United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
MELISSA K. COLLINS, Petitioner,
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
R. SWEENEY II, JUDGE
petition of Melissa Collins for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as
number IWP 18-02-0123. For the reasons explained in this
Order, Ms. Collins's petition for a writ of habeas corpus
must be denied.
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. App'x
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
February 20, 2018, Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC)
Investigator Bonnie Russell filed a Report of Conduct that
charged Ms. Collins with Engaging in Unauthorized Financial
Transaction, a violation of the IDOC Adult Disciplinary
Process offense B-220. Dkt. 9-1.
Conduct Report provides:
On 2/1/18 the investigations office, Investigator Bonnie
Russell received a letter to a Melissa Collins 216933 who is
currently housed at IWP. In the letter it contained a letter
from an Attorney written for another offender, Shea Terry
260532. After reviewing the letter, evidence in the case, and
interviewing offender it was determined offender Melissa
Collins was engaging in unauthorized financial transactions
by writing and submitting a Request for Remittance from
another offender's account, rather [sic] or not the
offender allowed her to do this or not. See Report of
Investigation of Incident for more detail.
Collins was notified of the charge on February 23, 2018. Dkt.
9-4. She pled not guilty, requested a lay advocate, two
witnesses, and camera footage. Id.
hearing officer (“DHO”) conducted the
disciplinary hearing on March 13, 2018. Dkt. 9-7. Ms.
Collins's comment was, “Ignorance is not an excuse.
I didn't tell her not to do it. I beg you please just
give me a chance.” Id. The video summary
provides: “Camera footage has no bearing in this case.
Conduct report was written based on I&I investigation.
Offender Collins, Melissa # 216933 did not state to this
writer what she wants the footage to show. The above offender
also did not provide the date and time of video footage to be
reviewed.” Dkt. 9-8. Erin Bryant, one of Ms.
Collins's requested witnesses, gave a written statement
that “Ms. Collins informed me . . . that Shenae Terry
offered to provide her financial means for a lawyer. Collins
shared that she accepted the money . . . .” Dkt. 9-9.
Ms. Collins's other requested witness, Mr. Medvescek,
also provided a written statement that “Offender
Collins states that she was not aware it was against policy
to accept money from an offender.” Dkt. 9-10.
considered staff reports, Ms. Collins's statement, and
the Report of Investigation, dkt. 9-2, and found Ms. Collins
guilty of the offense. Dkt. 9-7. The DHO wrote that
“Offender did admit to discussing the financial
transaction with Offender. The money was sent in order to
assist with Collins modification by Terry, which is a