United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
petition of Jesse Shelton (“Mr. Shelton”) for a
writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary
proceeding identified as No. IYC 16-12-0009. For the reasons
explained in this Entry, Mr. Shelton's habeas petition
must be 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).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
November 26, 2016, Correctional Officer Flatt wrote a conduct
report in case IYC 16-12-0009, charging Mr. Shelton with
offense B-202, possession or use of a controlled substance.
Dkt. 7-1. The conduct report states:
On 11-26-2016 at approximately 1:29AM, I Officer S. Flatt
while conducting a random search on Offender Shelton, Jesse
Doc # 231725 L-26L property box clearly discovered a brown
piece of paper containing what appears to be green leafy
substance, multiple cigarette roaches and multiple home made
brown paper wraps. I then secured the items in my cargo
pocket. I then questioned Offender Shelton and he stated
“it was tea leaves that he smokes and nothing
else”. Offender Shelton was given a Notice of
Confiscated Property at which he refused to sign and advised
he will be receiving a Report of Conduct for his actions.
(Id.). Following a visual examination, investigator
Prulhiere identified the green leafy substance as K2-Spice.
December 15, 2016, Mr. Shelton was notified of the charge of
possession or use of a controlled substance and served with a
copy of the conduct report. Dkt. 7-4. On December 15, 2016,
Mr. Shelton was served with the screening report.
Id. Mr. Shelton was notified of his rights and
pleaded not guilty. Id. He requested the appointment
of a lay advocate and one was later appointed. Dkt. 7-4, 7-5.
Mr. Shelton did not request any witnesses or physical
evidence. Dkt. 7-4.
December 21, 2016, the disciplinary hearing officer held a
hearing in case IYC 16-12-0009. Dkt. 7-6. Shelton pleaded not
guilty and stated, “It was only tea not K2 spice.
Id. The disciplinary hearing officer found Shelton
guilty of offense B-202 possession or use of a controlled
substance, on the basis of the staff reports, Shelton's
statement, the photo of the confiscated property, and the
confiscation slip. Id. Based on the seriousness and
frequency/nature of the offense, along with the likely
corrective effect of sanctions, the disciplinary hearing
officer imposed the following sanctions: 60 days lost earned
credit time and a suspended demotion from credit class II to
credit class III from a previous case. Id. Mr.
Shelton's appeals to the Facility Head and the Final
Review Authority were denied. He then brought this petition
for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Shelton raises four grounds for relief in his habeas
petition. Dkt. 2. First, he argues that the substance was not
tested in compliance with Indiana Department of Corrections
(“IDOC”) policy. Next, he argues that more than
thirty days elapsed before his hearing, violating IDOC
policy. Third, he argues that there was no chain of custody
to preserve the integrity of the collection of the evidence.
Finally, he argues that the facility head failed to evaluate
the findings of the disciplinary hearing.
Lack of Testing
Shelton's first argument is that the substance was not
tested in compliance with IDOC policy. Dkt. 1. Petitioners
have no right to laboratory testing. See Manley v.
Butts, 699 Fed.Appx. 574, 576 (7th Cir. 2017)
(“Manley was not entitled to demand laboratory testing
… Prison administrators are ...