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Sarver v. Warden, Plainfield Correctional Facility

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

March 22, 2018

CALVIN L. SARVER, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, Plainfield Correctional Facility, [1] Respondent.

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

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         Calvin L. Sarver petitions for a writ of habeas corpus, challenging prison disciplinary proceeding number REF 16-04-0023. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Sarver'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

         On April 16, 2016, Indiana Department of Correction Officer George Edmonds, Jr., charged Mr. Sarver with the use and/or possession of a cell phone, a violation of the IDOC's Disciplinary Code for Adult Offenders, Appendix I, Section A-121. Officer Edmonds's conduct report provides:

On 4/16/2016 at approximately 9:45 a.m. I (Officer George Edmond`s Jr.) received a napkin from an anonymous resident while sitting at the officer's desk. The Note stated “C1 Bathroom man using cell phone I Think right now.” This writer investigated and observed resident Sarver Calvin #943684 sitting on the toilet with a white sheet hanging across in front of him. This writer gave an order to take the sheet down so I could pat search him. [R]esident stated “I just sat down” I officer Edmonds stood and waited but Sarver begin [sic] to prolong the wait. I Officer Edmonds asked Sarver did he have anything he wanted to give me. Sarver #9436684 [sic] stated “no”, I Ofc. Edmonds ordered Sarver to stand up, then began to pat search him. Soon as I got to Sarver[‘s] right leg he reached and grabbed a black cell phone out of his sweat pants and fled into D1 Bathroom. Sarver reached his hand with the cell phone into the toilet and flushed once, then I Officer Edmonds gave him an Order to turn around and cuff up. As I radioed for 06 then radio for Officer Needs Assistances [sic] in Unit 8, Sarver flushed the toilet once again, then Sarver stood up and placed his hands behind his back. Officer Edmonds placed hand cuffs on resident Sarver #943684 and escorted him to the shift office. Once Sarver got to the shift office he admitted to this writer and Lt. J. White that he had a cell phone that he had taken from the refrigerator [sic] in the C1-D1 dayroom area.

Dkt. No. 13-1.

         Mr. Sarver was notified of the charge on April 21, 2016, when he received the screening report and a copy of the conduct report. Dkt. No. 13-4. He pleaded not guilty, did not request witnesses, but asked for the photographs that were taken as evidence.

         A hearing was held on April 28, 2016. Mr. Sarver made this statement at the hearing:

I have no idea what this write up is talking about. Ofc. Edmonds came in the restroom and asked me to remove the sheet, which I did. He asked to pat me down.
I stated “yes” after I'm done . . . . He patted me down and didn't find anything. He then told me to turn around and cuff up and took me to shift office.

Dkt. No. 13-6 (ellipses added). The hearing officer also considered a statement from Correctional Lt. James White:

On 4-16-2016 at approx. 9:57a.m., Officer George Edmonds Jr. escorted resident Sarver, Calvin #943684 to the shift office. I was informed by Officer Edmonds that resident Sarver, Calvin #943684 had a cell phone in his procession [sic] and when he was being pat down he fled and flushed the cell phone down the toilet. This writer, Lieutenant James White, interviewed Sarver, Calvin #943684 who then admitted to this writer ...

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