United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE UNITED, STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN
DISTRICT OF INDIANA
petition of Carl Croom for a writ of habeas corpus challenges
a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. IYC
17-01-0171. For the reasons explained in this Order, Mr.
Croom's habeas petition must be 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 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).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
November 29, 2016, Investigator S. Puckett, wrote a conduct
report charging Mr. Croom with a violation of A-111/113,
conspiracy / attempting / aiding or abetting trafficking. The
Conduct Report states:
On November 29, 2016 Mr. D Stein Maintenance For[e]man
witnessed a black woman drop off a McDonald's bag
containing contraband inside the maintenance building, at the
recycling can. While investigating the incident I[, ] S.
Puckett found in phone calls between Visitor Penny Gilbert
and Coreman Orron 108577 that a package was being dropped off
at the facility by a Penny Gilbert[, ] the mother of Coleman.
Gilbert is friends with Croom Carl 871027. While listening to
phone calls it was clear Coleman and Gilbert were using code
to set this up. They kept referring to ‘old school'
and ‘unk'. This was later found to be Croom. It was
found based on Jpay messages that Croom and Gilbert were
communicating on a cell phone based on the information
[Gilbert] stated in Jpay letters. Croom had not attempted to
make a phone call on the wall phone until placed in
Restrictive housing. On several of the phone calls leading up
to the drop it is talked about whats [sic] in it and about
how old school is working outside the fence. Gilbert also
talks about unk calling her on the other line. Gilbert stated
that on a call dated 11/24/16 at 13:19 Gilbert stated
‘that she would deliver the Christmas presents next
Tuesday' (the day of the drop). Both Croom and Coleman
were interviewed for this investigation both would not
cooperate and just stated they had nothing to do with it.
Dkt. 1-1 at 1, 3; dkt. 11-1. The Conduct Report also states,
“see case report 16-IYC-0172 / Phone calls for Coleman
# 108577 11/27-12/1.” Dkt. 1-1 at 1, 3; dkt. 11-1.
Croom was first notified of the charge on December 8, 2016,
when he received the Screening Report. He pleaded not guilty
to the charge, did not request a lay advocate, requested that
“Sam (Maintenance)” be called as a witness, and
requested the phone calls and JPay letters as physical
evidence. Dkt. 1-1 at 2. According to Mr. Croom, the first
Conduct Report, which is marked as No. IYC 16-12-0041, was
dismissed because it violated “D.O.C. policy on the
time frame for the conduct report to be heard.” Dkt. 1
at 2. The “same conduct report was reprinted. The only
change was the case number.” Id.
Croom was re-notified of the charge on January 18, 2017, when
he received the Screening Report for the second time. He
pleaded not guilty to the charge and requested a lay
advocate, who was later appointed. Dkt. 1-1 at 4; dkt. 11-2.
He also wished to call two witnesses: (1) “Maintenance
Sam” who would “state that the offender was
working with her”, and (2) Officer Gagnon, who would
“state that he threw the case out”. Dkt. 1-1 at
4; dkt. 11-2. He also requested the following physical
evidence: “[p]hone call conversation between offender
Croom and Gilbert Penny [and] JPay letters stating that
offender Croom and Gilbert were communicating on a cell
phone.” Dkt. 1-1 at 4; dkt. 11-2. Officer Gagnon's
witness statement reads: “Did you tell the offender
that you threw the case out? No, I never said I threw the
case out at all.” Dkt. 11-3. The witness statement from
“Sam” on the maintenance staff reads: “Was
offender working with you on this date? Yes.” Dkt. 1-1
at 6, dkt. 11-4.
one postponement to retrieve the requested evidence
(see dkt. 11-6), the prison disciplinary hearing was
held on February 12, 2017. According to the notes from the
hearing, Mr. Croom stated: “The Jpay letters will prove
this is not trafficking. I did not get those.” Dkt.
on the staff reports, Mr. Croom's statement, evidence
from the witnesses, and the IA case file, the hearing officer
found Mr. Croom guilty of A-111/113 for conspiracy
to/attempting to traffic. The sanctions imposed included one
hundred eighty (180) days of earned credit time deprivation
and a credit class demotion.
Croom appealed to Facility Head and the IDOC Final Reviewing
Authority, both of which were denied. He then brought this
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.