United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON JUDGE.
Buggs, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a habeas corpus
petition challenging a disciplinary hearing (ISP 18-02-71)
where a disciplinary hearing officer found him guilty of
unauthorized possession of property in violation of Indiana
Department of Correction (IDOC) policy B-215 on February 12,
2018. ECF 1 at 1. He was sanctioned with the loss of 30 days
earned credit time. Id. The Warden has filed the
administrative record and Buggs has filed a traverse. Thus
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.” Hill, 472 U.S. at 455-56. “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
Buggs was found guilty of violating IDOC offense B-215 which
prohibits inmates from “[u]nauthorized possession,
destruction, alteration, damage to, or theft of
property.” Indiana Department of Correction, Adult
Disciplinary Process, Appendix I:
(January 1, 2018). ECF 5-11 at 1. Officer Brown wrote a
conduct report charging Buggs as follows:
On 2-8-18 at approx. 0915 I Ofc. D. Brown was conducting a
search at ¶ 46, during this search I found 2 bags of ice
mixed with street salt in a foam cooler, [n]ext to cabinet.
Also, upon this search I found a jug with floor wax in it.
This cube belongs to offender Buggs Doc #147484. Offender
Buggs is receiving a 215 unauthorized possession conduct
ECF 5-1 at 1.
February 9, 2018. Buggs was notified of the charge when he
was served with the conduct and screening reports. ECF 5-1 at
1, 5-4 at 1. During screening, he did not request any
witnesses. ECF 5-4 at 1. However, he did ask to view the
prison's security video footage. Id. The hearing
officer reviewed the video footage and provided the following
Video review shows cube F W46 being shaken down as stated in
CR. Due to camera positioning, it is unclear the contents of
items, however at one point it appears the jug (as seen in
still photo) is removed from cube. Anything else removed is
ECF 5-6 at 1.
hearing officer held Buggs's disciplinary hearing on
February 12, 2018. ECF 5-7 at 1. At the hearing, the hearing
officer recorded Buggs's statement: “The container
was empty. Possibly back wash. Was no salt in bags.”
Id. However, on the basis of staff reports, the
notice of confiscated property form-listing the items found
in Buggs's cube-along with a photo ...