United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
CARL W. WOODCOCK, Petitioner,
SUPERINTENDENT NEW CASTLE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, Respondent.
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
petition of Carl W. Woodcock for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
NCF 16-06-0045. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr.
Woodcock's habeas petition must be
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
6, 2016, Correctional Officer Cutshall wrote a Report of
Conduct that charged Mr. Woodcock with Class B offense 202,
Possession of Controlled Substance. The Conduct Report
On the date and approximate time I officer Cutshall was
performing a shakedown of offender Carl Woodcock (#135027)
property when I found a peper [sic] shaker with what looked
like salt and large crystal like substance in it. This was
inside the offender's property box. I took the substance
up to the Duty Office to have it tested. I was informed later
by the Lt. on duty that the substance tested positive for
methamphetamine. The offender was advised of the conduct
of the pepper shaker and substances found in it were taken.
Also photographed were the testing materials and scales. The
drug test showed that the tested substance found in the
pepper shaker weighed five grams and was positive for
methamphetamine. In particular, one photo shows the substance
actually tested, placed on a paper towel on a scale, which
does not look like salt but more like crystals.
7, 2016, Mr. Woodcock was notified of the charge of Class B
offense 202, Possession of Controlled Substance, when he was
served with the Conduct Report and the Notice of Disciplinary
Hearing (Screening Report). Mr. Woodcock was notified of his
rights and pleaded not guilty. He requested and was provided
the assistance of a lay advocate. Mr. Woodcock did not
request any witnesses. As physical evidence he requested
“outside lab tests it is not meth, ” and the
hearing officer denied the request as unreasonable The
hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing in
NCF-16-06- 0045 on June 8, 2016. At the hearing Mr. Woodcock
stated that “it was my rice and salt, I don't know
why it would test positive. I was using it to put salt in
from packets” The hearing officer found Mr. Woodcock
guilty of Class B offense 202, Possession of Controlled
Substance. The hearing officer considered staff reports, Mr.
Woodcock's statement, pictures, and the test report. The
sanctions were less than 15 days disciplinary segregation
(time served), loss of commissary and telephone privileges,
an earned credit time deprivation of 90 days, and a demotion
from Credit Class 1 to Credit Class 2 (suspended).
Woodcock appealed to Facility Head and the Indiana Department
of Correction (“DOC”) Final Reviewing Authority,
both of which were denied. He then brought this petition for
a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Woodcock brings his petition for habeas relief raising
multiple grounds for relief. The respondent responded and no
reply was filed by Mr. Woodcock. Each challenge to the
disciplinary conviction is discussed below.
Chain of Evidence Broken
Woodcock argues that the DOC failed to follow a chain of
custody policy and otherwise failed to properly protect the
pepper shaker from contamination. This argument does not
entitle Mr. Woodcock to any relief because, “[p]rison
disciplinary proceedings are not part of a criminal
prosecution, and the full panoply of rights due a defendant
in such proceedings does not apply.” Wolff,
418 U.S. at 556. In prison disciplinary cases, due process
does not require a complete chain of custody. Instead,
“[a]bsent some affirmative indication that a mistake
may have been made, [the] hypothetical ...