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Williams v. Superintendent, Plainfield Correctional Facility

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

January 11, 2018

SUPERINTENDENT, Plainfield Correctional Facility, Respondent.


          SARAH EVANS BARKER, JUDGE United States District Court.

         The petition of Dwight Williams for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. IYC 16-11-0008. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Williams'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 October 31, 2014, Investigator C. Feldkamp wrote a report of conduct in case IYC 16-11-0008, charging Williams with offense A-100, participation in criminal gang (I.C. § 35-45-9-3). The conduct report states:

On 10/2/2016 at approximately 1:50 am I[, ] Investigator C. Feldkamp conducted an investigation into allegations that offenders Dwight Williams #973439, Jesse Eddy #140112, Samuel Gonzales #220185, Courtney Love #112871, Derrick Jones #220226, Charles Jones #962674 and Deandre Tyus #259815 participated in criminal gang activity to include trafficking, organized/ conspiracy to commit assault and battery, conspiracy/ destruction of a crime scene and possession of dangerous or deadly contraband. A confidential case file is maintained in I&I 16-IYC-0145 and is available for review in the I&I Office. Sufficient substantiated evidence exists to support this case.

         The conduct report also indicates “See Report of Investigation”. The report of investigation was completed by Investigator Feldkamp, in which he reported about Williams and the other offenders involved in the October 2, 2016 incident:

During the incident the above mentioned offenders were observed on facility video in the HUN A-Unit bed area committing assault and battery upon each other on the above mentioned date multiple times. As a direct result of the investigation into the incident, having gained intelligence thou [sic] facility video, interviews with both staff and offenders and offender communication services (GTL and J-Pay), I could substantiate that the above mentioned offenders were having a dispute concerning trafficking, theft of illegal contraband[, ] and the conspiracy to destroy states evidence by the removal of evidence from a crime scene. The above mentioned offenders were uncooperative with the investigation alleging that the assault was over a fan. The above mentioned offenders involved were researched as participating in the assault and having taken part in cleaning the area of A-Unit where the assault occurred. Additional investigation lead to the discovery of contraband[;] contraband that was stolen from offender Eddy and then later recovered in a targeted search of offender Jones #220226 (cell phone). Facility video reviewed also produced the brandishing of a weapon during the incident by offender Williams. As a result of additional targeted searching in A and B units in North Dorm three hundred dollars worth of illegal drugs (Suboxone) and a shank was recovered and are believed to be the weapon observed in the video. There is also substantiated case reports to support the allegations provided in this report. The cases are maintained in the I&I Office and are confidential in nature. Case's [sic] 16-IYC-0145, 16-IYC-0159.

         The conduct report and investigation reports were based on the findings of in-depth internal affairs investigations into Williams' activities.

         On November 1, 2016, Williams was notified of the charge participation in criminal gang and served with a copy of the conduct report and a copy of the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing “Screening Report.” Williams was notified of his rights and pleaded not guilty. He requested witnesses, including, among others, Investigator Feldkamp. He also requested “case #16-IYC-0145 16-IYC-0159[, ] GTL and JPay notes[, ] and Description of offender in video w/weapon.”

         On November 29, 2016, the disciplinary hearing officer (“DHO”) held a disciplinary hearing in case IYC16-11-0008. Williams pleaded not guilty and provided the following statement: “I was on this camp for 19 days from a level one, I don't know any of these guys that they say I'm talking to. I spent 5 days in intake and I was only in that dorm 5 days”. After considering witness statements, Williams' statement, staff reports, video review, and the I & I case files, the DHO found Williams guilty of offense A-100 violating any federal/state/local law. Due to the seriousness and nature of the offense as well as the degree to which the violation disrupted /endangered the security of the facility, the DHO imposed the following sanctions: a transfer to a more secure facility, 360 days in disciplinary segregation, 360 days' lost earned credit time, and demotion in credit class from class 1 to class 3.

         Williams's administrative appeals were denied and he filed the present petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

         C. ...

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