United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
DAVID J. DIXON STP-17-12-0190, Petitioner,
ORDER GRANTING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS,
VACATING SANCTIONS, AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by David J. Dixon
(“Mr. Dixon”) challenges a prison disciplinary
proceeding for unauthorized possession of personal
information, identified as No. STP-17-12-0190. For the
reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Dixon's habeas
petition is granted.
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).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
December 22, 2017, Investigator Grider wrote a Conduct Report
charging Mr. Dixon with B-247, unauthorized possession of
personal information. Dkt. 8-1 at 1. The Conduct Report
While reviewing JPay messages on 12-22-17 it was found that on
December 16, 2017 at 10:05 AM Offender Dixon, David DOC#
111218 requests through JPay for his contact to text the
contact of another offender to communicate a message for him.
Offender Dixon messages the other offender's
contact's phone number to his own contact. This
constitutes a conduct B247 Unauthorized possession of
Id. JPay message 361345931 was attached to the
Conduct Report. Dkt. 8-1 at 2.
Dixon was notified of the charge on January 3, 2018, when he
received the Screening Report. Dkt. 8-2 at 1. He pleaded not
guilty to the charge, requested a lay advocate, but 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. Inmate Christopher
Cooley agreed to be Mr. Dixon's lay advocate. Dkt. 8-2 at
prison disciplinary hearing was held on January 8, 2018.
According to the notes from the hearing, Mr. Dixon stated,
“I was just relaying a message for a friend so he could
talk to his family. I didn't know it was against the
rules or I wouldn't have done it.” Dkt. 8-3 at 1.
Based on the staff reports and the physical evidence of the
attached JPay message (Dkt. 8-3 at 2), the hearing officer
found Mr. Dixon guilty of B-247, unauthorized possession of
personal information. The sanctions imposed included ninety
days of earned-credit-time deprivation (suspended) and a
credit class demotion. Id.
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.
Dixon's habeas petition challenges his prison
disciplinary conviction on two grounds: (1) sufficiency of
the evidence and (2) he was denied a lay advocate.
See dkt. 2. The respondent argues that Mr. Dixon had
a lay person and there is “some evidence” to
support his conviction. Dkt. 8. Mr. Dixon has not filed a
reply, and time to do so has passed.
to the sufficiency of the evidence are governed by the
“some evidence” standard. “[A] hearing
officer's decision need only rest on ‘some
evidence' logically supporting it and demonstrating that
the result is not arbitrary.” Ellison v.
Zatecky, 820 F.3d 271, 274 (7th Cir. 2016); see
Eichwedel v. Chandler, 696 F.3d 660, 675 (7th Cir. 2012)
(“The some evidence standard . . . is satisfied if
there is any evidence in the record that could support the
conclusion reached by the disciplinary board.”)
(citation and quotation marks omitted). The “some
evidence” standard is much more lenient than the
“beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. Moffat
v. Broyles, 288 F.3d 978, 981 ...