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Collins v. Knight

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

October 19, 2017

DAVID COLLINS, Petitioner,
v.
WENDY KNIGHT, Respondent.

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

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         The petition of David Collins for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding, CIC 16-07-0279, in which he was found guilty of battery, B-212. For the reasons explained in this entry, Mr. Collins' habeas petition must be denied.

         I. Overview

         Prisoners 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).

         II. The Disciplinary Proceeding

         On July 22, 2016, Sergeant B. Roberts issued a Report of Conduct charging Mr. Collins with battery in violation of Code B-212. The Report of Conduct states:

On July 21, 2016 at approximately 2:00AM I Sergeant B. Roberts was notified by the shift office that there was a note turned in that Offender Jason Hood 1111511B-5F had been assaulted by Offender David Collins 136767 15A-1F & Offender Robert Fields 224946 15B-1F. I found Offender Hood to have injuries consistent with have being [sic] involved in a fight. After reviewing the camera, Offender Hood was seen going into cell 15-1F at 11:09.02am and came out and went into the TV room where he lived at 11:18am. Once he entered the TV room he was seen on camera wiping his face. Offender Hood was questioned about who had assa[ulted] him and he stated that Offender Collins and Offender Fields had jumped him in their cell over a disagreement over the phone.

Dkt. No. 11-1.

         Mr. Collins was notified of the charge on July 29, 2016, when he was served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing (Screening Report). The Screening Officer noted that Mr. Collins wanted statements from Offenders Jason Hood and Robert Fields. Dkt. No. 11-2. The request for a statement from offender Hood was denied for safety and security reasons. Id. (“For safety and security reasons the victim cannot be called as a witness.”). The Screening Officer also noted that Mr. Collins did not request any physical evidence nor a lay advocate. Id. Mr. Collins asked offender Fields the purpose of being in Hood's cell, and Fields responded, “Hood came in our cell to ask questions about T.C. stuff and left.” Dkt. No. 11-3.

         The hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on August 11, 2016. Dkt. No. 11-6.

         The hearing officer noted Mr. Collins' statement:

I did not touch that kid. The camera clearly shows I didn't do nothing. That man has tried his best to let everyone know that Sgt. Roberts made up that statement. Off. Hood never made that stat[e]ment. Hood said it happened @ medical and I had absolutely nothing to do with it. Trying to go back to T.C.

Id.

         The hearing officer considered staff reports and offender statements in determining that Mr. Collins had violated Code B-212. Id. His reason for the decision was “[c]onduct is clear. Hood told Sgt. Roberts he was assaulted by Offend. Collins.” Id. The sanctions imposed included a written reprimand, a 30-day phone and commissary restriction, 30 days of disciplinary segregation (suspended), and the deprivation of 30 days of earned credit time. Id. The hearing officer imposed the sanctions because of the ...


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