United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
FREDERICK J. HEATH, Petitioner,
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON JUDGE
petition of Frederick J. Heath for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
IYC-17-01-0228 in which he was found guilty of possession of
a dangerous and/or deadly weapon. For the reasons explained
in this Entry, Mr. Heath's habeas petition must be
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).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
January 30, 2017, Correctional Officer J. Garrison wrote a
Report of Conduct that charged Mr. Heath with Class A offense
106, Possession of a Dangerous/Deadly Weapon. The Conduct
At approximately 3:05 P.M., I Officer J. Garrison was
conducting a walkthrough of South Dorm E-Unit and as I walked
past E3-04L I spotted a white laundry bag rolled up and
laying on the ground directly under the bunk. I inspected the
laundry bag and noted the presence of a solid object which
upon further inspection revealed a length of metal
approximately 5 inches in length with one end sharpened to a
point and the other end wrapped in plastic and string. The
laundry bag was marked as E4-06L. Offender Heath (#983366)
was questioned about the laundry bag and improvised weapon to
which he responded that he had no knowledge of the laundry
bag being under his bed and that he did not know who would
put it under his bunk.
Dkt. 8-1, (Exhibit A, Conduct Report). The weapon was
confiscated and photographed. See dkt. 8-2 (Exhibit B, Notice
of Confiscated Property) and 8-3 (Exhibit C, photograph of
DOC's Disciplinary Code for Adult Offenders defines
possession as follows:
POSSESSION: On one's person, in one's quarters, in
one's locker or under one's physical control. For the
purposes of these procedures, offenders are presumed
to be responsible for any property, prohibited
property or contraband that is located on their person,
within their cell or within areas of their housing, work,
educational or vocational assignment that are under
their control. Areas under an offender's
control include, but are not limited to: the door
track, window ledge, ventilation unit, plumbing and the
offender's desk, cabinet/locker, shelving, storage
area, bed and bedding materials in his/her housing
assignment and the desk, cubicle, work station and
locker in his/her work, educational or vocational assignment.
Dkt. 8-9 (Exhibit I, DOC Policy) (emphasis added).
Heath was notified of the charge on February 1, 2017, when he
received the screening report. He plead not guilty to the
charge. He did not request any witnesses or physical
hearing was held on February 4, 2017. Mr. Heath's comment
was recorded by the hearing officer as: “I didn't
have no knowledge it was there I was at work. I was in there
for probably 5 minutes after work when this happened, I was
only in the dorm for 10 days when this was found.” Dkt.
1-6 (report of disciplinary hearing). Based on Mr.
Heath's statement, the photograph, confiscation slip, and
conduct report, the hearing officer found Mr. Heath guilty of
possession of a dangerous and/or deadly weapon. The sanctions
imposed included an earned credit time deprivation of 180
days, demotion from Credit Class 1 to Credit Class 2, and
imposition of a sanction (90-day deprivation of credit time)
from REF 16-10-0013. Dkt. 8-6 (Exhibit F, Report of
Heath appealed to the Facility Head and the Indiana
Department of Correction (DOC) Final Reviewing Authority.
Both appeals were denied. He then brought this petition for a