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Baker v. Superintendent

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

October 26, 2017

ALBERT BAKER, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Michael G. Gotsch, Sr., United States Magistrate Judge

         Albert Baker, a pro se prisoner, filed a habeas corpus petition challenging the prison disciplinary hearing (BTC 14-12-336) where a Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) found him guilty of threatening another offender in violation of Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) policy B-213/B-240. ECF 21-5 at 1. As a result, Baker was demoted from Credit Class I to Credit Class II.

         Baker argues that he is entitled to habeas corpus relief because the DHO did not have sufficient evidence to find him guilty. In the disciplinary context, “the relevant question is whether there is any evidence in the record that could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary board.” Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455-56 (1985). “In reviewing a decision for some evidence, courts are not required to conduct an examination of the entire record, independently assess witness credibility, or weigh the evidence, but only determine whether the prison disciplinary board's decision to revoke good time credits has some factual basis.” McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir. 1999) (quotation marks omitted).

[T]he findings of a prison disciplinary board [need only] have the support of some evidence in the record. This is a lenient standard, requiring no more than a modicum of evidence. Even meager proof will suffice, so long as the record is not so devoid of evidence that the findings of the disciplinary board were without support or otherwise arbitrary. Although some evidence is not much, it still must point to the accused's guilt. It is not our province to assess the comparative weight of the evidence underlying the disciplinary board's decision.

Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000) (quotation marks, citations, parenthesis, and ellipsis omitted).

An inmate violates IDOC B-213 by:
Engaging in any of the following:
1. Communicating to another person a plan to physically harm, harass or intimidate that person or someone else.
2. Communicating a plan to cause damage to or loss of that person's or another person's property.
3. Communicating a plan to intentionally make an accusation that he/she knows is untrue or false.

Indiana Department of Correction, Adult Disciplinary Process, Appendix I: Offenses. http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/02-04-101APPENDIXI-OFFENSES6-1-2015(1).pdf. The Conduct Report charged Baker as follows:

On December 17, 2014 Mr. J. Hendershot opened a white envelope addressed to him and marked from Albert Baker #900522. During the reading of this letter Offender Baker is trying to explain he never threatened Offender Peters #203488. I will note I have an investigation 14-BCT-234 that Offender Baker has threaten (sic) Peters because Peters is having contact with Baker's daughter Brittany Blair. These action (sic) caused Offender Peters to request PC status. On 12/17/14 I received recorded phone calls made by Offender Peters, and on December 14, 2014 Peters made a phone call to Brittany Blair telling her that he really requested PC because he snitched on JP, and that he made all that up about her dad (Albert Baker). Peters also tells Britteny (sic) in this call that people listen to his calls. Peters also tells Brittany, All that I wrote in the letters he sent to her are true. Brittany toward then end (sic) of their conversation tells Peters that now she understands.
I believe with the evidence in case 14-BTC-234 along with Peters phone call to Brittany, is 51% for the preponderance of evidence needed to believe Offender Albert Baker is attempting to intimidate Offender Peters to lye (sic) about what really happened so Brittany will have contact with Baker again and to have the ...

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