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Stafford v. Zatecky

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

May 11, 2018

DUSTIN A. STAFFORD, Petitioner,
v.
DUSHAN ZATECKY, Respondent.

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

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge United States District Court

         The petition of Dustin A. Stafford for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. IYC 16-11-0202. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Stafford'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 April 3, 2017, Correctional Officer Weddell issued a conduct report charging Mr. Stafford with unauthorized possession of property in violation of Code B- 215. The conduct report states:

On 4/3/2017 approx. 3:56 a.m. I Of c. Weddell went into Offender Stafford['s] cell 23-5B upon inspection of his cell I found a 3 ½ in carpenter nail in the wall where the state mirror use[d] to be. Also I found a hand size ball of copper wire in his property box and a steel block on the cabinet.

Dkt. 10-1 (capitalization modified). Mr. Stafford was notified of the charge on April 6, 2017, when he was served with the conduct and screening reports. The screening officer noted that Mr. Stafford requested statements from offenders Steven Gray and Carl Gilbert. Dkt. 10-2. He requested an investigation and tests on the nail for DNA and fingerprints. Id. Those requests were denied. He also requested the cell inspection sheet and the conduct history for the offender who lived in the cell before him, but these requests were also denied. Id. Mr. Gray provided a statement as follows:

I gave a fan to Dustin to fix cause [I] needed it so he said he could fix it but they called Rec at the same time, and he walks by, and tell me he took it apart but wanted to go to Rec, and he would get it done after Rec. so before he came in the officer search his room, and took the fan. The officer has in the past said he didn't like Offender Dustin so this was mainly because of that dislike thing.

Dkt. 10-3 (capitalization modified). Gilbert also provided statement that provides:

Mr. Stafford, ask me about his mirror in his room/cell when his first moved into 5B23. There was none, I told that I would report that to Sgt Eknst, the OIC. I also informed him that they don't do cell inspection anymore cause the room/cell was dirty! Needed to have rooms cleaned before people move into cells.

Dkt. 10-4 (capitalization modified).

         The hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on May 9, 2017. The hearing officer noted that Mr. Stafford stated, “All I had was the fan that I was fixing. I am guilty of a 353.” Dkt. 10-10. The hearing officer determined that Mr. Stafford had violated Code B-215. The sanctions included disciplinary segregation, the deprivation of 30 days of earned credit time, and a suspended sanction demoting Mr. Stafford from credit class B to credit class C. Id.

         Mr. Stafford appealed to the Facility Head and the Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”) Final Reviewing Authority, both of which were denied. He then brought this petition for ...


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