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Adams v. Superintendent

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

August 27, 2018

BENJAMIN ADAMS, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT, Respondent.

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

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         The petition of Benjamin Adams for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. IYC 17-03-0078. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Adams's habeas petition must be granted.

         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 October 13, 2017, Internal Affairs Investigator, Clinton Feldkamp, wrote a report of conduct charging Adams for the offense A-102/111 conspiracy to commit assault and battery with serious bodily injury.[1] The conduct report stated:

On 10/13/2017 at approximately 3:42 pm I Investigator C. Feldkamp completed an investigation into an assault of an offender who[se] name[s] shall be maintained in I&I confidential case file 17-IYC-0027 for safety and security reasons. During the course of that investigation it was discovered that offenders Kenneth Garretson #249544, Benjamin Adams #993788 and Raymond Barnett #978588 participated in events in where [sic] staff and offenders were intimidated, extorted and one person was seriously injured. Based on these factors this writer is requesting aggravated circumstances be cited and that these offenders be transferred to another facility. See Report of Investigation.

         An incident report was also completed and provided to Adams at his screening. The incident report stated:

On 9/6/2017 at approximately 10:30 am I Investigator C. Feldkamp completed an investigation into offenders Adams Benjamin #993788, Kenneth Garretson #249544 and Raymond Barnett #978588 for there [sic] participation in a series of events that ultimately lead [sic] these offenders into participating in extortion, intimidation, assault/battery that caused theft and serious bodily injury. The names of the staff and offenders who were victimized by these offenders shall remain confidential and are maintained in I&I case file 17-IYC-0027 for safety and security reasons. On February 2, 2017 an offender was assaulted and seriously injured when his arm was fractured. I was formally assigned to investigate the circumstances that lead [sic] to the assault. During the course of the investigation I discovered that the injured offender had been being victimized by these offenders and extorted over the course of several months. During the investigation the injured offender also identified these offenders who he alleged intimidated and extorted him. Once the offender ran out of money and co[u]ld no longer pay the extortion and refused to surrender his personal belongings to these offenders he was then assaulted and robbed of his belongings. There was also an allegation that the offenders who participated in these events were gang members, and during interview with offender Garretson it was discovered that he was an undocumented Gaylord gang member. Staff who reported the incident also alleged to have been victimized by these offenders and instructed by the offenders that the staff was under their “protection” and that they would run the unit as well as decide[] who works and what times they work, allowing these offenders to dictate unrestricted interaction in the unit during times that offenders would normally be secured in their cells or restricted to an unauthorized areas or activities. The offenders accused corroborated this allegation when the[y] admitted that they were working when not assigned to [a] count letter and that they instructed the staff on when they were going to work and took personal ownership of HUC. This writer is formally requesting that aggravating circumstances in the event of a guilty verdict is rendered as well as restitution for the medical costs from the offenders [sic] serious injury. End of Report.

         On October 18, 2017, Adams was notified of the charge and his rights. Adams pleaded not guilty and requested a lay advocate. A lay advocate was later appointed. Adams requested the following witnesses:

• Sgt. Roland Supv. That day - He will say that the offender who was assaulted that he had not been assaulted.
• Ofc. Nelson - I have never been involved in anything like this or this incident. Who did the injured offender state assaulted him?
• Offender Garretson - He went in the cell to fight one on one.
• The injured offender - I don't know his name. I didn't have involvement. Who did the injured ...

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