United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
petition of Mark Casper for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No.
CIC 17-04-0276. For the reasons explained in this Order, Mr.
Casper's habeas petition must be denied.
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) the issuance of at least 24 hours 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); see also Wolff v. McDonnell, 418
U.S. 539, 563-67 (1974).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
April 26, 2017, Investigator Poer wrote a Conduct Report
charging Mr. Casper with A-113, trafficking. Dkt. 9-1. The
Conduct Report states:
On 1/10/2017 an investigation into Trafficking with an
offender was initiated on offender Casper, Mark 115399
3L-1DRH. I, Inv. J. Poer, reviewed video and phone records
regarding offender Casper. I have determined that offender
Casper did receive a contraband controlled substance from
visitor Pamela Brian. On 1/6/17 Pamela Brian came to visit
offender Casper here at CIF. Brian carried a package
containing a contraband controlled substance through the
facility search procedures and into the visiting room. Brian
can be viewed on camera removing the package from her mouth
and hiding it inside the sleeve of her shirt. Brian removes
the package from her sleeve and passes it to Casper during
the initial embrace at the start of the visit. Phone calls on
the recorded system support the fact that Casper and Brian
are trafficking in controlled substances. Please refer to
confidential case file 17-CIC-0018 for additional details
concerning the investigation.
Casper was notified of the charge on May 3, 2017, when he
received the Screening Report. He pleaded not guilty to the
charge and did not wish to have a lay advocate. Dkt. 9-2. He
requested a witness statement from Sgt. Williams as to
whether Sgt. Williams found anything on Mr. Casper.
Id. He also requested video evidence to show that
Ms. Brian did not pass any contraband during the initial
embrace when she came to visit. Id. Mr. Casper's
request for video evidence was marked as “denied -
already listed as evidence.” Id. The
disciplinary hearing board did not provide Mr. Casper with a
copy of the video prior to his hearing. See dkt. 1
at 3. Sgt. Williams prepared a statement that “[he did]
not recall this situation.” Dkt. 9-3.
Court reviewed the video, which was submitted ex
parte. Dkt. 12 (ex parte). The summary
set forth in the Conduct Report accurately summarizes the
video. Dkt. 9-1. Ms. Brian is seen sitting by herself on
camera for quite some time. At some point, Ms. Brian can
clearly be seen removing a package from her mouth and hiding
it inside the right sleeve of her long-sleeved shirt. Ms.
Brian then holds her right arm against her body and
alternates between placing her left hand inside the sleeve or
against her right arm over a visible bulge in her sleeve.
When Mr. Casper shows up in the visiting area, Ms. Brian can
be seen reaching into her right sleeve with her left hand to
retrieve the package. She then clasps her hands together
between her knees while waiting for Mr. Casper to approach.
When Mr. Casper first embraces Ms. Brian, Mr. Casper's
left hand can be seen reaching into the palm of Ms.
Brian's right hand, retrieving the package. Dkt. 12.
prison disciplinary hearing was held on May 24, 2017.
According to the notes from the hearing, Mr. Casper pleaded
guilty. Dkt. 9-4. Mr. Casper denies that he pleaded guilty.
Dkt. 1 at 4. He alleges there was a misunderstanding at the
hearing where Mr. Casper meant to plead guilty to the write
up for unauthorized financial transaction charge but not for
the trafficking charge. Dkt. 17. However, the hearing officer
thought that Mr. Casper pleaded guilty to both charges. Mr.
Casper does not deny that he signed the hearing report but
asserts that he signed the form through a food port and was
unable to see the entire form. He did not know about the
mistaken guilty plea until weeks later. Id.
on the staff reports and Mr. Casper's statement, the
hearing officer found Mr. Casper guilty of A-113,
trafficking. Dkt. 9-7. The sanctions imposed included 365
days of earned credit time deprivation and a credit class
Casper appealed to the Facility Head and the Indiana
Department of Correction (IDOC) Final Reviewing Authority,
both of which were denied. He then brought this petition for
a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.