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Haines v. Knight

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

November 6, 2017

JAREL T. HAINES, Petitioner,
v.
STANLEY KNIGHT, Respondent.

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

          HON. JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE

         The petition of Jarel T. Haines for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding, IYC 16-02-0056, in which he was found guilty of possession or use of a controlled substance. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Haines' 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 January 31, 2016, Officer J. Aydt wrote a Report of Conduct that charged Mr. Haines with offense 202-B, Possession of a Controlled Substance. The Report of Conduct states:

On January 31, 2016 at approximately 3:45 PM I Officer J. Aydt #281 was assigned to Housing Unit South when Officer D. Dykes #408 was called via radio to signal 8 H-Unit Bed area. We arrived at the bed area [and] the H-Unit Officer asked Officer Dykes if he could escort offender Haines, Jarel #933623 H4-11U to the sergeant's office. Officer Dykes started escorting the offender down rows 3 and 4 bunks 7-10 area when I clearly observed offender Haines brushed [sic] in to another offender in area the of [sic] ¶ 4-8 and he dropped a clear plastic bag with a white powdery substance in it on the floor [and] the other offender tried to step on it. I immediately ordered the offender to back up which he complied. I immediately secured the item in my left pants pocket. And followed behind officer Dykes to the sergeant's office after entering the sergeant's office the offender was strip searched and no other contraband was found the offender was informed he will receive a conduct report. Evidence was taken to shift office for photographs and turned in IA Locker #204.

Dkt. 15-1, p. 1.

         Officer Dykes provided the following written statement:

On Sunday January 31, 2016 at approximately 3:45 PM I was escorting Offender Haines #933623 H4-11U bed area from his bed area up rows 3 & 4 to [sic] when he turned left at ¶ 3-8 bed area and brushed into another offender. I continued to escort him out of H-Unit and into one of the classrooms where myself and another officer strip searched the offender, but nothing was found.

Dkt. 15-1, p. 2.

         The Notice of Confiscated Property shows that one clear plastic bag containing a white powdery substance was confiscated. Dkt. 15-2. A photograph of the confiscated property was taken. Dkt. 15-3. The facility conducted a field test of the powdery substance, and the results were positive for methamphetamine/amphetamine. Dkt. 15-4.

         On February 8, 2016, Mr. Haines was notified of the charge of possession or use of a controlled substance when he was served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing (Screening Report). Dkt. 15-5. Mr. Haines was notified of his rights and pleaded not guilty. Id. He requested and was provided a lay advocate. Dkt. 15-7. Mr. Haines wished to call as a witness offender Kenneth Croney, who was expected to state that the substance did not belong to Mr. Haines. Dkt. 15-5. As physical evidence, he requested the white powdery substance and NIK, “NIK” being the field test. Id.

         Offender Croney provided a written statement that said the white substance was his. Dkt. 15-6. He further stated that the officers were performing a shake down on Mr. Haines, that an officer said to stop, but Croney was nervous and threw the dope in the aisle when Mr. Haines was walking by. Id. Croney further stated that the ...


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