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Gerhardt v. Knight

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

March 14, 2018

ADAM GERHARDT, Petitioner,
v.
WENDY KNIGHT, Respondent.

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

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         Adam Gerhardt, an inmate in the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC), petitions for a writ of habeas corpus challenging prison disciplinary proceeding number CIC 16-11-0024. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Gerhardt'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 by 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

         Indiana Department of Correction Intelligence Analyst Courtney Foust issued a conduct report to Mr. Gerhardt on November 2, 2016, after a conversation he heard while listening to inmate phone calls. The report charged him with violating section B-220 of the IDOC's Adult Disciplinary Code, which prohibits unauthorized financial transactions. The conduct report provides:

On 11/02/2016 at 9:45 AM, I, C. Fouts (Intelligence Analyst) was listening to Offender Padgett, Dustin #998718 phone call . . . on 10/30/2016 at 20:30. . . . At 5:37 into the call Offender Padgett provides the phone number . . . . According to Facebook this phone number comes back to Offender Gerhardt, Adam #215056 (7B F2). At 6:10 into the call Offender Padgett tells his father to “send $150 Walmart to Walmart to Kasie for AG from Padgett.” In my training experience, I am confident that Offender Gerhardt is making an unauthorized financial transaction. Offender Gerhardt is in clear violation of Code 220.

Dkt. 9-1 (capitalization modified; text alterations added).

         Mr. Gerhardt was notified of the charge on November 5, 2016, when he was served with the screening report and received a copy of the conduct report. He pleaded not guilty and requested a statement from Offender Padgett as well as the phone record evidence. Dkt. 9-2.

         Padgett's written statement answered a written question from Mr. Gerhardt. The question, “Did I ask you to send me money?” was answered by Padgett, “I at [sic] any time did not tell my Dad to send money to Adam Gerhardt. I [sic] another peer gave me his number. It was supposed to be a phone number that didn't work.” Dkt. 9-3.

         The disciplinary hearing was held on November 18, 2016. Mr. Gerhardt's statement was considered:

This was 3 weeks ago and didn't know anything about it till I went to screening. I have no knowledge of him using my information. I never called and asked about getting any money. I don't ever say anything about getting money over my phone. I would plea [sic] guilty to a business transaction.

Dkt. 9-5.

         The hearing officer considered Mr. Gerhardt's statement and the staff report and found Mr. Gerhardt guilty, noting his reason for the decision was the “proponderence [sic] of the evidence.” Id. Sanctions ...


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