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Taylor v. Knight

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

August 14, 2018

JOSHAWN TAYLOR, Petitioner,
v.
WENDY KNIGHT, Respondent.

          Abigail T. Rom INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL

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

          HON. JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE.

         The petition of Joshawn Taylor for a writ of habeas corpus challenges Indiana prison disciplinary proceeding number CIC 17-03-0237. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Taylor's habeas 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 March 15, 2017, Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) Officer Bartlett was conducting routine searches of inmates. He found what he believed to be a controlled substance on petitioner Joshawn Taylor and wrote a Conduct Report charging Mr. Taylor with possession of a controlled substance, a B-202 violation. Officer Bartlett's Conduct Report provides:

On 3/15/17 at approximately 2:00PM, I Officer Bartlett was conducting a routine strip search for a shakedown. During the strip search, I located an altered pen behind the ear of Offender Taylor, Joshawn #245340 (13B-3E). There was an unknown substance inside the pen with black burn marks.

         Dkt. 8-1.

         Mr. Taylor was formally notified of the charge on March 18, 2017, when he received the Screening Report. Dkt. 8-2. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, requested a lay advocate, and requested that the found substance be tested. Id. A prison official, Investigator Poer, denied the request to have the substance tested. Dkt. 10 (ex parte investigative report). In Investigator Poer's assessment, the altered pen was an item of drug paraphernalia, which is prohibited under code provision B-202, and therefore testing was not necessary. Id.; see also dkt. 8-5 (photograph of altered pen).

         The IDOC's Disciplinary Code for Adult Offenders, offense code section B-202, provides:

         202 Possession or Use of Controlled Substance

Possession or use of any unauthorized substance controlled pursuant to the laws of the State of Indiana or the United States Code or possession of drug paraphernalia.

         https://www.in.gov/idoc/files/02-04-101appendixi-offenses6-1-2015(1).pdf (emphasis ...


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