United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE.
Burnette petitions for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254. He challenges the imposition of sanctions
in Indiana Department of Correction disciplinary proceeding
number IYC 15-09-0215. Mr. Burnette, at all relevant times to
this petition, was an inmate at the Plainfield Correctional
Facility, also known as the Indiana Youth Center. He lost
three hundred sixty days of earned credit time and was
demoted in credit earning class, among other sanctions, on
his conviction for rioting. Mr. Burnette plead guilty to the
charge, but brings this action seeking relief from the
sanctions. For the reasons explained below, his petition for
habeas corpus is 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).
Petitioner's Disciplinary Proceeding
August 29, 2015, inmates at the Plainfield Correctional
Facility rioted for two hours in a housing unit. Inmates
suffered broken bones, lacerations, abrasions, and stab
wounds. The inmates involved in the riot used shanks, broom
sticks, trash cans, and chairs as weapons. Video surveillance
recordings were reviewed and twenty offenders were identified
as active participants in the riot. One of those offenders
was petitioner Bernard Burnette. He was charged in a
disciplinary action with rioting. Dkt. 8-1.
of the charge was provided to Mr. Burnette on October 13,
2015. Dkt. 8-3. He indicated he would plead guilty and did
not request witnesses or evidence. Id. The
disciplinary hearing was held on October 13, 2015. Mr.
Burnette plead guilty as he had indicated he would. Dkt. 8-5.
The hearing officer considered Mr. Burnette's plea and
statement, staff reports, a written review of the video
evidence, and the Internal Affairs case file. He adjudged Mr.
Burnette guilty and imposed sanctions. The sanctions were
based on the nature and severity of the offense and the
degree to which it disrupted and endangered the security of
the facility. Id.
Burnette appealed to the facility head, contending he did not
mean to plead guilty to rioting but to a lesser offense of
assault. He also denied being present during the riot. The
appeal was denied, and the second appeal to the Department of
Correction final reviewing authority was also denied. Dkts.
8-6 & 8-7. With these appeals denied, Mr. Burnette then
filed this habeas corpus action.
Burnette presents two grounds for relief in his petition. The
first ground asserts that the institutional disciplinary
procedures were inadequate to protect him against an
unjustified loss of liberty. The second ground for relief
asserts that Mr. Burnette's sanction was enhanced without
Burnette's first ground for relief is a broad claim
asserting a general lack of due process. The Court finds no
due process violation. He received notice of the charge, an
opportunity to request and produce evidence, a hearing at
least twenty-four hours after notice of the charge, a written
result of the hearing an ...