Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

French v. Brown

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

August 27, 2018

ROMAN FRENCH, Petitioner,
v.
DICK BROWN, Respondent.

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

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         Roman French's petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenges his disciplinary conviction in WVCF 17-08-0020 on August 11, 2017. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. French'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

         According to Mr. French, on August 6, 2017, Sgt. Vrzina and Officer Roessler came to his cell. Mr. French and his cellmate, Mr. Cannon, were present at the time. The inmates were told that the officers were going to shake them down and directed the inmates to exit the cell. Mr. French explains that there was no reason to search the cell and that this action was taken to harass the inmates because Sgt. Vrzina and Mr. French do not like each other. Five minutes into the search, Sgt. Vrzina approached the inmates with two empty containers and asked who they belonged to. Mr. Cannon indicated that the containers belonged to him. Sgt. Vrzina asked if either had been drinking and both inmates said no. Sgt. Vrzina stated that the containers had the odor of an intoxicant. At that time, inmate Mr. Cannon explained that the bottles did not contain an intoxicant, but did contain apple juice from the day before. Sgt. Vrzina continued shaking down the cell and after about ten minutes again asked Mr. French and Mr. Cannon if either of them had been drinking. Mr. French responded in a sarcastic tone of voice that maybe he was tipsy, maybe he wasn't. Sgt. Vrzina became upset and stated that because Mr. French wanted to be a “smart ass, ” he would write both inmates up for possession of an intoxicant for the two empty containers. Mr. French then asked for a breathalyzer test to prove he had not been drinking. Sgt. Vrzina said that was not necessary because he was writing the inmates up for possession of an intoxicant and not for being under the influence of an intoxicant. See dkt. 10 (Memorandum in support of reply).

         The disciplinary record is not inconsistent with Mr. French's version of events. That record reflects the following. On August 6, 2017, Sergeant Vrzina wrote a Conduct Report charging Mr. French with B-231, making, possessing, or being under the influence of intoxicants. The Conduct Report states:

On 8/6/17 at approx. 1:50 pm I, Sgt. Vrzina, along with Ofc. Roessler conducted a cell search of GHU 105. During the search I located two plastic containers that were empty but still had the odor of an intoxicant. When I confronted Offender French about drinking he did state that he was tipsy and had drank a little bit of wine. Offender French, Roman #900271 and Offender Cannon, Joseph #221230 reside in GHU 105.

Dkt. 8-1. The conduct report listed Officer Roessler as a witness and indicated that the confiscated property was forwarded to Master Control. The confiscated property was photographed. See dkt. 8-3 (photo of Folgers can and clear bottle).

         (Image Omitted)

Dkt. 8-3 at p. 1 (image modified for sizing purposes).

         Officer Roessler wrote the following statement in support of the conduct report:

On 8/6/17 at approximately 1:50 PM I, Ofc. Roessler, did witness Sgt. Vrzina locate two empty bottles having the odor of an intoxicant in GHU 105. When Sgt. Vrzina confronted Offender French, Roman #900271 about drinking he stated that he was tipsy and that he had drank a little bit of wine. Offender French, ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.