United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. MILLER, JR. JUDGE
William Romine, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a habeas
corpus petition challenging a disciplinary hearing (WCC
17-06-160) in which a disciplinary hearing officer found him
guilty of possession or use of a controlled substance in
violation of Indiana Department of Correction policy B-202 on
July 28, 2017. He lost 60 days of earned credit time. The
Warden has filed the administrative record and Mr. Romine
filed a traverse, so this case is fully briefed.
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 relied 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).
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.” Supt. v. Hill, 472 U.S. at 455-456.
“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) (quotation marks omitted).
[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
Romine was found guilty of possessing a controlled substance
in violation of IDOC policy B-202, which prohibits inmates
from “[p]ossession or use of any unauthorized substance
controlled pursuant to the laws of the State of Indiana or
the United States Code or possession of drug
paraphernalia.” Indiana Department of Correction, Adult
Disciplinary Process: Appendix I.
Conduct Report charged Mr. Romine as follows:
On June 4, 2017 at approximately 9:50 a.m. I, Lieutenant
Eakins was conducting a random shakedown of N2-W1-Room 13.
During the search I located an orange substance on the window
sill wrapped in plastic. The substance is consistent with
Suboxone. It was located under a small rock. The room was
occupied at the time of the shakedown by Offender Romine and
Offender Flory, Andrew #263129.
ECF 5-1 at 1.
Andrew Flory said this about the incident:
All I really know is we were both there for only 2 days and
they found [S]ubox[one] in the window. I know it wasn't
mine. So [I'm] assuming it was not [Romine's] either.
ECF 5-3 at 1. Sergeant Sulich also provided a statement:
“Conduct Report stands as written.” ECF 5-4 at 1.
hearing officer reviewed the security video of the incident