United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
LOZANO, Judge United States District Court.
matter is before the Court on the 28 U.S.C. § 2254
Habeas Corpus Petition Challenging a Prison Disciplinary
Proceeding, filed by Herbert Earl Blakey, a pro se prisoner,
on June 15, 2017. For the reasons set forth below, the habeas
corpus petition (ECF 1) is DENIED. The clerk
is DIRECTED to enter judgment and close this
filed a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his
prison disciplinary hearing (MCF 17-01-0371) at the Miami
Correction Facility where a Disciplinary Hearing Officer
(DHO) found him guilty of possession or use of a controlled
substance in violation of Indiana Department of Correction
policy B-202. ECF 1 at 1. As a result, Blakey was sanctioned
with the loss of 30 days earned credit time and was demoted
from Credit Class 2 to Credit Class 3. Id.
argues there are three grounds which entitle him to habeas
corpus relief. In the first ground, he claims that the DHO
did not have sufficient evidence to find him guilty. ECF 1 at
context of a prison disciplinary hearing, “the relevant
question is whether there is any evidence in the record that
could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary
board.” Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445,
455-56 (1985). “In reviewing a decision for some
evidence, courts are not required to conduct an examination
of the entire record, independently assess witness
credibility, or weigh the evidence, but only determine
whether the prison disciplinary board's decision to
revoke good time credits has some factual basis.”
McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir.
1999) (quotation marks omitted).
[T]he findings of a prison disciplinary board [need only]
have the support of some evidence in the record. This is a
lenient standard, requiring no more than a modicum of
evidence. Even meager proof will suffice, so long as the
record is not so devoid of evidence that the findings of the
disciplinary board were without support or otherwise
arbitrary. Although some evidence is not much, it still must
point to the accused's guilt. It is not our province to
assess the comparative weight of the evidence underlying the
disciplinary board's decision.
Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000)
(quotation marks, citations, parenthesis, and ellipsis
the Conduct Report charged Blakey as follows:
On January 21, 2017 at approximately 10:42, I, Officer B.
Johnson, was conducting a random cell search in cell 323/324.
As I was searching the bottom bunk of Offender Blakey,
Herbert 951672 C323 (B) under his pillow there was [a] paper
towel soaked in coffee that had a small ripped of[f] piece of
a greeting card on it. The coffee paper is known for what
offenders use as rolling papers for smoking. As I continued
to search the bottom bunk under the mattress in a book w[ere]
two more pieces of a greeting card ripped up approximately
the size of an offender id card. This is believed to be the
liquid K2 that is being sprayed on greeting cards that [are]
coming through the mail.
ECF 1 at 4. K-2 is the name of synthetic marijuana. See
McNeeley v. Superintendent, No. 3:13 CV 401, 2014 WL
301462, at *1 (N.D. Ind. Jan. 28, 2014) citing
Nat'l Drug Control Pol'y,
synthetic-drugs-k2-spice-bath-salts (last accessed
November 28, 2017).
IDOC defines offense B-202 as “[p]ossession or use of
any unauthorized substance controlled pursuant to the laws of
the State of Indiana or the United States Code or possession
of drug paraphernalia.” Adult Disciplinary Process,
The IDOC's definition of ‘possession' includes
any contraband on the prisoner's person, without
reference to ownership: “offenders are presumed to be
responsible for any property, prohibited property or
contraband that is located on their person, within their cell
or within areas of their housing, work, educational or
vocational assignment that are under their control.”
Disciplinary Code for Adult Offenders.
Indiana State law prohibits possession of any synthetic drug.
Ind. Code § 35-48-4-11.5.
DHO's finding that Blakey was guilty was neither
arbitrary nor unreasonable in light of the evidence in the
Conduct Report. A conduct report alone can be enough to
support a finding of guilt. McPherson, 188 F.3d at
786. Here, Blakey's possession of drug
paraphernalia-coffee paper and three ripped off pieces of
greeting cards-used for rolling and smoking synthetic
marijuana, combined with the suspicious concealment of these