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Taylor v. Brown

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

February 1, 2019

DEMETRIUS D. TAYLOR, Petitioner,
v.
RICHARD BROWN, Respondent.

          ORDER GRANTING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Senior Judge

         The petition of Correctional Industrial Facility inmate Demetrius Taylor for a writ of habeas corpus challenges Indiana prison disciplinary proceeding number WVD 17-10-0180. For the reasons explained in this Order, Mr. Taylor's habeas petition is granted.

         A. Overview

         Prisoners in Indiana custody may not be deprived of good-time credits or of credit-earning class without due process. Ellison v. Zatecky, 820 F.3d 271, 274 (7th Cir. 2016); Scruggs v. Jordan, 485 F.3d 934, 939 (7th Cir. 2007); see also Rhoiney v. Neal, 723 Fed.Appx. 347, 348 (7th Cir. 2018). The due process requirement is satisfied with: 1) advance written notice of the charge; 2) a limited opportunity to call witnesses and present evidence to an impartial decision-maker; 3) a written statement articulating the reasons for the disciplinary action and the evidence justifying it; and 4) “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); see also Jones v. Cross, 637 F.3d 841, 845 (7th Cir. 2011) (same for federal inmates).

         B. The Disciplinary Proceeding

         On October 26, 2017, Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) Investigator J. Raney wrote a conduct report charging Mr. Taylor with a violation of codes A 111/113 (conspiracy, attempting, aiding or abetting/trafficking.) The conduct report provides:

On 10/11/2017, during an interview in the Office of Investigations, Aramark worker, M. Willard did admit that he had brought contraband into the facility (ie., cell phones, K-2, K-2 spray and tobacco). Mr. Willard did admit that Offender Taylor received some of the contraband, specifically cell phones and K-2 (green leafy substance).
Due to Mr. Willard admitting to a felony charge of trafficking, I find him (Willard) to be creditable.[1]

         Dkt. 16-1.

         A report of investigation of incident was prepared on October 26, 2017. The report provides:

On 10/11/2017, Aramark worker, M. Willard was brought to OII for questioning. Mr. Willard did admit that he had trafficked contraband into the facility on several occasions. Mr. Willard did admit that he had brought cell phones, K-2, K-2 spray and tobacco and that Offender Taylor had received some of these items, specifically cell phones and K-2 (green leafy substance).
I do find Mr. Willard to be creditable as he implicated and admitted to a felony charge of trafficking.

         Dkt. 16-1, at 2.

         Mr. Taylor was notified of the charge on October 27, 2017, when he received the Screening Report. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. He did not request a lay advocate. Mr. Taylor indicated that he wanted to call witnesses and requested physical evidence. In support of these requests, he attached a list of questions, ...


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