United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE.
December 12, 2016, petitioner Raymond Chestnut filed a
petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 challenging 18 separate disciplinary hearings in
No. 2:16-cv-0459-WTL-DKL. The Court determined that each
disciplinary proceeding had the status of a separate court
proceeding and ordered that 17 new habeas actions be filed.
Thus, this action relates to Mr. Chestnut's challenge to
the disciplinary proceeding that commenced with Report No.
respondent filed a return to order to show cause. Mr.
Chestnut did not reply and the time to do so has passed. For
the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Chestnut's
habeas petition must be denied.
inmates must be afforded due process before any of their good
time credits-in which they have a liberty interest-can be
revoked.” Jones v. Cross, 637 F.3d 841, 845
(7th Cir. 2011). “In the context of a prison
disciplinary hearing, due process requires that the prisoner
receive (1) written notice of the claimed violation at least
24 hours before hearing; (2) an opportunity to call witnesses
and present documentary evidence (when consistent with
institutional safety) to an impartial decision-maker; and (3)
a written statement by the fact-finder of the evidence relied
on and the reasons for the disciplinary action.”
Id.; see also Superintendent, Mass. Corr. Inst.
v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985); Wolff v.
McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 570-71 (1974). In addition,
“some evidence” must support the guilty finding.
Ellison v. Zatecky, 820 F.3d 271, 274 (7th Cir.
The Disciplinary Proceeding Regarding Incident Report
Incident Report dated September 25, 2012, charging Mr.
Chestnut with violating Code 224, Assaulting Any Person,
while was incarcerated at the FCI Bennettsville, South
Carolina, stated the following:
On September 21, 2012, at approximately 11:57am staff was
escorting inmate Chestnut #13465-171 from rec yard to his
cell. As we entere[d] C-upper range the inmate became very
aggressive towards staff. Inmate Chestnut jerks away from
Officer D. Moore as he was being escorted down range. At that
time I assisted in placing the inmate on the wall to gain
control of the inmate. Inmate Chestnut began to kick me in my
lower abdominal area with his right foot. To prevent further
injuries to staff we then place[d] the inmate on the floor to
gain control of him.
20-16 at 6.
Chestnut was provided a copy of the Incident Report that same
day. Dkt. 20-16 at 7. The investigating lieutenant informed
Mr. Chestnut of his rights to which Mr. Chestnut acknowledged
understanding by stating “yes.” Mr. Chestnut was
asked if he wanted to make a statement, to which Mr. Chestnut
responded, “no comment.” Id. Mr.
Chestnut did not request any witnesses. Id.
Chestnut refused to appear before the Unit Disciplinary
Committee on September 25, 2012, and refused to sign the
waiver of appearance. Dkt. 20-16 at 8; dkt. 16 at 9. Mr.
Chestnut first appeared before the Hearing Officer on October
5, 2012. At that time he requested his property and legal
materials from his previous institution (he had recently
transferred) before he would proceed. Dkt. 20-16 at 12. He
received his property on October 17, 2012. Mr. Chestnut
reappeared for a hearing on October 19, 2012. Id.
The Hearing Officer advised Mr. Chestnut of his rights and
confirmed that he did not request a staff representative.
Dkt. 20-16 at 13. Mr. Chestnut then requested a staff member
from USP Atlanta to serve as a witness. Dkt. 20-16 at 12. The
Hearing Officer inquired as to the relevancy of the requested
witness because the witness worked at USP Atlanta and the
incident did not occur there. Mr. Chestnut's response
was, “Oh you are denying me a witness. Fuck you, you
are a mother fucker and I will beat you on appeal.”
Id. Mr. Chestnut gave no other statement and did not
present any evidence. Id.
Hearing Officer determined that Mr. Chestnut committed the
assault as written in the Incident Report. Dkt. 20-16 at 14.
The Hearing Officer indicated that this finding was supported
by the reporting officer's written account of the events.
Id. He also based his decision on the fact that such
misconduct hampers staff's ability to control their areas
of responsibility, interferes with maintaining proper inmate
accountability, and threatens the security of the
institution. Id. The Hearing Officer sanctioned Mr.
Chestnut to sixty (60) days of disciplinary segregation, a
loss of twenty-seven (27) days of good conduct time, nine (9)
months loss of visits, and six (6) months loss of commissary.
Chestnut argues that his due process rights were violated
during the disciplinary proceeding. His claims are that: 1)
he did not receive a written copy of the Incident Report or
notice of the charges; 2) he was not afforded an opportunity
to call witnesses or present documentary evidence in his
defense; and 3) after the hearing, he requested ...