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Field v. Warden

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

July 6, 2018

JOSHUA H. FIELD, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, Respondent.

          JOSHUA H. FIELD MIAMI - CF MIAMI CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

          Kyle Hunter INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL

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

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         The petition of Joshua Field for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. CIC 17-07-0227. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Field'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

         On July 19, 2017, Sergeant Shodgrass wrote a Report of Conduct in case CIC 17-07-0227 charging Field with possession of a hazardous chemical. The Report of Conduct states:

On 7-19-17 I, Sgt. Shodgrass was shaking down 32 B-4A Offender Field, Joshua #971403 32 B-4A had 2 container[s] of oil a plastic lemon with unknown chemical sitting on top of his gray box at approx. 11:00 am.

         On July 21, 2017, Field was notified of the charge of possession of a hazardous chemical and served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing “Screening Report”.

         Field was notified of his rights, pled not guilty, and did not request the appointment of a lay advocate. He did not request any witnesses or physical evidence.

         At the hearing, held on July 25, 2017, the hearing officer found Field guilty of the charge of possession of a hazardous chemical. In making this determination, the hearing officer considered the offender's statements, staff reports, and photographic evidence. The hearing officer recommended and approved the following sanctions: a written reprimand, 45 days lost commissary and phone privileges, 115 days earned credit time deprivation, and a demotion from credit class B to credit class C.

         Field appealed to the facility head on August 8, 2017. The facility head considered Field's appeal and modified the charge from A106 possession of a hazardous chemical to B215 possession of unauthorized property. The facility also modified the sanctions, reducing the privilege loss from 45 days to 30 days and reducing the credit time loss from 115 days to 90 days. Field then appealed that determination to the Department of Correction (DOC) Appeal Review Officer, and this appeal was denied by letter on December 13, 2017.

         C. ...


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