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Dooley v. Warden

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

March 30, 2018

DORRIS L Y DOOLEY, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, [1] Respondent.

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

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Dorris L. Y. Dooley (“Ms. Dooley”) which challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. IWP 17010019. For the reasons explained in this Order, Ms. Dooley's habeas petition must be denied.

         I. 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).

         II. THE DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING

         On December 30, 2016, Sergeant Lewis wrote a Report of Conduct charging Ms. Dooley with a violation of B-236, disorderly conduct. The Report of Conduct states:

At approximately 400 am offender Dorris Dooley 259567 hit the button for control 11 and stated that she had to use the restroom. I sergeant De'ja Lewis advised offender Dorris Dooley 259567 that she would have to wait for staff working unit 12 to open her door, control II does not pop doors for unit 12 except for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Offender Dorris Dooley 259567 then became very irate yelling and banging on the door calling me a “Bitch” and stated “if i [sic] knew what was best for me I would open her door if I wanted my job”. Offender Dorris Dooley 259567 stated “You bitches never do your job”. I sergeant [sic] De'ja Lewis advised offender Dorris Dooley 259567 that once she calmed down she would be able to come out and use the restroom. Offender Dorris Dooley 259567 continued to yell and bang on the door stating that she needed to be put on suicide watch because she felt like harming herself. Therefore offender Dorris Dooley 259567 is being charged with 236 Disorderly.

Dkt. [1]-1 at 1; Dkt. [15]-1.

         Ms. Dooley was notified of the charge on January 10, 2017, when she received the Screening Report. Dkt. [15]-2. She pleaded not guilty to the charge and requested a lay advocate. She asked to call two witnesses: (1) Officer Stewart for a statement that “they do run a bathroom line” and (2) a member of the medical staff for a statement that Ms. Dooley “has bathroom issues waiting to be addressed.” Id. She also requested two items of physical evidence: (1) a schedule of activities and (2) a video showing the bathroom line from 11pm to 5am. Id. The hearing officer denied Ms. Dooley's request for a statement from Officer Stewart because it is a “well known fact” that “bathroom lines are ran [sic] on unit 12, ” and therefore the statement would be irrelevant. Dkt. [15]-3. The hearing officer also denied her request for a statement from medical because the document is kept on file and was unnecessary at the hearing. Id. Finally, the disciplinary hearing board determined that allowing the offender to view the recorded evidence would jeopardize the safety and/or security of the facility and prepared a video summary that stated, “[t]he request for video evidence from 11pm - 5am in regards to the unit running a bathroom line is irrelevant. It is a well known fact that bathroom lines are ran.” Dkt. [15]-4.

         The prison disciplinary hearing was held on January 12, 2017. According to the notes from the hearing, Ms. Dooley stated: “I do not recall asking Ms. Lewis to use the restroom. It was over suicide watch. Between 11 and 5 we are to be let out as needed. I woke up with swelling. Instead of hurting myself I asked for help.” Dkt. [1-]1 at 2; Dkt. [15]-5. Based on the staff reports and Ms. Dooley's statement, the hearing officer found Ms. Dooley guilty of B-236, disorderly conduct. The sanctions imposed included ninety (90) days of earned-credit-time deprivation.

         Ms. Dooley appealed to the Facility Head, which was denied. She alleges that she appealed to the Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”) Final Reviewing Authority on multiple occasions and never received a response. The Respondent asserts that, as of August 4, 2017, Ms. Dooley has never filed an appeal to the Final Reviewing Authority. See Dkt. [8]-2, Dkt. [8]-3, Dkt. [13]-1, Dkt. [13]-2. Ms. Dooley then brought this Petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         III. ANALYSIS

         Ms. Dooley asserts three grounds to challenge her prison disciplinary conviction: (1) she did not receive a fair hearing because the hearing officer was being intimidating, yelled and screamed at her, and removed from the hearing; (2) she only pushed the intercom button because it was an emergency and she had suicidal thoughts; and (3) she was charged with profanity, but she only used profanity because the officer was an argumentative person who did not care about providing assistance. The Respondent asserts that because Ms. Dooley has never filed an appeal to the Final Reviewing Authority, she has failed to exhaust all of her administrative remedies. As to the merits of her claims, the Respondent restates Ms. Dooley's claim as (1) whether the hearing officer was intimidating; and (2) sufficiency of the evidence. The Respondent asserts that Ms. Dooley's first ground does not state a claim for habeas relief, and that the evidence was sufficient to support the charge of disorderly conduct. In reply, Ms. Dooley asserts that certain due process rights were violated including her right to request a witness, the right to present documentary evidence, and the right to speak on her own behalf at the hearing.

         A. Failu ...


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