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Dixon v. Emerson

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

July 26, 2018

DAVID J. DIXON STP-18-02-0136, Petitioner,
v.
EMERSON, Respondent.

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

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge United States District Court Southern District

         The petition of David J. Dixon for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. STP-18-02-0136. For the reasons explained in this Order, Mr. Dixon's habeas petition must be 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 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 February 15, 2018, Sgt. R. Patton wrote a Conduct Report charging Mr. Dixon with B-220[1], unauthorized financial transaction. Dkt. 8-1. The Conduct Report states:

On February 14, 2018 at approximately 3:15 P.M., I Sgt. Patton received information that Offender David Dixon IDOC#111218 was using the phone PIN assigned to Offender Larry Hazel IDOC# 250638. Upon reviewing the calls, Dixon calls a phone number on 1/12/2018 that is also on his own phone list. He states to a female, “Hi. Larry owes me money. I'ma have him put money on the phone, but if you wanna talk now, you'll prolyl have to do it.” End of report.

Id. Sgt. Patton also prepared a report with a transcript of the conversation that indicated that the call was made from 317-732-5411 and lasted one minute. Dkt. 8-2. A reverse lookup report identified the number as being associated with Alexis Hines. Dkt. 8-3.

         Mr. Dixon was notified of the charge on February 15, 2018, when he received the Screening Report. Dkt. 8-4. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, did not wish to have a lay advocate, and did not request any witnesses or any physical evidence. Id. He also waived his right to 24 hours' advance notice before the disciplinary hearing. Id. Mr. Dixon signed the Screening Report. Id.

         The prison disciplinary hearing was held on February 15, 2018. According to the notes from the hearing, Mr. Dixon stated, “[t]he number is not on my phone list.” Dkt. 8-5. Based on the staff reports, the hearing officer found Mr. Dixon guilty of B-220, unauthorized financial transaction. The sanctions imposed included one day of earned-credit-time deprivation and a credit class demotion from C to D. Id.

         Mr. Dixon appealed to the Facility Head and the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) Final Reviewing Authority, both of which were denied. He then brought this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         C. Analysis

         Mr. Dixon's habeas petition challenges his prison disciplinary conviction on two grounds: (1) he was denied evidence and (2) he was denied a lay advocate. See dkt. 2. The respondent construes Mr. Dixon's habeas petition to also challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. Dkt. 8 at 5. The respondent argues that Mr. Dixon was not denied due process and there is “some evidence” to support his conviction. Id. at 5-10. Mr. Dixon has not filed a reply, and time to do so has passed.

         1. Denia ...


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