United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ROBERT K. DECKER, Petitioner,
J. E. KRUEGER, Respondent.
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE
1, 2018, petitioner Robert K. Decker filed his petition for
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
challenging a disciplinary proceeding that commenced with
Incident Report No. 3019959. As directed, the respondent
filed an amended return to order to show cause on October 11,
2018, dkt. 19, and Mr. Decker replied on November 30, 2018,
dkt. 22, and January 8, 2019, dkt. 25.
reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Decker's habeas
petition must be denied.
inmates must be afforded due process before any of their good
time credits-in which they have a liberty interest-can be
revoked.” Jones v. Cross, 637 F.3d 841, 845
(7th Cir. 2011). “In the context of a prison
disciplinary hearing, due process requires that the prisoner
receive (1) written notice of the claimed violation at least
24 hours before hearing; (2) an opportunity to call witnesses
and present documentary evidence (when consistent with
institutional safety) to an impartial decision-maker; and (3)
a written statement by the fact-finder of the evidence relied
on and the reasons for the disciplinary action.”
Id.; see also Superintendent, Mass. Corr. Inst.
v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985); Wolff v.
McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 570-71 (1974). In addition,
“some evidence” must support the guilty finding.
Ellison v. Zatecky, 820 F.3d 271, 274 (7th Cir.
2016); Jones, 637 F.3d at 845.
The Disciplinary Proceeding Regarding Incident Report
D. Clark prepared Incident Report No. 3019959 on August 9,
2017, charging Mr. Decker with a violation of Code 297, Phone
Abuse. The Incident Report stated as follows:
On 8/9/17, at 12:24 p.m., I was in A1 unit looking for an
inmate when I observed inmate Decker, Robert, reg. no.
#51719-074, using the telephone in A-1. Inmate Decker lost
his phone privileges due to being a Public Safety Factor of
Phone Abuse. After observing him on the phone, I then went to
my office and pulled up TruLinks and listened to phone calls
around the time I saw him on the phone. I heard his voice on
a phone call listed to inmate [redacted]. During this phone
call, he asked the person he was talking to to place a 3-way
call to another phone number, [redacted] who he stated was
his wife [redacted]. That phone number is listed on Inmate
[redacted] account also. The phone number he called was
[redacted] and is listed as friend as the relationship. The
phone call was from 12:22 to 12:25 pm.
Dkt. 19-4 at 1.
Incident Report was delivered to Mr. Decker and he was
verbally advised of his rights on August 9, 2017.
Id. The Unit Disciplinary Committee referred the
charge to the Discipline Hearing Officer (DHO) due to the
severity of the charge. Id. Mr. Decker signed the
Inmate Rights at Discipline Hearing form and the Notice of
Discipline Hearing Before the DHO on August 14, 2017. Dkt.
19-5 at 4, 5.
September 7, 2017, DHO Bradley held an Institution Discipline
Hearing for Incident Report No. 3019959. Mr. Decker was
verbally advised of his rights, was offered a staff
representative, and was also advised he could request
witnesses. He requested a staff representative, and one was
appointed. Mr. Decker called no witnesses. Dkt. 19-5 at 1.
Mr. Decker stated to the investigating lieutenant, “I
went around the system because I was supposed to come off
phone restriction and they have not removed me from the
restriction list. I tried to talk to unit team and they blew
me off. I am going to do what I need to do.” Dkt. 19-5
at 2. At the hearing, Mr. Decker stated, “I should
[sic] been off phone restriction. No. one would let me use
the phone. I don't care what you do I'm going to keep
using other inmate's phone.” Dkt. 19-5 at 1.
hearing, the DHO found that Mr. Decker had violated Code 297,
Phone Abuse, and the following disciplinary sanctions were
imposed: disallowance of 27 days good time credit, 90 days
loss of visitation, and a $25.00 monetary fine. Dkt. 19-5 at
3. The findings were based on the following evidence: the
Incident Report, staff memorandum, Mr. Decker's own
statements, and his disciplinary history of phone abuse. Dkt.
19-5 at 2. The DHO issued the report on October 13, 2017, and
it was delivered to Mr. Decker on October 19, 2017.
Id. at 3.
Decker argues that his due process rights were violated
during the disciplinary proceedings. His claims are construed
as follows: 1) he was sanctioned twice for one incident; 2)
he was fined in violation of his equal protection rights
because inmates who do not have money in their trust fund
accounts are not fined; 3) he was charged in retaliation for
filing grievances; and ...