United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L, MILLER, JR. JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Blake, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a habeas corpus
petition challenging a disciplinary hearing (ISO 17-07-28) in
which a disciplinary hearing officer found him guilty of
possessing or using a controlled substance in violation of
Indiana Department of Correction policy. ECF 1 at 1. Mr.
Blake was sanctioned with the loss of 75 days earned credit
time. ECF 1 at 1; 8-11 at 1. The Warden has filed the
administrative record and Mr. Blake filed a traverse, making
the case ripe for ruling.
Fourteenth Amendment guarantees prisoners certain procedural
due process rights in prison disciplinary hearings: (1)
advance written notice of the charges; (2) an opportunity to
be heard before an impartial decision-maker; (3) an
opportunity to call witnesses and present documentary
evidence in defense, when consistent with institutional
safety and correctional goals; and (4) a written statement by
the fact-finder of evidence relied on and the reasons for the
disciplinary action. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S.
539 (1974). To satisfy due process, there must also be
“some evidence” in the record to support the
guilty finding. Superintendent, Mass. Corr Inst. v.
Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455 (1985).
context of a prison disciplinary hearing, “the relevant
question is whether there is any evidence in the record that
could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary
board.” Supt. v. Hill, 472 U.S. at 455-456.
“In reviewing a decision for some evidence, courts are
not required to conduct an examination of the entire record,
independently assess witness credibility, or weigh the
evidence, but only determine whether the prison disciplinary
board's decision to revoke good time credits has some
factual basis.” McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d
784, 786 (7th Cir. 1999) (quotation marks omitted).
[T]he findings of a prison disciplinary board [need only]
have the support of some evidence in the record. This is a
lenient standard, requiring no more than a modicum of
evidence. Even meager proof will suffice, so long as the
record is not so devoid of evidence that the findings of the
disciplinary board were without support or otherwise
arbitrary. Although some evidence is not much, it still must
point to the accused's guilt. It is not our province to
assess the comparative weight of the evidence underlying the
disciplinary board's decision.
Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000)
(quotation marks, citations, parenthesis, and ellipsis
Blake was found guilty of violating IDOC policy B-202, which
prohibits inmates from “[p]ossession or use of any
unauthorized substance controlled pursuant to the laws of the
State of Indiana or the United States Code, possession of
drug paraphernalia, possession/use of a synthetic drug, or
drug lookalike.” See Indiana Department of
Correction, Adult Disciplinary Process: Appendix I: Offenses,
Officer Drewes wrote a conduct report charging Mr. Blake as
On 7-15-17 at approx. 7:40 pm, I, Ofc. Drewes conducted a
routine shakedown on Offender Blake, K #194152. During the
locker and bed area search nothing was found, during this
time Offender Blake, K was reaching into his left sock, I,
Ofc. Drewes searched the sock, inside the sock was a folded
paper with a green leafy substance which appears to be the
contraband called K2, a strip search was completed, nothing
ECF 8-1 at 1. The confiscated substance tested negative for
K-2 (synthetic marijuana). ECF 8-2 at 1; 8-11 at 1.
Blake was notified of the offense when he was served with the
conduct and screening reports. ECF 8-1 at 1; 8-6 at 1. He
requested a lay advocate and witness statements from Offender
Hensley and Offender Woods. ECF 8-6 at 1. Mr. Blake also
asked to view the video of the incident asserting it would
show that Officer Drewes actually found the substance in row
8, not row 7 of the locker and bed area. Id.
Offender Hensley provided the following statement about the
I Brenton Hensley #200186 observed Officer Drewes conduct a
shakedown on my neighbor Mr. Blake on July 15th around 7:45.
I witnessed Officer Drewes search his (Mr. Blakes [sic])
entire area without results. I then observed Mr. Drewes walk
to R8 Bed 6 and pick up something off the floor and then took
Mr. Blake for a strip search. When he returned he took Mr.
Blakes [sic] I.D. then returned ½ hour - 1 hour later
with his I.D.
ECF 8-7 at 1.
Offender Woods provided this statement about the ...