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Carrico v. Zatecky

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

May 9, 2019

MICHAEL CARRICO, Petitioner,
v.
D. ZATECKY, Respondent.

          ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          HON. WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, SENIOR JUDGE

         Michael Carrico's petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenges his conviction in a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as ISR 18-01-0054. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Carrico's petition must be denied.

         I. 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).

         II. The Disciplinary Proceeding

         ISR 18-01-0054 was based on the following conduct report drafted on January 5, 2018, by Officer D. Davis:

On 1/5/18 at aprox 930AM I Ofc. D. Davis was searching Offender Carrico, Michael # 106495 / 21 / 4r's property. In my search of this offenders property i OFC Davis did find hidden in his cooler a black Samsung cell phone along with charger and cord.

Dkt. 11-1.

         Officer Davis completed an Evidence Record documenting that the phone, charger, and cord were delivered to Internal Affairs (IA) on January 5. Dkt. 7-2. The Evidence Record does not document who received these items or at what time they were received. The phone, charger, and cord were all photographed with the Evidence Record. Id. Officer Davis also completed a Notice of Confiscated Property documenting that the cell phone, charger, and cord were confiscated and forwarded to IA because they were not permitted. Dkt. No. 11-3.

         On January 22, 2018, Mr. Carrico received a screening report notifying him that he had been charged with possession of a cellular device in violation of Code A-121 of the Indiana Department of Correction's (IDOC) Adult Disciplinary Process. Dkt. No. 11-4. Mr. Carrico signed the screening report and did not request to call any witnesses or present any physical evidence. Id.

         Mr. Carrico was found guilty at a disciplinary hearing on January 30, 2018. Dkt. No. 11-7. The hearing report indicates that the hearing officer reviewed staff reports, Mr. Carrico's statement, and the photographs of the phone, charger, and cord with the Evidence Record. Id. The hearing officer found Mr. Carrico guilty based on a preponderance of the evidence. Id. The sanctions against Mr. Carrico included a written reprimand; 45 days' loss of phone, kiosk, and commissary privileges; six months' confinement to disciplinary restrictive housing; the imposition of a previously suspended sanction of six months' confinement to disciplinary restrictive housing; 180 days' earned credit time deprivation; and demotion from credit class 1 to credit class 2. Id.

         Mr. Carrico unsuccessfully appealed his disciplinary conviction to the facility head and to the final reviewing authority. See Dkt. Nos. 11-8, 11-9, 11-10.

         III. Analysis

         Mr. Carrico asserts five challenges against his disciplinary conviction. Before addressing those challenges on the merits, the Court finds it helpful to clarify the scope of this ...


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