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England v. Superintendent

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

January 8, 2018

SHAWN ENGLAND, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT, Respondent.

          SHAWN ENGLAND PLAINFIELD - CF PLAINFIELD CORRECTIONAL FACILITY Electronic Service Participant - Court Only Marjorie H. Lawyer-Smith INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL

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

          SARAH EVANS BARKER, JUDGE

         The petition of Shawn England for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. REF 16-09-0002. For the reasons explained in this entry, Mr. England's habeas petition must be denied.

         A. 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); 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 August 26, 2016, Correctional Officer Rmalia wrote a Report of Conduct in case REF 16-09-0002 charging Mr. England with a violation of codes B240/231 aiding or abetting/ intoxicants. The conduct report states:

On the date of 08/26/2016 at approximately 1015PM I Ofc. Rmalia was conducting a security check on unit 1. During my round, I observed Resident England, Shawn M 252005 and three other residents gathered inside U1S-1. The housing unit smelled of smoke and all four residents appeared to be intoxicated. Resident England was immediately escorted to the shift office for a urinalysis test. During my follow up search of housing unit U1S-1, I found a small plastic bag containing a green leafy substance, underneath a pillow that occupied the housing area bed. The plastic bag was confiscated and secured in evidence locker #5.

Dkt. 9-1.

         On September 8, 2016, Mr. England was notified of the charge and was given a copy of the conduct report and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing “Screening Report.” He was notified of his rights and pled not guilty. He requested a lay advocate and requested to call James Russell, #863550, Jacob Campbell, #245611, and Michael Christian, #945441 as witnesses. Dkts. 9-3, 9-4, 9-5, and 9-6. Offender James Russell provided a statement that they were his intoxicants. Dkt. 9-3. Offenders Campbell and Christian denied having possession of or knowing of the presence of intoxicants. Dkts. 9-4, 9-5. Mr. England requested as evidence “anything showing he had contact with drug.” Dkt. 9-2.

         The hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on September 19, 2016. Mr. England provided the following statement: “I didn't know anything about what was in his room.” The hearing officer found Mr. England guilty of the charge aiding or abetting intoxicants. In making this determination, the hearing officer considered the staff reports and the offender's statement. Based on the hearing officer's recommendations the following sanctions were imposed: a written reprimand; a 45-day deprivation of earned credit time and a demotion from credit class 2 to credit class 3. The hearing officer recommended the sanctions because of seriousness of the violation, the offender's attitude and demeanor during the hearing, and the likelihood of the sanctions having a corrective effect on the offender's future behavior. Dkt. 9-7.

         Mr. England appealed the disciplinary proceeding through the administrative process. His appeals were denied. He now seeks relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 arguing that his due process rights were violated.

         C. Analysis

         Mr. England brings the following claims for habeas relief: 1) Offender James Russell admitted the intoxicants were his and that the intoxicants were not found in Mr. ...


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