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McQuay v. Brown

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

March 15, 2018

RICHARD BROWN, Respondent.



         The petition of Leonard McQuay for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. WVD 17-01-0013. For the reasons explained in this Entry, McQuay’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 December 30, 2016, Sergeant A. Bourlard issued a Report of Conduct charging McQuay with refusing to submit to testing in violation of Code B-203. The Report of Conduct states:

On December 29, 2016 at approximately 11:45 pm, I, Sgt A. Bourlard informed Offender McQuay, Leonard #874304 that he needed to submit to a urine test. I then escorted Offender McQuay to the bathroom in the core of LHU. When arriving to the bathroom, Offender McQuay stated he had just went to the bathroom and didn’t have to go. I gave Offender McQuay 8 ounces of water to drink at approximately 12:15 am. At approximately 12:47 am Offender McQuay submitted a specimen. It was an inadequate specimen due to the temper[a]ture not reaching 90 degrees. I informed Offender McQuay he needed to submit another specimen. He said he couldn’t because he needed to defecate. I told him he was going to receive a conduct report for refusing a urine test for providing an inadequate sample.

         McQuay was notified of the charge on January 3, 2017, when he was served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing (Screening Report). The Screening Officer noted that McQuay requested Officer Ewers as a witness and a copy of the urinalysis paperwork as evidence. Officer Ewers submitted the following statement:

On 12/29/16, at approx. 11:45 P.M. I C/O D. Ewers assisted Sgt. A. Bourlard in escorting Offender McQuay, Leonard #874304 to the core area of LHU for urine testing. At approx. 12:47 A.M. I did witness Offender McQuay submit a urine specimen. He placed the specimen on the table in the conference room of LHU. Sgt. Bourlard then read the results. Sgt. Bourlard informed Offender McQuay that the specimen provided was not at the required temperature for adequate testing. McQuay was then told he must submit another specimen, to which he replied “I cannot go again, I really need to [defecate].” At that time, Sgt. Bourlard informed McQuay that his reply would be taken as a refusal and would receive a conduct report for not supplying an adequate sample. Offender McQuay then returned to his cell.

         The Hearing Officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on January 13, 2017. The Hearing Officer noted that McQuay stated, “I’ve never been tested at night time. I just pissed right before they got there. The Sgt. told me if I couldn’t provide enough sample, that I would be tested in the morning. Can I plead guilty to a C-347.” Based on the staff reports, the statement of the offender, and the evidence from witnesses, the Hearing Officer determined that McQuay had violated Code B-203. The sanctions imposed included a written reprimand, a phone restriction, disciplinary segregation, the deprivation of 90 days of earned credit time, and the loss of one credit class.

         McQuay filed an appeal to the Facility Head, who denied it on March 9, 2017. McQuay then appealed to the Final Review Authority, who denied the appeal on April 5, 2017.

         C. Analysis

         McQuay challenges the disciplinary action against him arguing that he was denied requested evidence, including Officer Ewers’s statement and a photo of him providing a urine specimen. McQuay also challenges the decision of the hearing officer not to allow him to view the photos used as evidence. In his reply in support of his habeas petition, he further argues that the evidence was insufficient because he was not given enough time to attempt to provide a second specimen.

         1. Denia ...

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