United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING EVIDENTIARY HEARING, DENYING
PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE
petition of Eugene Bowers for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
WVD 16-01-0084. For the reasons explained in this Entry,
Mr. Bowers's habeas petition must be
Findings of Fact
disciplinary action that underlies Mr. Bowers's habeas
petition began with a January 19, 2016 Conduct Report, in
which Matthew Siekkiner charged Mr. Bowers with threatening -
B213. The Conduct Report states:
On 1-15-2016 at approximately 2:25 pm, Offender Bowers was in
session in FHU Retherm. He became frustrated due to being
denied transfer to CCU via mental health. At which point he
stated, “You don't understand, with the way things
are going they ‘officers' will put hands on me.
Then I will have to kill a mother fucker.[”] Dkt. 6-1.
Bowers previously filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus
in Bowers v. Brown, 2:16-cv-148-JMS-MJD, challenging
the disciplinary proceedings in WVD 16-01-0084. In that
petition, Mr. Bowers stated that he did not receive written
notice of the charges at least twenty-four hours before the
disciplinary hearing. The respondent vacated the sanctions on
March 6, 2017, subject to rehearing. Id., dkt. 13-1.
The Court dismissed the petition as moot on March 9, 2017,
after the respondent filed a motion to dismiss. Id.,
dkt. 13; dkt. 14. After the Court's dismissal of Mr.
Bowers's initial petition, the Indiana Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) began disciplinary
proceedings related to WVD 16-01-0084 anew, which are
The Disciplinary Proceeding
March 2017, Officer Shaye Byers was the conduct adjustment
board screening officer at New Castle Correctional Facility
(New Castle). As screening officer, Officer Byers
reviews the conduct reports with the offenders, explains the
charges, notifies the offenders of their rights, determines
whether the offenders want to call any witnesses or present
any evidence, obtains their pleas, and notifies offenders of
the date of the disciplinary hearing. The IDOC has a screening
checklist that the screening officer uses during screening.
Ex. 2, p. 7. The purpose of the checklist is to ensure
that the screening officer follows the screening guidelines.
When screening is completed, the screening officer gives the
checklist to the hearing officer.
March 8, 2017, Sgt. Logan escorted Mr. Bowers into a
conference room at New Castle. Officer Byers was in the room
when Mr. Bowers arrived. Mr. Bowers sat down, and Officer Byers
immediately notified him of the order issued on March 6, 2017
by J. Lyttle vacating the sanctions imposed in WVD 16-01-0084
and setting the matter for a rehearing. Ex. 1, p. 8;
Bowers v. Brown, 2:16-cv-148-JMS-MJD, dkt. 13-1.
Although Mr. Bowers had previously read the letter from
Lyttle, he stated he was not going to sign the document and
directed Officer Byers's attention to the entry issued by
this Court that dismissed the first disciplinary proceedings
as moot when the IDOC vacated the sanctions. Officer Byers
refused to read the Court's entry. Officer Byers then
read each conduct report to Mr. Bowers.
at some point in the screening process, Mr. Bowers stopped
Officer Byers and refused to proceed with screening. Mr.
Bowers again refused to sign the document setting the matter
for rehearing, so Officer Byers told him to leave. Officer
Byers wrote on each conduct report that Mr. Bowers refused
screening. Ex. 2, p. 2. Officer Byers also wrote on the
screening report that Mr. Bowers refused screening. Ex. 2, p.
3. Sgt. Logan signed next to where Officer Byers wrote
“refused.” Id. In the box where the
offender's signature is to appear, Officer Byers also
wrote “refused” and Sgt. Logan's signature
appears below that. Id. Copies of the screening
report and conduct report are sent back with the offender
once the screening process is over. If the offender is
restrained, it is Officer Byers's habit to send the
papers back with the escorting officer.
Bowers's screening checklist in WVD 16-01-0084, Officer
Byers verified Mr. Bowers's name and IDOC number. Ex. 2,
p. 7. She circled “no” to the question
“Does the offender wish to be screened[.]”
Id. Then for the next seven questions that followed,
Officer Byers wrote “refused to be screened.”
Bowers states that he never received the conduct report or
screening report relating to disciplinary proceeding WVD
16-01-0084 and was never given an opportunity to sign them.
Ex. 2, pp. 2-3. Mr. Bowers also states he never received a
copy of the notices of lay advocate or witness. Ex. 2, p. 4.
Mr. Bowers states that he did not refuse to sign these
disciplinary hearing was held on March 15, 2017, for both WVD
16-01-0084 and WVD 16-01-0085. IDOC employees, Officers
Nickoe Rucker and Donald Taylor, arrived at Mr. Bowers's
cell on March 15, 2017 to escort him to the disciplinary
hearing. They instructed him to cuff up and he told them he
was not leaving his cell. Officers Rucker and Taylor signed
the report of disciplinary hearing which stated that Mr.
Bowers refused to attend the disciplinary hearing. Dkt. 6-5.
A hearing was held in Mr. Bowers's absence and he was
found guilty of threatening in WVD 16-01-0084. Id.
Thompson joined Officers Rucker and Taylor on March 15, 2017,
to escort Mr. Bowers to his disciplinary hearing. Mr. Bowers
refused to leave his cell. Officer Thompson signed the bottom
of the report of disciplinary hearing which stated that Mr.
Bowers refused to attend the disciplinary hearing.
Id. IDOC staff do not force an offender to attend a
disciplinary hearing was held on March 17, 2017. Based on the
staff reports, the hearing officer found Mr. Bowers guilty of
threatening. The grievous sanctions imposed included 90 days
of earned credit-time ...