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Dixon v. Zatecky

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

July 27, 2018

DAVID J. DIXON STP-18-01-0194, Petitioner,
DUSHAN ZATECKY Warden, Pendleton Correctional Facility, Respondent.


          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         The petition of David J. Dixon for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. STP-18-01-0194. 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 January 22, 2018, Sergeant Patton reviewed a recorded telephone call from January 7, 2018, between Mr. Dixon and a friend of Mr. Dixon, Alexis Hines, and determined that they were speaking in code about bringing something inside the prison. See dkt. 9-1; dkt. 9-7 at 1. Internal Investigations reviewed video tape of a visit on January 7, 2018, between Mr. Dixon and Ms. Hines. Based on the video review, Sgt. R. Patton wrote a Conduct Report charging Mr. Dixon with A-l 13, trafficking. Dkt. 9-1. The Conduct Report states:

On 1/22/18 during a review of Offender Dixon, David IDOC# 111218 phone call history, Sgt. R. Patton heard Dixon speaking to Alexis Hines in code about what is believed to be details on trafficking an unknown substance into the facility on past occasions. During a camera review of his visit on 1/7/18, Hines opens a bag and places it on the table at the beginning of the visit. She leaves the table as Dixon approaches. Dixon sits down and picks up the bag. He digs in the bag and then places something into his jumpsuit pocket. End of report.


         Mr. Dixon was notified of the charge on January 29, 2018, when he received the Screening Report. Dkt. 9-2. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, requested a lay advocate, and did not request any witnesses. Id. He requested the "phone conversation between Dixon & Hines" and the "camera footage saved in DHB folder ('Dixon 111218['])" as 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. Mr. Dixon was provided with a lay advocate, inmate Christopher Cooley. Dkt. 9-5.

         The disciplinary hearing board determined that allowing the offender to view the video recorded evidence would jeopardize the safety and security of the facility, so a summary of the video recording was prepared. Dkt. 9-8. The video summary stated:

On the above stated date/time/location, video evidence shows Alexis Hines approach a visitation table with a bag, sits down at the table, opens the bag, place the bag on the table and exits the table. Offender Dixon approaches the table, sits down, picks up the stated bag, digs in it several times and proceeds to take an item out and place it in his jumpsuit pocket.

Dkt. 9-8.

         The Court reviewed the video, which was submitted ex parte. Dkt. 13 (ex parte). The video summary prepared by the disciplinary hearing board accurately summarizes the video. Id. The video shows Ms. Hines arriving first and buying something from the vending machine. She sets a snack bag and two soda cans on the table. While sitting at the table, she takes various items out of her pockets. Ms. Hines opens the bag with the last three fingers of her right hand still held against her palm. Ms. Hines then puts her right hand into the bag and takes a chip out to eat it and her fingers are no longer held against her palm. Ms. Hines sets the food bag up against a drink can on the far side of the table from her and waits. Just as Mr. Dixon gets done checking in at the door, Ms. Hines leaves the table and stands in front of a vending machine. Mr. Dixon sits down and looks inside the bag. Mr. Dixon eats one thing from the bag and wipes his hands. Mr. Dixon looks in the bag again and puts his hand in and out. This time, however, after Mr. Dixon reaches in the bag and brings his hands to his mouth, his hands brush past and put something in the front pocket of his overalls before he brushes his hand on his pants. Thereafter, Mr. Dixon proceeds to eat from the bag without looking at what he pulls out of the bag.

         The prison disciplinary hearing was held on September 11, 2017. According to the notes from the hearing, Mr. Dixon argued, "What did I traffic There isn't enough evidence for this conduct." Dkt. 9-6. Based on the staff reports and the physical evidence from the video and phone conversation, the hearing officer found Mr. Dixon guilty of A-113, trafficking. The sanctions imposed included 105 days of earned credit time deprivation, a credit class demotion from B to C, and the ...

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