United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
petition of Enzert Lewis for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
WVD 16-12-115. For the reasons explained in this Entry,
Lewis's habeas petition must be denied.
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).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
December 22, 2016, Lewis was charged in case WVD 16-12-0115
with offense B-202, possession or use of a controlled
substance. The conduct report states:
On 12-22-16 at approximately 9:15 am, I c/o M. Cunningham was
conducting a search of cell #303 in LHU. During the search I
found a Kernel Season's Bacon Cheddar Seasoning-orange
and red bottle 2.85 oz.-with a green leafy substance inside.
Inmate Enzert Lewis (249127) lives in this cell #303.
contraband was confiscated and sent to internal affairs,
where it was photographed and tested-it tested positive for
synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 spice.
December 29, 2016, Lewis was notified of the charge of
possession or use of a controlled substance and served with a
copy of the conduct report and a copy of the Notice of
Disciplinary Hearing, “Screening Report.” Lewis
was notified of his rights and pleaded not guilty. He
requested a lay advocate, and one was later appointed. Lewis
did not request any witnesses or physical evidence.
January 4, 2017, the Disciplinary Hearing Officer held a
hearing in case WVD 16-12-0115. Lewis pleaded not guilty to
the B-202 charge and made the following statement: “Can
I plead guilty to C-307? It was just oregano from the
kitchen. It was mine. My Bunkie had nothing to do with
it.” Prior to the hearing, Lewis had also submitted
another statement, in which he urged that his cellmate not be
found guilty and that the substance was oregano, not K2
spice. The DHO found Lewis guilty of offense B-202 based on
the conduct report, Lewis's statements, the photo, and
the positive field test results. Due to the likely corrective
effect of sanctions, the DHO imposed a written reprimand, a
30-day loss of commissary privileges, and a 30-day
deprivation of earned credit time.
January 6, 2017, Lewis appealed to the respondent, arguing
that the leafy green substance needed to be sent to an
outside lab for confirmation testing. The respondent denied
Lewis's appeal on January 20, 2017. Lewis's
subsequent appeal to the final reviewing authority for the
Indiana Department of Correction (“DOC”), in
which he asked for retesting and a reweighing of the
evidence, was denied.
challenges the disciplinary action against him arguing that
the leafy substance was not sent to an outside lab for
confirmation; there was a break in the chain of custody; in
addition to the sanctions imposed by the hearing officer, he
has been restricted to non-contact visitation; he was not
provided with a translator; and DOC policy was not followed
because his appeal response was not personally delivered to
him. The respondent argues that Lewis had not shown that his
due process rights were violated with regard to his claim
regarding outside laboratory confirmation and that his other
claims are barred because his did not exhaust his
administrative appeals with respect to those claims.