue do in what they do in, shit, they still gotta re-up. 03:32 I'm los in. I have made 30 dollars fuck in wit you. That's it. 04:15 Cook: Do the 60/40. Just put it on my books.

Dkt. 8-1.

         Mr. Cook was notified of the charge on February 2, 2017, when he received the Conduct Report. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

         A hearing was held on February 9, 2017. Based on Mr. Cook's statement and the staff reports, the hearing officer found Mr. Cook guilty of engaging in an unauthorized financial transaction. The sanctions imposed included sixty-days lost earned credit time, thirty-days lost phone privileges, and the imposition of a suspended sanction of thirty-days lost earned credit time from a prior disciplinary action.

         Mr. Cook appealed to facility head and the Department of Correction final reviewing authority. The first appeal was denied and the second appeal resulted in a modification removing the imposition of the previously suspended sanction of thirty days lost earned credit time because it had been imposed outside the six-month limit provided in facility ...


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