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Hussey v. Superintendent New Castle Correctional Facility

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

October 30, 2017

SHAWN HUSSEY, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT New Castle Correctional Facility, Respondent.

          Marjorie H. Lawyer-Smith INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL

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

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge United States District Court.

         The petition of Shawn Hussey for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No NCF 16-11-0175. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Hussey'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, 644-45 (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

         On November 21, 2016, Internal Affairs Officer Williams issued a Report of Conduct charging Hussey with use of a controlled substance in violation of Code B-202. The Report of Conduct states:

The following conduct report has been issued to Offender Shawn Hussey #202611 for Possession or Use of a Controlled Substance, as defined in the Adult Disciplinary Policy. On 11/15/16, Hussey submitted his own urine for a full 8 panel drug screen. The Chain of Custody was followed and the sealed specimen was sent to Alere Toxicology Services, Inc. for a full screening, with a confirming test performed. Lab reports received on 11/21/16 clearly indicate the presence of Suboxone in the urine of Offender Hussey #202611[.] Based upon the results from Alere Toxicology Services, Inc., Offender Hussey #202611 did violate code B-202, of the Adult Disciplinary Policy. Offender was informed of conduct.

Dkt. No. 8-1 at 1. Hussey was notified of the charge on November 22, 2016, when he was served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing. Dkt. No. 8-2. The Screening Officer noted that Hussey did not request any witnesses or evidence.

         The Hearing Officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on November 23, 2016. Dkt. No. 8-4. The Hearing Officer noted that Hussey stated, “Creatine is in kidney pills, I don't take kidney pills, the Cond. Report had McGill in it. I am not doing any drugs. This is my 3rd test here and the first one I have failed” Id. (capitalization modified). The Hearing Officer determined that Hussey had violated Code B-202. The sanctions imposed included a loss of phone and commissary privileges, restitution of $48.08, the deprivation of 90 days of earned credit time, and the demotion from credit class I to credit class II.

         Hussey appealed to Facility Head and the Department of Correction's Final Reviewing Authority. Both appeals were denied. He then brought this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         C. Analysis

         Hussey argues that he is entitled to relief for the following reasons. First, the conduct report originally identified McGill as the offender that submitted the urine. In addition, Hussey states that he was not present when the urine specimen was sealed as required by DOC policy. Third, Hussey states that the date the urine was collected and the date the test results were reported are too close together to be accurate. Finally, Hussey complains that the chain of custody was violated.

         1. Exhaustion of ...


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