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Daniels v. Butts

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

May 4, 2018

RAMAR DANIELS, Petitioner,
v.
KEITH BUTTS, Respondent.

          ABIGAIL T. ROM, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

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

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, United States District Court Judge

         The petition of Ramar Daniels for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. CIC 16-09-0009. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Daniels'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 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).

         B. The Disciplinary Proceeding

         On August 31, 2016, Investigator Poer issued a conduct report to Mr. Daniels for a violation of Code B-240/215, conspiracy to commit theft. Dkt. No. 13-1. The conduct report stated:

On July 26, 2016, offender Daniels, Ramar 104542 33L-3ARH was involved in an assault involving multiple offenders on the E 1/3 side. An investigation was conducted to determine the cause of the assault and identify who participated in the assault. At 8:42 PM offender Daniels exited cell 5-1E with two other offenders, one of which was in possession of offender Mangold's flat screen TV. Refer to Confidential Case File 16-CIC-0033 for additional details.

         Mr. Daniels was notified that the offense would be reheard on April 26, 2017. Dkt. No. 13-2. Mr. Daniels sought assistance of a lay advocate, requested witness statements from Jamar Mason and Joseph Mangold, and requested physical evidence including the confidential case file and video evidence. Id.

         Inmate Jamar Mason provided a witness statement in response to the question, “Was [Mr. Daniels] part of any conspiracy to steal the T.V.?” Mr. Mason stated, “NO He was not in the room. He didn't steal a TV.” Inmate Joseph Mangold provided a witness statement in response to the question, “Did [Mr. Daniels] help anyone take a TV?” Mr. Mangold stated, “No.” Dkt. No. 13-3, 13-4.

         Relevant camera footage was reviewed and summarized:

I, UTM J. Hunt, reviewed the video footage for case number: CIC 16-09-0009. The video showed Offender Daniels, Ramar #104542 standing outside of cell 5-1E with 2 other offenders. Offender Daniels along with the other 2 offenders entered cell 5-1E. All three offenders eventually emerged from room 5-1E after what appeared to be an altercation with an additional offender. Offender Daniels does not appear to be carrying anything out of the cell with him at the time.

         The disciplinary rehearing was held on May 8, 2017. Dkt. No. ...


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