United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Turner, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a habeas corpus
petition challenging a disciplinary hearing where a hearing
officer found him guilty of assaulting a staff member. ECF 1
at 1. As a result, he was sanctioned with the loss of 90 days
earned credit time. Id. He challenges his finding of
guilt on a number of grounds.
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, 536 (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. Even
“meager proof” is enough for a finding of guilt.
Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000).
As the reviewing court judge, I am “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).
was originally charged with and found guilty of assaulting
and causing bodily injury to staff in violation of IDOC
offense A-117. See Indiana Department of Correction,
Adult Disciplinary Process, Appendix I: Offenses (August 1,
2016). ECF 8-1 at 1, 8-15 at 2-3. On appeal, the Final
Reviewing Authority reduced Turner's offense from A-117
to B-212. ECF 8-14 at 1. IDOC offense B-212 prohibits inmates
from “[c]ommitting a battery/assault upon another
person without a weapon or inflicting bodily injury.”
See Appendix I, supra. ECF 8-15 at 5.
are the facts as they were set out by Sergeant Washington in
the conduct report that he drafted after the incident:
On the date of 10/04/2017 at approximately 6:13 [a]m. I Sgt.
J Washington was walking 100 West in DCH to put out a fire.
When I was about to leave the range Offender Turner Doc
#171836 Cell #118 thr[e]w two apples at me. One apple hit me
in the left arm and the second apple hit me on the left side
of my fo[re]head. When the second apple hit me in the head I
turn[ed] around to look at the cell number. [sic] Which is
118 West. Offender [T]urner then said to me “get
you're a** off this range”.
ECF 8-1 at 1. Shortly thereafter, Turner had a seizure. ECF
8-2 at 1.
October 6, 2017, Turner was notified of the charge when he
was served with the conduct and screening reports. ECF 8-1 at
1, 8-3 at 1. He pleaded not guilty and requested a lay
advocate. ECF 8-3 at 1, 8-4 at 1. During his screening, he
requested witness statements from offender Smith, Nurse
Jacqueline Monaco, and Officer M. Buckman. ECF 8-3 at 1.
Turner asked to view the prison's security video footage
of the incident. Id. And he also requested the
internal affairs staff to view the footage. Id.
October 10, 2017, the hearing officer reviewed the video
footage and wrote the following summary:
On the above date and approx. time of 6:13AM, it is still
pretty dark in the cell house. I do see that Sgt. J.
Washington is on the range and stops at cell D 118. Sgt. J.
Washington walks away from cell D 118 and offender Turner
throws something from his cell at Sgt. J. Washington. Sgt. J.
Washington turns back around, walks a few steps again and
stops and looks back towards the location of the incident.
Sgt. J. Washington walks to the front of the range.
ECF 8-6 at 1. The hearing officer denied Turner's request
for the internal affairs staff to review the video footage
because it was “redundant.” ECF 8-5 at 1. She
confirmed with the prison's medical staff that Turner was
taking prescribed anti-seizure medication. ECF 8-7 at 1.
witnesses provided written statements regarding the incident:
Officer Buckman wrote the following statement: “I Ofc.
M. Buckman was further down the range then [sic] Sgt.
Washington so I didn't see him get hit with a [sic]
apple.” ECF 8-11 at 1. Offender Sutton provided a
written statement even though Turner did not request one from
him. He stated:
I heard Mr. Turner telling the officer to quit harassing him
and get away from his cell. He repeated this several times
because the officer walked directly to his cell several times
after Mr. Turner was shook down. Never once did I hear Mr.
Turner threaten ...