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Rose v. Warden

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

October 25, 2018

DONNIE A. ROSE, Petitioner,
WARDEN, Respondent.




         The petition of Donnie A. Rose for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. JCU 17-08-0009. For the reasons explained in this Order, Mr. Rose'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 August 11, 2017, Officer Tetrick wrote a Conduct Report charging Mr. Rose with B-202, possession of a controlled substance. Dkt. 7-1. The Conduct Report states:

On 8/11/2017 at 1530 hour's [sic] I Ofc. Tetrick, Sgt. Jeter, and Lt. Lane were out in building 643 patting down offenders as they came in from crew. When crew 27 came back in Sgt. Jeter was doing a strip search on offender Rose, Donnie DOC#160366 when he noticed a lump on the inner lining of the boot[;] Sgt. Jeter was trying to find the opening to where the package was shoved into the inner lining of the boot, and was unable to locate it. Lt. Lane sent Sgt. Jeter to go get a pair of scissors to cut open the inner lining of the boot to further inspect what was inside the lining of the boot. While Sgt. Jeter was getting scissors Lt. Lane and myself Ofc. Tetrick kept inspecting the boot. Lt. Lane had his hand inside the boot continuing to look for a hole in the inner lining of the boot when Lt. Lane and myself Ofc. Tetrick saw two peach colored pills the [sic] read V3605 fall out of the boot before Sgt. Jeter had returned with the scissors. I Ofc. Tetrick immediately picked up both pills and put them in a glove and gave them to Sgt. Jeter. Sgt. Jeter took the pills to medical and had the nurses look at them to verify what they actually were. Medical verified both pills as Hydrocodone (325mg), and stated that wasn't anything we carried on center. This puts offender Rose, Donnie DOC#160366 in violation of a Class B Offense 202-Possession or use of controlled substance.

Dkt. 7-1. Lt. Lane and Stephen Jeter also prepared Incident Reports regarding the same incident. Dkt. 7-2; Dkt. 7-3. The two tablets were confiscated, visually verified to be Hydrocodone, and sent to the evidence locker. Dkt. 7-4.

         Mr. Rose was notified of the charge on August 11, 2017, when he received the Screening Report. Dkt. 7-5. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, requested a lay advocate, and did not request any witnesses or physical evidence. Id. A lay advocate was later appointed. Dkt. 7-6.

         The prison disciplinary hearing was held on August 25, 2017. According to the notes from the hearing, Mr. Rose stated, “I just got the boots that Sunday. I wore them about a week.” Dkt. 7-7. Based on the staff reports and Mr. Rose's statement, the hearing officer found Mr. Rose guilty of B-202, possession of a controlled substance, because there was nothing disputing the charge on the conduct report. The sanctions imposed included ninety days of earned-credit-time deprivation and a credit class demotion.

         Mr. Rose appealed to the Facility Head and the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) Final Reviewing Authority, both of which were denied. He then brought this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         C. Analysis

         In his petition, Mr. Rose asserts three grounds to challenge his prison disciplinary conviction: (1) denial of exculpatory evidence; (2) due process violation due to incorrect case numbers on various forms; and (3) the boots he was issued were not compliant with IDOC policy. Dkt. 1. The respondent has construed Mr. Rose's third ground to be a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, and the Court will do so as well. The respondent argues that Mr. Rose's due process rights were not violated, typographical errors in a case number do not violate due process, and there is ...

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