United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge [*]
Niccum, an inmate in the Indiana Department of Corrections
(IDOC), petitions for the reversal of the disciplinary
sanctions he received in IDOC proceeding number IYC
17-08-0130 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Niccum was
found guilty of assault and battery while he was incarcerated
at the Plainfield Correctional Facility. His petition, for
the reasons explained below, is denied.
prisoners may not be deprived of credit time, Cochran v.
Buss, 381 F.3d 637, 639 (7th Cir. 2004), or of
credit-earning class, Montgomery v. Anderson, 262
F.3d 641, 644-45 (7th Cir. 2001), without some due process of
the law. See Superintendent, Mass. Corr. Inst. v.
Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985). These due process
protections include: 1) advanced written notice of the
charges; 2) an opportunity to call witnesses and present
documentary evidence in his defense; 3) a written statement
by the factfinder of the evidence relied on and the reasons
for the disciplinary action; and 4) a disciplinary decision
that is supported by “some evidence.”
Id. (citing Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S.
539, 563-67 (1974)); see also Piggie v. Cotton, 344
F.3d 674 (7th Cir. 2003).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
10, 2017, Niccum was charged, in a conduct report written by
Investigator C. Feldkamp, with “Class A” offense
“conspiracy to commit assault and battery causing
serious damage (111A/102A).” ECF No. 10-2. Feldkamp
investigated an altercation that Niccum participated in.
Id. Feldkamp reported that, after the altercation,
Niccum had injuries on his person which were consistent with
being in an altercation. Id. He also reported that
Niccum was uncooperative with investigators and denied being
in an altercation; rather, he asserted that he attained the
injuries from a fall. Id. A confidential incident
report attached to the conduct report indicated that, after
Niccum was taken for medical treatment for his injuries, the
remaining inmates on his unit were physically examined. ECF
No. 12-1. During this examination, it was discovered that
another inmate had marks visible and consistent with an
assault. Id. During questioning, the other inmate
stated he was involved in an altercation with Niccum due to
Niccum owing him money and that Niccum may have hit the
corner of the urinal during the altercation. Id.
August 15, 2017, the prison served Niccum with a copy of his
conduct report and a notice of disciplinary hearing
(screening report). ECF No. 10-3. He pleaded not guilty and
requested a lay advocate. Id. Though Niccum did not
request any witnesses or physical evidence, he did ask for
his medical records and to review the confidential report.
August 20, 2017 disciplinary hearing, the hearing officer
found Niccum guilty of the “Class B” offense
“assault and battery (212B).” ECF No. 10-5. The
officer found Niccum guilty of the “Class B”
offense “assault and battery (212B).”
Id. The officer based his decision on the staff
report, Niccum's statement, the medical records, and the
confidential report. Id. The hearing officer imposed
sanctions of sixty (60) days loss of good time credit and a
demotion of credit class from Class 1 to Class 2.
appealed the disciplinary hearing. ECF No. 10-6. He argued
that there was insufficient evidence to support guilt.
Id. He also argued that he requested video tape
evidence and was told it did not exist, despite another
officer informing him that the investigator had reviewed the
video during the investigation. Id.
appeal was denied on September 5, 2017. The facility head
found that the evidence and documentation supported the
hearing officer's decision and sanctions. Id.
Niccum appealed this decision. ECF No. 10-7. On November 30,
2017, the appeal review officer denied the appeal.
Id. The officer found no procedural or due process
error and found sufficient evidence supported the decision.
January 2, 2018, Niccum filed this petition for writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. ECF No. 2.
On January 10, 2018, Respondent was ordered to show cause as
to why relief should not be granted. ECF No. 6. On March 29,
2018, Respondent filed his return on the order to show cause,
asking that the petition be denied. ECF No. 10. Although
Niccum was given twenty-eight days to file a response to the
return, he failed, even to this day, to do so.
alleges that his due process rights were violated because
there was insufficient evidence, and because he was denied
video evidence and the opportunity to call witnesses.
first to his claim that he was denied the opportunity to call
witnesses, this claim fails for at least three reasons.
First, Niccum failed to exhaust his administrative remedies
on this ground. Before a federal court may grant habeas
relief, a prisoner must first exhaust his state remedies,
which requires the inmate to give the state an opportunity to
act on his claims before he presents them to a federal court
in a habeas petition. O'Sullivan v. Boerckel,
526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999); see also 28 U.S.C. §
2254(b)(1)(A). In order to exhaust his administrative
remedies, a prisoner must have presented each claim he seeks
to raise in his federal habeas petition at each level of the
prison disciplinary appeals process. Moffat v.
Broyles, 288 F.3d 978, 981-82 (7th Cir. 2002) (citing
O'Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 838). Respondent argues
that during his appeal, Niccum only raised claims of
insufficient evidence and being denied video evidence.
Respondent's argument is supported by Niccum's
appellate documents, which only show ...