United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
petition of Brent Sangster for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges prison disciplinary proceeding number IYC
17-02-0021. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr.
Sangster's habeas petition 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 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).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
February 1, 2017, Plainfield Correctional Facility Officer J.
Smith wrote a conduct report charging Mr. Sangster with
possession of a controlled substance, a violation of the
Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) Adult Disciplinary
Code section B-202. The conduct report provides:
On 2/1/2017 at approximately 1:45 am I officer J. Smith
conducted a strip search on offender Sangster, Brent 930407
of HUS (F1-14U) in the classroom of south dorm lobby. While
checking Sangster left shoe I noticed a clear small bag with
paper inside of the small bag located inside of the left
shoe. I secured the clear bag in my right cargo pocket and
continued the strip search, no other contraband was found. I
ordered offender Sangster back to the hallway lobby and
checked the clear bag with paper in it. I noticed there was
orange strips of what appeared to be suboxone and pieces of
paper with numbers in written on it. I advised offender
Sangster he would receive a confiscation slip along with a
Dkts. 1-1 & 9-1.
Sangster was notified of the charge on February 3, 2017, when
he was served with the screening report and a copy of the
conduct report. Dkt. 9-2. He pleaded not guilty to the
charge, requested statements from other offenders and the
photographic evidence, and asked for a lay advocate.
disciplinary hearing was held on February 6, 2017. Based on
Mr. Sangster's statement, the staff reports, and evidence
from witnesses, the hearing officer found Mr. Sangster guilty
of possession of a controlled substance. The sanctions
imposed included the loss of sixty-two days' earned
credit time. Dkt. 9-6.
Sangster appealed to the Facility Head and the IDOC Final
Reviewing Authority; both appeals were denied. Dkts. 9-7
& 9-8. He then brought this petition for a writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Sangster's defense was that he did not know that the
controlled substance was in his shoes. He contended that
someone else used his shoes and left the substance in them.
He presented witness statements from two offenders, Morgan
and McColloch, to support his defense at the disciplinary
hearing. The hearing officer considered McColloch's
statement that he had borrowed Mr. Sangster's shoes,
found a small package, put the package in the shoes, and then
forgot to remove it from the shoes. Morgan's statement
was that while he was at recreation, he saw ...