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Brown v. Superintendent

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

May 21, 2018

ROJAE BROWN, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT, Respondent.

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

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         Rojae Brown's petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. NCF 15-12-0260. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Brown'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

         Mr. Brown's petition concerns an incident that occurred at New Castle Correctional Facility (NCCF) on December 20, 2015. On December 28, 2015, Internal Affairs Officer A. Williams issued a Report of Conduct reading as follows:

The following Conduct Report has been issued to Offender Rojae Brown #988991 for violation of Adult Disciplinary Code Class B- 212 (Assault/Battery). On 12/20/15, Brown was identified on camera, by Lt. Harrison, as one offender involved in assaulting another offender. Internal Affairs investigation finds: Brown was seen entering the quiet room in F3 at the time the assault occurred and striking the offender. The offender was notified of the conduct report.

Dkt. No. 8-1.

         On May 9, 2017, Lieutenant L. Storms reviewed and prepared a written summary of security video related to the incident. See Dkt. No. 8-6. Lieutenant Storms's summary states that video shows Mr. Brown entering the “quiet room.” Shortly thereafter, an incident appearing to be a struggle or fight became visible. Roughly a minute later, an inmate exited the quiet room. Mr. Brown then exited the quiet room and appeared to be carrying a long-sleeved shirt he was wearing when he entered the quiet room. He proceeded to the bathroom, where he appeared to wash his hands and clothing.

         The respondent filed a copy of the security video with the Court ex parte, Dkt. No. 11, and the Court finds Lieutenant Storms's summary to be accurate. The Court observes that the quiet room is difficult to see on the video. The individual the respondent has identified as Mr. Brown can be seen entering the quiet room, activity can be seen in the quiet room's doorway, and the inmate who preceded Mr. Brown in exiting the quiet room appears to be injured.

         Mr. Brown maintained that he did not assault the inmate but rather entered the quiet room after the incident had already begun, attempted to break it up, and got blood on his hands and clothing as a result. See Dkt. No. 8-5. Lieutenant Storms also served as the hearing officer in this disciplinary proceeding and found Mr. Brown guilty of aiding, abetting, attempting, or conspiring to commit assault or battery. See Id. Sanctions included time in disciplinary segregation, loss of certain privileges, 90 days' lost credit time, and demotion of one credit-earning class. See id.

         Lieutenant Storms's hearing report states that he found Mr. Brown guilty based on Officer Williams's conduct report, “video review, ” and Mr. Brown's statement in his own defense. See id.

         III. Analysis

         Mr. Brown raises three issues in his petition. For the reasons set forth below, none of these issues ...


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