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Sarver v. Warden, Plainfield Correctional Facility

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

June 12, 2018

CALVIN L. SARVER, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, Plainfield Correctional Facility, [1] Respondent.

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

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         Calvin L. Sarver's petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenges prison disciplinary proceeding number REF 16-04-0024. For the reasons explained in this Order, Mr. Sarver's habeas petition is 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 by 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 16, 2016, Indiana Department of Correction Officer George Edmonds had an interaction with Mr. Sarver that resulted in the following Conduct Report:

On 4/16/2016 at approximately 9:48 a.m. I (Officer George Edmonds Jr.) gave resident Sarver, Calvin #943684 an order to take the sheet down which was hanging across him while he sat on the toilet in C 1 restroom. This writer wanted [to] pat search Sarver #943684. Sarver stated “I just sat down” I officer Edmonds stood and waited but Sarver [began] to prolong the wait. I officer Edmonds asked Sarver did he have anything he wanted to give me. Sarver . . . stated “no”. I Ofc. Edmonds ordered Sarver to stand up, then I began to pat search him. Soon as I got to Sarver [sic] right leg he reached and grabbed a black cell phone out of his sweat pants and fled into the D1 Bathroom. Sarver reached his hand with the cell phone into the toilet and flushed once, then I officer Edmonds gave him [an] Order to turn around and cuff up.
As I radioed for 06 then radio for Officer Needs Assistance in Unit 8. Sarver flushed the toilet once again, then Sarver stood up and placed his hands behind his back. I Officer Edmonds placed hand cuffs on resident Sarver #943684 and escorted him to the shift office. Once Sarver got to the shift office he admitted to this writer and Lt. J. White that he had a cell phone that he had taken from the refrigerator in the C1-D1 dayroom area.

Dkt. No. 13-1.

         Officer Edmonds escorted Mr. Sarver to the shift office. There, Mr. Sarver admitted to Lt. White and Officer Edmonds that he had a cell phone. Dkt. No. 13-2. Lt. White prepared a statement reflecting Mr. Sarver's admission:

On 4-16-2016 at approx. 9:57a.m., Officer George Edmonds Jr. escorted resident Sarver, Calvin #943684 to the shift office. I was informed by Officer Edmonds that resident Sarver, Calvin #943684 had a cell phone in his procession [sic] and when he was being pat down he fled and flushed the cell phone down the toilet. This writer, Lieutenant James White, interviewed Sarver, Calvin #943684 who then admitted to this writer and officer Edmonds that he had a cell phone that he had taken from the refrigerator in the C1-D1 dayroom area.

Id.

         Mr. Sarver was notified of the charge on April 21, 2016, when he received the Screening Report. That report charged Mr. Sarver with violating the Adult Disciplinary Code Section A-100, which makes violating any state or federal law an IDOC offense. The state statute Mr. Sarver was alleged to have violated was Indiana Code 35-44.1-2-2(a)(3), the statute criminalizing obstruction of justice. He plead not guilty to the charge, asked for a lay advocate, and said he did not wish to call any witnesses nor did he request any evidence. Dkt. No. 13-3.

         A hearing was held on April 28, 2016. At the hearing Mr. Sarver asserted his innocence, stating he never had or admitted to having a cell phone. Dkt. No. 13-5. The hearing officer convicted Mr. Sarver of violating offense A-100, relying on staff reports, Mr. Sarver's statement, and the written statement from Lt. White. The hearing officer wrote that the evidence was clear that Mr. Sarver destroyed evidence by flushing ...


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