United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON, JUDGE
Husband, a prisoner without a lawyer, seeks habeas corpus
relief from the finding of guilt in a prison disciplinary
hearing held at the Westville Correctional Facility. In
particular, a disciplinary hearing officer found Husband
guilty of engaging in an unauthorized financial transaction
in violation of Indiana Department of Correction policy
B-220. ECF 2 at 1. As a result, he was docked 60 days of
earned credit time and was demoted from Credit Class 1 to
Credit Class 2 which means he will accrue good time credits
at a slower rate going forward. Id.
Fourteenth Amendment guarantees prisoners certain procedural
due process rights in prison disciplinary hearings: (1)
advance written notice of the charges; (2) an opportunity to
be heard before an impartial decision-maker; (3) an
opportunity to call witnesses and present documentary
evidence in defense, when consistent with institutional
safety and correctional goals; and (4) a written statement by
the fact-finder of evidence relies on and the reasons for the
disciplinary action. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S.
539 (1974). To satisfy due process, there must also be
“some evidence” in the record to support the
guilty finding. Superintendent, Mass. Corr Inst. v.
Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455 (1985).
petition, Husband argues there are two grounds which entitle
him to relief: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support
the guilty finding; and (2) he was denied a witness
statement. ECF 2 at 2. In his traverse, Husband has abandoned
the second ground so nothing more needs to be said about
that. ECF 15-1 at 2. So the only issue is whether the hearing
officer had sufficient evidence to find him guilty.
context of a prison disciplinary hearing, “the relevant
question is whether there is any evidence in the record that
could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary
board.” Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445,
455-56 (1985). As one might well imagine, this is an
exceedingly low standard. Here's how the Seventh Circuit
has characterized the issue:
[T]he findings of a prison disciplinary board [need only]
have the support of some evidence in the record. This is a
lenient standard, requiring no more than a modicum of
evidence. Even meager proof will suffice, so long as the
record is not so devoid of evidence that the findings of the
disciplinary board were without support or otherwise
arbitrary. Although some evidence is not much, it still must
point to the accused's guilt. It is not our province to
assess the comparative weight of the evidence underlying the
disciplinary board's decision.
Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000)
(quotation marks, citations, parenthesis, and ellipsis
this standard, my review is a light one. The Seventh Circuit
tells me that “In reviewing a decision for some
evidence, courts are not required to conduct an examination
of the entire record, independently assess witness
credibility, or weigh the evidence, but only determine
whether the prison disciplinary board's decision to
revoke good time credits has some factual basis.”
McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir.
1999) (quotations marks and citation omitted). Thus, if there
is “some” evidence - even a meager amount -
supporting the finding of guilt, my inquiry ends. “The
Federal Constitution does not require evidence that logically
precludes any conclusion but the one reached by the
disciplinary board.” Superintendent v. Hill,
472 U.S. 445, 457 (1985). Therefore, “once the court
has found the evidence reliable, its inquiry ends - it should
not look further to see whether other evidence in the record
may have suggested an opposite conclusion.” Viens
v. Daniels, 871 F.2d 1328, 1335 (7th Cir. 1989).
Husband was found guilty of violating IDOC offense B-220,
which prohibits inmates from “[e]ngaging in or
possessing materials used for unauthorized financial
transactions. This includes, but is not limited to, the use
or possession of identifying information of credit cards,
debit cards, or any other card used to complete a financial
transaction.” Adult Disciplinary Process, Appendix I.
22, 2016, Investigator Kenneva Mapps prepared a Conduct
This Office received a complaint from the Indiana State
On 5/5/2016, this Investigator discovered that Offender
Jamaal Husband 136190 was engaging in unauthorized financial
transactions with a person who was not an offender residing
at the same facility, with the help of a civilian.
For additional information refer to Report of Investigation.
ECF 8-1 at 1. Here's what the Report of Investigation