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Davis v. Facility Head

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

October 27, 2017

SAMUEL DAVIS, Petitioner,
v.
FACILITY HEAD, Respondent.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         Petitioner Samuel Davis filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus challenging his disciplinary conviction in WVE 16-06-0081 at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Davis's habeas petition must be denied.

         Discussion

         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, 644-45 (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); 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

         Davis explained in his petition and related briefing that he had requested to be moved to a different cell. The reason for the request was that Davis's cellmate believed Davis had given him scabies when he started to itch. Davis's cellmate allegedly threatened to harm Davis and Davis feared for his life. When Davis's requests to be moved were not granted he packed up his belongings during recreation and refused to return to his cell. Apparently this tactic had worked for other inmates. Instead of being moved to a new cell, however, custody staff physically returned Davis to his cell and Davis was written up for resisting staff.

         The disciplinary records reflect that on June 16, 2016, Sergeant K. Blackman wrote a Report of Conduct charging Davis with resisting staff. The Report of Conduct states:

On 6/16/16 at approx. 850 pm I, Sgt. K. Blackman was called to GHU Right Wing for Offender Davis, Samuel #962441. Offender Davis was refusing to go to his cell at the end of recreation. I asked Davis why he didn't want to go to his cell, Davis stated, “Cause I don't want to.” I placed Davis in mechanical restraints and along with C/O N. Dugger and C/O T. Goff escorted Davis toward cell #312. At this time, Davis became resistant towards staff, and attempted to pull away from me.
Dugger, Goff, and I placed Davis back in his cell, and secured the door. Davis refused to submit his hands for the removal of mechanical restraints. At this time, cell #312 was opened, and Sgt. L. Myers, C/O Dugger, and myself secured Davis' hands. The door of 312 was secured again, and the mechanical restraints were removed without further incident.

Docket No. 15-1.

         On June 21, 2016, Davis was notified of the charge of resisting staff and served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing “Screening Report.” Davis was notified of his rights, pled not guilty and requested the appointment of a lay advocate. He requested seven witnesses, Officer Eaton and Offenders Williams, Thomas, Knighten, Green, Foster, and Zaphiriou. He also requested video surveillance of the situation as physical evidence.

         The hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing ion July 1, 2016, and found Davis guilty of the charge of resisting staff. In making this determination, the hearing officer considered the offender's statements, staff reports, evidence from witnesses, and video evidence. The hearing officer recommended and approved the following sanctions: a written reprimand, one month loss of phone privileges, and a 45 day deprivation of earned credit time.

         Davis appealed to the Facility Head and the Appeal Review Officer. ...


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