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Peters v. Smith

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

July 26, 2018

ANDREW W. PETERS, Petitioner,
v.
BRIAN SMITH, Respondent.

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

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         Indiana prison inmate Andrew W. Peters petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus challenging prison disciplinary proceeding number ISF 17-06-0045. For the reasons explained in this Order, Mr. Peters's petition is 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 by 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 June 1, 2017, a conduct report was issued charging Mr. Peters with attempting to traffic, a violation of Code A-111/113 of the Disciplinary Code for Adult Offenders. The conduct report provides:

On April 17, 2017 while assigned to the Trash Bash detail Offender Andrew Peters did collect several items of contraband along the road side and hid these items in van #11741 with intentions of trafficking said items into Putnamville Correctional Facility.

Dkt. No. 13-1, p. 1. The Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) Office of Investigation and Intelligence conducted an investigation of the April 17 incident and issued a report which provides:

On April 25, 2017 Mr. McDonald, Office of Investigation and Intelligence directed me Mr. Wire to conduct an additional investigation per Conduct Hearing Board in which Officer Anderson had filed a conduct report on Offender Andrew Peters DOC #104855 for ADP 111/113, “Attempting to Traffic[k].” Officer Anderson did not actually witness Offender Peters in possession of the contraband, he (Anderson) only found the contraband in the area of the van where Offender Peters was setting [sic]. Offender Peters and five other offenders were assigned to the Trash Bash detail at the time of the incident.
During this investigation I interviewed all offenders assigned to this detail to include Officer Anderson and Officer Sparks. The can used during this assignment was solely used for the trash bash detail. According to witnesses Offender Peters had bragged about the articles that he (Peters) had collected along the road side. Offender Peters also described in detail to these offenders as to what he had hidden in the van. During these interviews I did not suggest to the witnesses who the suspect was in this case, in turn Offender Peters name was mentioned on more than one occasion.

Dkt. No. 13-1, p. 4.

         Mr. Peters was notified of the charge on June 5, 2017, when he received the screening report. Dkt. No. 13-2. He plead not guilty to the charge.

A hearing was held on June 14, 2017. Mr. Peters told the hearing officer:
I was sitting in Offender Ainsworth's area and he was found to have tobacco in his boot. I found out he had the tobacco after he was caught with it. I had no prior ...

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