United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
ERVIN R. HALL, Petitioner,
OPINION AND ORDER
R. Hall, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a habeas corpus
petition challenging his disciplinary hearing (ISP 17-03-147)
at the Westville Correctional Facility on April 5, 2017,
where a Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) found him guilty
of engaging in an unauthorized financial transaction in
violation of Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) policy
B-220. ECF 2 at 1. As a result, he lost 30 days earned credit
time and was demoted from Credit Class 1 to Credit Class 2.
Fourteenth Amendment guarantees prisoners certain procedural
due process rights in prison disciplinary hearings: (1)
advance written notice of the charges; (2) an opportunity to
be heard before an impartial decision-maker; (3) an
opportunity to call witnesses and present documentary
evidence in defense, when consistent with institutional
safety and correctional goals; and (4) a written statement by
the fact-finder of evidence relied on and the reasons for the
disciplinary action. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S.
539 (1974). To satisfy due process, there must also be
“some evidence” in the record to support the
guilty finding. Superintendent, Mass. Corr Inst. v.
Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455 (1985). In his petition, Hall
argues there are three grounds which entitle him to habeas
Hall argues the DHO did not have sufficient evidence to find
him guilty. ECF 2 at 2. In the context of a prison
disciplinary hearing, “the relevant question is whether
there is any evidence in the record that could support the
conclusion reached by the disciplinary board.”
Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455-56 (1985).
“In reviewing a decision for some evidence, courts are
not required to conduct an examination of the entire record,
independently assess witness credibility, or weigh the
evidence, but only determine whether the prison disciplinary
board's decision to revoke good time credits has some
factual basis.” McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d
784, 786 (7th Cir. 1999) (quotation marks omitted).
[T]he findings of a prison disciplinary board [need only]
have the support of some evidence in the record. This is a
lenient standard, requiring no more than a modicum of
evidence. Even meager proof will suffice, so long as the
record is not so devoid of evidence that the findings of the
disciplinary board were without support or otherwise
arbitrary. Although some evidence is not much, it still must
point to the accused's guilt. It is not our province to
assess the comparative weight of the evidence underlying the
disciplinary board's decision.
Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000)
(quotation marks, citations, parenthesis, and ellipsis
Hall was found guilty of violating IDOC offense B-220, which
prohibits inmates from “[e]ngaging in or possessing
materials used for unauthorized financial transactions. This
includes, but is not limited to, the use or possession of
identifying information of credit cards, debit cards, or any
other card used to complete a financial transaction.”
Adult Disciplinary Process, Appendix I.
Conduct Report charged Hall as follows:
On the above date and time, this Investigator Sharon Hert was
monitoring phone calls. The phone number 219 614-8239 is on
offender Ervin Hall's #921011 phone list as Rhonda Young
“Friend”. On 3/6/17 this phone number was given
to a caller telling them to place 50 dollars on ### 552-7791
and 75 on ### 186-1726 number. The caller was told they are
Pay Pal numbers. On 3/6/17 at approx 16:41 offender Hall
calls 219 614-8239 and talks to Ms. Young. Hall is heard
saying if his cousin has called and given her 125 dollars.
She tells him someone did call. Hall asks her again if his
cousin called and she confirms the call and tells him, there
was 70 on one and 50 on the other. Hall is heard saying,
“It should be 75 on one and 50 on the other. She tells
him that sounds correct she would check it again. Hall is
then heard saying it was for lawyer fees.
Based on the phone calls that were monitored offender Ervin
Hall #921011 will be issued the Class B 220 Unauthorized
ECF 8-1 at 1.
had sufficient evidence to find Hall guilty of violating
offense B-220. A conduct report alone can be enough to
support a finding of guilt. McPherson, 188 F.3d at
786. Such is the case here. The reporting officer heard
telephone calls between an unidentified caller and Young as
well as calls between Hall and Young. Hall was recorded
asking Young whether “his cousin” had called and
given her $125. ECF 8 at 7. After she confirmed she received
the call and stated one payment was $70 and the other was
$50, Hall corrected Young and told her the payments should
have been $75 and $50. Id. Earlier that same day,
the unidentified caller told Young to place the $75 and $50
transactions on two PayPal numbers. Id. The details
of these transactions corresponded exactly. Id.
Hall's question to Young further indicated he was
expecting her to have received the prior call detailing the
transactions. Id. at 7-8. Based on the phone call
between Hall and Young, there was more than “some
evidence” that Hall conducted an unauthorized financial
transaction with Young.
asserts the DHO did not consider his written statement and
that it was omitted from the record. ECF 2 at 2. However,
that is not the case. Hall's statement is contained in
the administrative record, ECF 8-6 at 2, and the DHO
considered it in reaching a decision. ECF 8-6 at 1. It
appears as though what Hall is actually complaining about is
that the DHO did not credit his statement. However, the DHO
was responsible for determining the credibility of Hall's
statement and this ...