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Chestnut v. Daniels

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

May 23, 2018

RAYMOND CHESTNUT, Petitioner,
v.
CHARLES DANIELS, Respondent.

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

          HON. JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE.

         On 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. 2449091.

         The 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.

         A. Legal Standards

         “Federal 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. 2016).

         B. The Disciplinary Proceeding Regarding Incident Report 2449091

         Senior Officer Beaver wrote an Incident Report at USP-Lewisburg on May 26, 2013, which stated as follows:

On May 26, 2013, at approximately 8:01 a.m., while this officer was conducting cell rotations on D-block second [sic] floor when [sic] this office[r] observed inmate CHESTNUT #13465-171 assault inmate FLUELLEN, CORY #04436-017. Specifically, inmate CHESTNUT #13465-171 was striking inmate FLUELLEN in the head and upper torso with close[d] fist punches while inmate FLUELLEN was in hand restraints. Inmate CHESTNUT refused numerous orders to cease his actions and submit to hand restraints. This officer then called for assistance.

Dkt. 23-13 at 7.

         Senior Officer Fisher was assisting Senior Officer Beaver with the cell rotations at the time of the incident. He wrote the following report:

On the above date [5-26-2013] at approximately 8:01am, I was assisting in the 21 day cell rotation in D-Block, specifically on the third floor at cell 303. As I removed the hand restraints from inmate Chestnut #13465-171, he began to assault inmate Fluellen #04436-017 by striking him in the face and upper torso area with closed fists. Once assistance was called, I gave inmate Chestnut several direct orders to submit to hand restraints but he refused all staff orders. I then administered two, two second bursts of OC spray from my MK-4 dispenser with negative results. He continued to hold inmate Fluellen[']s hand restraints and continued assaulting him. Once inmate Chestnut complied with staff orders and ceased his actions, I then applied hand restraints and assisted in removing him from the cell and escorting him to the third floor shower area where he was decontaminated due to OC exposure and medically assessed. I sustained no injuries or loss of equipment.

Dkt. 23-13 at 11.

         Senior Officer Russo also wrote a memorandum discussing the incident:

On May 26, 2013 at 8:01 am I was assisting with cell rotations on D-block third floor. I assisted in placing Inmates Fluellen #04436-017 and Chestnut #13465-171 into cell 303. When Officer Fisher removed the hand restraints from inmate Chestnut he immediately began assaulting inmate Fluellen, striking him in the head and upper torso with closed fists. Inmate Fluellen was still restraind [sic] behind the back at this time. I gave the inmate several direct orders to stop fighting with negative results. I then administered 2-2 second bursts from the MK4 which had negative results. Officer Fisher and ...

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