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Winemiller v. Sevier

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

November 15, 2017

JAMES WINEMILLER, Petitioner,
v.
MARK SEVIER[1], Respondent.

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

          HON. JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE.

         The petition of James Winemiller for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. ISR 17-03-0049. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Winemiller'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 March 8, 2017, Investigator W. C. Peterson wrote a conduct report charging Winemiller with (A-111/113) attempting to traffic with someone outside of the facility. The conduct report states:

On March 8, 2017 at approximately 12:00 P.M. I - Mr. W.C. Peterson Correctional police officer listened to a phone call Offender Winemiller, James 200037 made to a person he identified as his grandmother. During the phone call Offender Winemiller asked his grandmother to get Money Grams in the amount of one thousand dollars and send them to a person identified as Thomas L. Morgan in Shelbyville.
Offender Winemiller also asked his Grandmother to purchase three Paypal cards in the amount of one hundred dollars each and four Paypal cards in the amount of fifty dollars each. Winemiller directed his grandmother to have the numbers of the Money Grams ready to give to him when he - (Winemiller) called her back later in the day. The above referenced call was placed by Offender Winemiller on March 3, 2017 at approximately 9:02 A.M.

         On March 16, 2017, Winemiller was notified of the charge (A-111/113) attempting to traffic. During his screening, Winemiller pleaded not guilty. He requested a lay advocate, and an advocate was later appointed. He did not waive his right to 24 hours' advance notice of the disciplinary hearing. Winemiller requested a statement from Peterson, but that request was denied as repetitive because Peterson was the author of the conduct report. Winemiller also requested a written summary of the phone call, but that request was denied as unnecessary because the call was sufficiently described in the conduct report. The screening report noted a mental health code of D, and the DHO reviewed a confidential email regarding Winemiller's mental health status in relation to his actions in this case.

         On March 22, 2017, a disciplinary hearing was held in case ISR 17-03-0049. Winemiller pleaded not guilty and provided the following statement: “I believe this is one case it should be dropped down to a 220. I did call 4 times however I did get something on the last phone call only received anything.” The DHO found Winemiller guilty of (A-111/113) attempting to traffic.

         On March 23, 2017, Winemiller filed a first-level appeal to the head of the facility, which was denied on April 24, 2017. On April 24, 2017, Winemiller filed a second-level appeal. His second-level appeal was denied on May 10, 2017. However, on August 18, 2017, the final reviewing authority reconsidered Winemiller's second-level appeal. As a result, Winemiller's disciplinary conviction was reduced to a B-220/240 attempting to engage in an unauthorized financial transaction, and his sanctions were similarly reduced.

         C. Analysis

         Winemiller challenges the disciplinary action against him arguing that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction and that he was improperly charged multiple times for one incident.

         1. Sufficiency ...


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