United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
William T. Lawrence, Judge United States District Court
petition of Lyman Dawson for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
ISR 16-06-0032. For the reasons explained in this Order, Mr.
Dawson'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
7, 2016, Investigator D. Wilson wrote a Conduct Report
charging Mr. Dawson with B-209, impairment of surveillance.
Dkt. No. 8-9. The Conduct Report states:
On 06/07/2016, at approximately 12:55 PM, I, Investigator D.
Wilson, was reviewing video footage observed Offender Wesley
Willis #207998 give Offender Lyman Dawson #150147 (range
detail) something through the cuff port. Offender Lyman then
took this and put it over the camera on the 6B range blocking
Maintenance workers went over to HCH [to] clean the camera
and notified me that the camera was destroyed beyond repair.
Dkt. No. 8-9.
Dawson was notified of the charge on June 10, 2016, when he
received the Screening Report. Dkt. No. 8-17. He pleaded not
guilty to the charge, requested a lay advocate, and did not
wish to call any witnesses. Id. He requested to
review the video evidence - “I want the actual physical
camera to be viewed, I did not destroy it.”
Id. The disciplinary hearing board determined that
allowing the offender to view the video recorded evidence
would jeopardize the safety and security of the facility, so
a summary of the video recording was prepared. Dkt. No. 8-19.
The video summary stated, “the video was reviewed. The
video showed that the conduct report was accurate. Offender
is guilty in destruction of camera surveillance.”
Id. (capitalization modified). The Court reviewed
the video, which was submitted ex parte. The video
shows Mr. Dawson peering suspiciously up at the camera, going
to an offender's cell and retrieving an unknown object,
returning to the camera, and defacing and damaging the camera
cover. Dkt. No. 12 (ex parte).
prison disciplinary hearing was held on June 15, 2016.
According to the notes from the hearing, Mr. Dawson stated:
“[t]he other offender got wrapped up in this. He had no
part of this incident.” Dkt. No. 8-16. Based on the
staff reports, Mr. Dawson's statement, evidence from
witnesses, and the physical evidence of the video and conduct
report, the hearing officer found Mr. Dawson guilty of B-209,
impairment of surveillance. The sanctions imposed included
ninety days of earned-credit-time deprivation (suspended) and
a credit class demotion. Mr. Dawson appealed to the Facility
Head on June 21, 2016. Dkt. No. 8-15. On July 18, 2016, Mr.
Dawson's appeal was granted and he was granted a
rehearing on the grounds that he was not provided with
physical evidence or an explanation for the denial at his
hearing. Dkt. No. 8-14.
Dawson was re-notified of the charge on August 10, 2016, when
he received the Screening Report again. Dkt. No. 8-8; Dkt.
No. 13 at 5. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, requested a
lay advocate, and did not wish to call any witnesses. Dkt.
No. 8-8; Dkt. No. 13 at 5. He requested the destroyed camera
as physical evidence because “it was not
replaced.” A note was later added: “[e]vidence
denied due to safety/security. Photo provided in lieu of
physical camera. Statement from Camera maintenance staff
included.” Dkt. No. 8-8.
prison disciplinary rehearing was held on August 18, 2016.
Dkt. No. 8-7. According to the notes from the hearing, Mr.
Dawson stated: “I don't know nothing I guess. I
watched the maintenance guy repair the camera. He just
replaced the cover not the whole camera.” Dkt. No. 8-7.
At the hearing, the evidence considered included staff
reports, Mr. Dawson's statement, evidence from witnesses,
the statement from Callahan (presumably a member of the
maintenance staff) (Dkt. No. 8-11), a memo from Utility
Captain Conyers (Dkt. No. 8-10), and a photo of the damaged
camera (Dkt. No. 8-12). In an email dated June 8, 2016, the
facility's utility captain, Michael Conyers, sent an
email that noted that one of the newly installed cameras in
the H & J Cell House had been destroyed. Dkt. No. 8-10.
Additionally, William Callahan sent a message on August 11,
2016, which noted that there were no available replacement
parts for the cameras, and that the damage to the cover of
the camera was not covered under the manufacturer's
warranty. Dkt. No. 8-11. Callahan stated, “[p]hysical
damage to any part of a camera results in having to replace
the camera.” Id. Based on the evidence, the
hearing officer found Mr. Dawson guilty of B-209/240,
impairment of surveillance. The sanctions imposed included
ninety days of earned-credit-time deprivation and a credit
Dawson appealed to the 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. § 2254.
Dawson presents four grounds on which he challenges his
prison disciplinary conviction, but each of his grounds
includes a few sub-parts. The grounds are best summarized as:
(1) an expungement, not a rehearing, was the appropriate
remedy for his first appeal; (2) failure to identify the
maintenance worker who notified Investigator Wilson that the
camera was damaged to allow him to get a statement from the
maintenance worker; (3) denial of his request to call
maintenance worker as a witness; (4) failure to show him
evidence of the physical camera to show it was not destroyed;
(5) failure to show him video tapes (raised in reply); (6)
insufficient evidence to convict him; (7) “credit
time” was taken without a proper hearing; (8) the
hearing report did not provide information on what
information was relied on and why; and (9) failure to have a
hearing to address the value of the property for the