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Ashlock v. Knight

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

June 26, 2018

CHRISTOPHER ASHLOCK, Petitioner,
v.
STAN KNIGHT, Warden, Plainfield Correctional Facility, [1] Respondent.

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

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         The petition of Christopher Ashlock for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. IYC 17-06-0066 in which he was convicted of violating B-215, Unauthorized Possession of Property. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Ashlock's habeas petition must be granted.

         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 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).

         B. The Disciplinary Proceeding

         The discipline challenged in the petition occurred when Ashlock was housed at the Plainfield Facility. The report of conduct stated:

On 6/8/17 at approximately 1:22pm I, Sgt. Faudree was approached by Ofc. Gagnon stating that offender Ashlock, Christopher #137863 had given him a [one-page] typed letter requesting witness(es) and evidence for case # IYC 17-06-0046 Unauthorized Possession of Personal Information-247B. Offenders at this facility have access to the Law Library, but must be on the Law Library call out. Offender Ashlock was screened for this case on 6/7/17 at approximately 1:15pm. The Law Library is over at 3:00pm and offender Ashlocak was not on the Law Library call out for 6/7/17. I checked the morning call out for the Law Library on 6/8/17 and offender Aslock was not on that call out either. Therefore Offender Ashlock could have not typed this letter in the Law Library and was not charged for the copies made of the letter.

Dkt. 10-1. The one-page letter at issue stated:

         (Image Omitted)

Dkt. 10-3.

         On June 8, 2017, Ashlock was charged in case IYC-06-0066 with offense B-0215, Possession or Theft of State Property. B-0215 makes “Unauthorized possession, destruction, alteration, damage to, or theft of State property or property belonging to another” an offense. IDOC Adult Disciplinary Process, Appendix I, (available at https://www.in.gov/idoc/files/02-04-101APPENDIXI-OFFENSES6-1-2015(1).pdf) (last visited June 25, 2018)).

         On June 10, 2017, Ashlock received a copy of the conduct report. At the same time, Ashlock received notice of his rights. Ashlock plead not guilty, requested a lay advocate, and said he did not wish to call any witnesses or need any physical evidence.

         The Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) held the disciplinary ...


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