United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
petition of David Paterson for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as NCF
16-12-0030. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr.
Paterson's habeas petition must be
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
December 5, 2016, Correctional Officer Carter issued a Report
of Conduct charging Mr. Paterson with a violation of Code
B-202, Possession of a Controlled Substance. Dkt. 10-1. The
Report of Conduct states:
On the above date and approx. time I, Ofc. B. Carter,
conducted a search of RHU-105 (assigned to Ofd. Paterson,
David #260210) and found inside the offender[‘s]
deodorant a piece of brown paper towel (rolled in a manner
consistent with a cigarette) containing an unidentified brown
flaky substance. This officer brought the substance in
question to Internal Affairs, where Investigator Williams
tested it and found it positive for meth-amphetamine (.090 oz
by weight). The substance and the chemical test were
photographed in Internal Affairs, and the offender is aware
of this Disciplinary Action. E.O.R.
Id. Mr. Paterson was notified of the charge on
December 6, 2016, when he was served with the Report of
Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing (Screening
Report). Dkt. 10-1; dkt. 10-2. Mr. Paterson refused
screening. Dkt. 10-2.
hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on December
8, 2016. Dkt. 10-4. The hearing officer noted Mr.
Paterson's statement, “I wanted this tested in a
lab. It is a banana peal [sic] dried.” (capitalization
modified). Id. The Hearing Officer determined that
Mr. Paterson had violated Code B-202 based on the staff
reports, Mr. Paterson's statement, and other physical
evidence. Id. The sanctions imposed included the
deprivation of two days of earned credit time and the
imposition of a suspended demotion in earned credit class
from a prior disciplinary conviction. Id.
Paterson filed an appeal to the Facility Head and the Final
Review Authority. Dkt. 1 at 1, 2. Both appeals were denied.
Dkt. 10-5; dkt. 10-6. Mr. Paterson then brought this petition
for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Paterson presents two challenges to his disciplinary hearing
and subsequent finding of guilt. First, Mr. Paterson asserts
that the hearing officer's determination is not supported
by sufficient evidence. Dkt. 1 at 3. Secondly, Mr. Paterson
challenges the respondent's denial of his request to have
the substance in question retested at a laboratory.
Sufficiency of Evidence
to the sufficiency of the evidence are governed by the
“some evidence” standard. “[A] hearing
officer's decision need only rest on ‘some
evidence' logically supporting it and demonstrating that
the result is not arbitrary.” Ellison, 820
F.3d at 274; see Eichwedel v. Chandler, 696 F.3d
660, 675 (7th Cir. 2012) (“The some evidence standard .
. . is satisfied if there is any evidence in the record that
could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary
board.”) (citation and quotation marks omitted). The
“some evidence” standard is much more lenient
than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.
Moffat v. Broyles, 288 F.3d 978, 981 ...