United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. MILLER, JR. JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
McMahon, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a habeas corpus
petition challenging his disciplinary hearing (ISP 18-01-113)
at the Indiana State Prison on January 19, 2018, where a
disciplinary hearing officer found him guilty of Use and/or
Possession of a Cellular Telephone in violation of Indiana
Department of Correction policy A-121. ECF 1 at 1. As a
result, he lost 90 days earned credit time. Id.
Fourteenth Amendment guarantees prisoners certain procedural
due process rights in prison disciplinary hearings: (1)
advance written notice of the charges; (2) an opportunity to
be heard before an impartial decision-maker; (3) an
opportunity to call witnesses and present documentary
evidence in defense, when consistent with institutional
safety and correctional goals; and (4) a written statement by
the fact-finder of evidence relied on and the reasons for the
disciplinary action. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S.
539 (1974). To satisfy due process, there must also be
“some evidence” in the record to support the
guilty finding. Superintendent, Mass. Corr Inst. v.
Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455 (1985). Mr. McMahon argues there
was insufficient evidence to find him guilty.
context of a prison disciplinary hearing, “the relevant
question is whether there is any evidence in the record that
could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary
board.” Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. at
455-456. “In reviewing a decision for some evidence,
courts are not required to conduct an examination of the
entire record, independently assess witness credibility, or
weigh the evidence, but only determine whether the prison
disciplinary board's decision to revoke good time credits
has some factual basis.” McPherson v. McBride,
188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir. 1999) (quotation marks omitted).
[T]he findings of a prison disciplinary board [need only]
have the support of some evidence in the record. This is a
lenient standard, requiring no more than a modicum of
evidence. Even meager proof will suffice, so long as the
record is not so devoid of evidence that the findings of the
disciplinary board were without support or otherwise
arbitrary. Although some evidence is not much, it still must
point to the accused's guilt. It is not our province to
assess the comparative weight of the evidence underlying the
disciplinary board's decision.
Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000)
(quotation marks, citations, parenthesis, and ellipsis
McMahon was found guilty of violating IDOC offense A-121,
which prohibits inmates from the “[u]nauthorized use or
possession of any cellular telephone or other wireless or
cellular communications device.” Adult Disciplinary
Process, Appendix I: Offenses.
The Conduct Report states:
On 1-8-18 at approximately 0927 I ofc Houston was shaking
down CE 213 which houses offender McMahon 249559. Upon
shakedown, I had found a white LG cellular telephone with
charger located on offender's back shelf hidden in a
black container under a napkin. Phone and charger w[ere]
confiscated [sic] recorded as evidence and turned into IA
ECF 1-1 at 1.
hearing officer had enough evidence to find Mr. McMahon
guilty of violating offense A-121. A conduct report alone can
be enough to support a finding of guilt. McPherson v.
McBride, 188 F.3d at 786. The conduct report provided
sufficient evidence to support the hearing officer's
finding because it describes in detail the discovery of the
cell phone and charger in Mr. McMahon's cell on the back
shelf of his cell, hidden in a black container under a
napkin. There was more than “some evidence” for
the hearing officer to find Mr. McMahon guilty of possessing
a cell phone in violation of offense A-121.
Mr. McMahon asserts there was insufficient evidence for the
hearing officer to find him guilty because the evidence card
indicated the cell phone and charger were found on January
18, 2018, ten days after the incident took place on January
8, 2018. In his petition, Mr. McMahon states:
That while the conduct report indicates the incident took
place on 1-8-2018, the evidence card in location 2 clearly
says [the] article was found [on] 1-18-2018, ten days later.
It is impossible to create a conduct report that has not yet
occurred. The instructions on the back of the evidence card
very specifically say that item 2 (or box 2) is to be filled
in with the date the item was found. This discrepancy
requires the conduct report ...