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Clark v. Butts

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

June 11, 2019

BRYANT CLARK, Petitioner,
v.
KEITH BUTTS, Respondent.

          AARON T. CRAFT INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL

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

          SARAH EVANS BARKER, JUDGE

         Bryant Clark's petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenges his conviction in a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as NCF 18-01-0038. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Clark'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

         NCF 18-01-0038 is based on the following conduct report written by Sergeant D. Patton on January 5, 2018:

On the above date and time I Sgt. D. Patton was conducting a search of offender Clark #989141 bed and property. During the search I did locate a small clear bottle of clear & safe oil marked myrrh. The oil was located inside of a small grey property box with mail and other property with offender Clark's information on it. The offender was advised of the conduct report. The oil did test positive for K-2/spice, synthetic marijuana. The test was completed by Investigator Joseph.

Dkt. 12-1.

         On the afternoon of January 5, Investigator Joseph sent the following message to several members of the prison staff by e-mail:

On 1/5/2018 at approximately 0945hr, Sgt D Patton was conducting a bed search of E4-220 assigned to inmate Clark, Bryant #989141 when he found a bottle of yellow liquid inside inmate Clark's property box. At 1455hr, Internal affairs received the liquid and Investigator S. Joseph conducted a test on the liquid using the NARK II field testing kit. The liquid tested positive for Synthetic Cannabinoids (K2). A conduct report will be issued for inmate Clark, Bryant #989141 for B-202 “Possession or Use of Controlled Substance.”

Dkt. 12-2 at 4. The subject of Investigator Joseph's e-mail is “Contraband Clark, Bryant #989141 - Synthetic Cannabinoids.” Id.

         The respondent has presented photographs showing a document prepared by Sergeant Patton and featuring Mr. Clark's identifying information along with a “Clear & Safe” prayer oil container and a field test for synthetic cannabinoids. See Id. at 1-3. The items in the photographs match the descriptions in Sergeant Patton's conduct report and Investigator Joseph's e-mail, and the field test appears to indicate a positive result. See Id. at 1-4; dkt. 12-1.

         On January 8, 2018, Mr. Clark received a screening report notifying him that he was charged with use or possession of a controlled substance in violation of Code B-202 of the Indiana Department of Correction's (IDOC) Adult Disciplinary Process. Dkt. 12-3. At screening, Mr. Clark requested that the oil be sent to an outside facility for ...


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