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Bush v. Knight

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

March 5, 2019

ANTHONY BUSH, Petitioner,
WENDY KNIGHT Warden, Respondent.



          The petition of Anthony Bush (“Mr. Bush”) for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. CIC 18-05-0065. For the reasons explained in this Order, Mr. Bush's habeas petition must be 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) 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).

         B. The Disciplinary Proceeding

         On April 28, 2018, Sergeant L. Bryant wrote a Conduct Report charging Mr. Bush with A-102, assault with a weapon. Dkt. 9-1. The Conduct Report states:

On 4/28/2018 at approx. 2:50 AM an assault with a deadly weapon occurred to another offender in the 1 range left hand bathroom. Upon review of the camera it was observed that Offender Bush, Anthony 228485 11B-1B was seen entering this bathroom and was the only other offender in this bathroom at the time of the assault. Offender Bush was observed pulling a sharpened piece of metal from his pants before entering the bathroom, entering the bathroom and quickly leaving the bathroom shortly after the time of the assault. Because Offender Bush was in possession of this home made weapon and it was used to assault another offender[, ] Offender Bush violated code 102 assault with a deadly weapon.

Dkt. 9-1. As physical evidence, Sergeant Bryant noted “Camera Left B-Unit Time stamp 2:50 AM.” Id. A picture of the sharpened piece of metal was taken. Id. at 2.

         Mr. Bush was notified of the charge on May 5, 2018, when he received the Screening Report. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and requested a lay advocate, “Dickson.” Dkt. 9-2 at 1. Mr. Bush requested a witness statement from another inmate, “Kalif, ” asking “where was I.” Id. The form noted that Mr. Bush was requesting Mustafa Khalif (“Mr. Khalif”), DOC No. 267155, as a witness. As physical evidence, Mr. Bush requested camera evidence on April 28, 2018, between 2:45 am and 2:56 am to show that he did not stab anyone or have a sharp piece of metal. Id. A lay advocate was later provided to Mr. Bush. Dkt. 9-2 at 2. Mr. Khalif also provided a witness statement that, “[Mr. Bush] was in my room the whole night talking to me and my room[m]ate.” Dkt. 9-3 at 4.

         The disciplinary hearing board determined that allowing Mr. Bush to view the video recorded evidence would jeopardize the safety and security of the facility, so a summary of the video recording was prepared. Dkt. 9-3 at 2. The video summary stated:

I, Sgt. J. Pardue, reviewed the video footage for case number: CIC 18-05-0065. During the video review offender Bush #228485 can be seen reaching into his pants and pulling an item out. He then quickly enters the restroom. The offender can be seen exiting the restroom area very quickly.

Id. The Court reviewed the video, which was submitted ex parte. Dkt. 13 (ex parte). The video summary prepared by the disciplinary hearing board accurately summarizes the video. Id.

         The prison disciplinary hearing was held on May 16, 2018. According to the notes from the hearing, Mr. Bush stated, “I was in the bathroom but before that I was in Khalif's room. I went to the restroom because I was trying to avoid staff because I wasn't supposed to be out.” Dkt. 9-3 at 1. Based on the staff reports, Mr. Bush' statement, the witness statement, the physical evidence, and the video evidence, the hearing officer found Mr. Bush guilty of A-102, assault with a weapon. Dkt. 9-3 at 1. The hearing officer noted that the “witness statement and Bush statement conflict. Video shows Bush going in restroom pulling an item out off his person.” Id. The sanctions imposed included 180 days of earned credit time deprivation and a credit class demotion. Id.

         Mr. Bush 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 ...

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