United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
December 12, 2016, petitioner Raymond Chestnut filed a
petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 challenging 18 separate disciplinary proceedings
as No. 2:16-cv-0459-WTL-DKL. The Court determined that each
disciplinary proceeding had the status of a separate court
proceeding and ordered that 17 new habeas actions be filed.
This action relates to Chestnut's challenge to the
disciplinary proceeding that commenced with Incident Report
No. 2547206 at a time he was incarcerated at USP Lewisburg.
filed a supplemental petition on February 17, 2017. Dkt. 6.
The respondent filed a return to order to show cause on
November 27, 2017. Dkt. 31. Thereafter, Chestnut filed an
amended petition. Dkt. 34. The Court will discuss
Chestnut's claims asserted in his supplemental and
amended petitions. For the reasons explained in this Entry,
Chestnut's habeas action must be denied.
inmates must be afforded due process before any of their good
time credits-in which they have a liberty interest-can be
revoked.” Jones v. Cross, 637 F.3d 841, 845
(7th Cir. 2011). “In the context of a prison
disciplinary hearing, due process requires that the prisoner
receive (1) written notice of the claimed violation at least
24 hours before hearing; (2) an opportunity to call witnesses
and present documentary evidence (when consistent with
institutional safety) to an impartial decision-maker; and (3)
a written statement by the fact-finder of the evidence relied
on and the reasons for the disciplinary action.”
Id.; see also Superintendent, Mass. Corr. Inst.
v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985); Wolff v.
McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 570-71 (1974). In addition,
“some evidence” must support the guilty finding.
Ellison v. Zatecky, 820 F.3d 271, 274 (7th Cir.
The Disciplinary Proceeding Regarding Incident Report
February 10, 2014, attorney Jennifer Knepper wrote an
Incident Report which stated the following:
While reviewing a sur-reply inmate Chestnut filed with the
U.S. District Court for the Middle Dist. of Pennsylvania, I
noticed two exhibits attached by inmate Chestnut which were
allegedly signed by the DHO who heard the case the inmate is
challenging (IR 2355603). I contacted DHO Brian Chambers who
confirmed the writing and signature on the documents was
[sic] not his and provided a memo to that effect. Inmate
Chestnut filed these documents in a habeas case where he
alleges he was denied due process and is attempting to have
27 days of good conduct time restored to his sentence.
Dkt. 32-1 at 6.
copy of the Incident Report was issued to Chestnut on
February 10, 2014. Dkt. 32-1 at 6. The disciplinary process
was suspended pending referral of the incident for possible
prosecution. The Federal Bureau of Investigation
(“FBI”) released the Incident Report for
discipline at the institution level on February 26, 2014.
The Incident Report was then investigated by a lieutenant,
who gave Chestnut the opportunity to provide a statement
and provided notice of the DHO hearing to him on February
27, 2104. Dkt. 32-1 at 9. The investigating lieutenant then
referred the Incident Report to the Unit Disciplinary
Committee (“UDC”) for further disposition.
Dkt. 32-1 at 8.
appeared before the UDC on February 27, 2014. Dkt. 32-1 at 7.
Chestnut stated that he was not guilty. The UDC referred the
incident report to the DHO for further hearing and because
the appropriate sanctions were not available at the UDC
level. Id. Chestnut was given the opportunity to
name witnesses he wished to call and select a staff
representative. Dkt. 32-1 at 9. Chestnut chose Officer Avery
as his staff representative. Although Chestnut refused to
sign acknowledging he had been informed of his rights, the
UDC chairman completed a form indicating he had personally
advised Chestnut of his rights. Dkt. 32-1 at 10.
hearing before the DHO was held on March 12, 2014. Dkt. 32-1
at 14. Chestnut refused to appear before the DHO. Chestnut
informed a staff representative he had chosen for another
case that he wanted her to serve as his staff representative
on the current case and that he refused to appear before the
DHO. The DHO documented Chestnut's waiver of his right to
appear. Dkt. 32-1 at 13. Chestnut provided a response to the
allegations through his staff representative that he was
innocent of all charges and that if the district court
accepted his filings then they had to be legitimate. He
requested an official from the district court to appear as a
witness and requested a handwriting analysis in order to
prove he did not forge DHO Chamber's response or
signature. He stated he also wanted video footage of when
staff delivered the Inmate Request to his cell and requested
a polygraph examination. Dkt. 32-1 at 14.
considered Chestnut's request for a court official to
testify that the court received the documents and filed them.
The DHO denied this request stating that the information the
witness would provide was already provided in the body of the
incident report stating that the documents were filed with