United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
William T. Lawrence, Judge
petition of Daniel Tolley for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
WVE 16-10-0097. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr.
Tolley'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
October 25, 2016, a Conduct Report was issued charging Mr.
Tolley with possession of unauthorized property in violation
of Code B-215. The Conduct Report states:
On 10/25/2016 at approximately 12:45 PM, a cell search was
conducted within EHU #206. During the performance of this
search a large amount of Unauthorized/Altered Property was
discovered. 1.) Three sets of Koss headphones with Altered
name & DOC #s[;] 2.) Various colored cards created in
Print Shop and laminated[;] 3.) “Window cover”
utilized for impairment of surveillance[;] 4.) WVCF Labor
Line Gloves[;] 5.) Casio fx-260 SOLAR calculator with
original name & DOC # scratched off then replaced with
“Tolley 174395”[;] 6.) “Fossil” watch
with all mechanical insides removed.
Dkt. No. 7 at 1.
Tolley was notified of the charge that same day when he
received the Screening Report. He plead not guilty to the
charge. The Screening Report reflects that Mr. Tolley did not
request witnesses or physical evidence. But in his habeas
petition, Mr. Tolley asserts that the screening officer told
him he could not call staff members as witnesses, so his
requested staff witnesses were not documented on the
Screening Report and did not provide statements for the
hearing was held on October 27, 2016. The Hearing Report
reflects that Mr. Tolley stated that the items were his, but
Mr. Tolley maintains that statement was taken out of context
and is incomplete. The hearing officer found Mr. Tolley
guilty based on the staff reports, Mr. Tolley's
statement, the confiscation of property form, and a
photograph of the confiscated items. The sanctions imposed
included a thirty-day earned-credit-time deprivation, which
was suspended but ultimately imposed.
Tolley appealed to 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.
Tolley raises three claims in his habeas petition: (1) he was
denied documentary evidence; (2) the hearing officer was not
impartial; and (3) he was denied witnesses. The respondent
maintains that Mr. Tolley's claims lack merit and, to the
extent he was denied due process, any errors were harmless.
Mr. Tolley did not file a reply brief responding to the
respondent's arguments. The Court will address Mr.
Tolley's impartial-decisionmaker claim before addressing
his other two claims together.