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Garvey v. Knight

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

June 24, 2019

WENDY KNIGHT, Respondent.




         The petition of Patrick Garvey for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as CIC 17-08-0157. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Garvey's habeas petition must be denied.

         A. 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); Jones v. Cross, 637 F.3d 841, 845 (7th Cir. 2011) (same for federal inmates).

         B. The Disciplinary Proceeding

         On August 11, 2017, Investigator J. Poer issued a Report of Conduct (“Conduct Report”) charging Mr. Garvey with a violation of Codes A111 and A113. Dkt. 10-1. The Conduct Report states:

On 7/29/16 Central Office Investigators contacted me, Inv. J. Poer, concerning a conspiracy to traffic controlled substance Suboxone stirps through the mail into CIF. A Trafficking with an Inmate-Civilian investigation was initiated. Phone calls placed by offender Garvey were monitored. In the calls offender Garvey provides instructions to his family members regarding Suboxone strips that he is having mailed to his brother's address. The package was intercepted by U.S. Postal Inspectors. The package intended for Garvey's brother's address was found to contain 60 Suboxone strips. Garvey was going to have his sister package the Suboxone stirps into a magazine and mail them into the facility. The details supporting this investigation are contained in Confidential Case File 16-CIC-0041. Please review the case file to answer questions regarding this conduct report.


         Mr. Garvey was notified of the charge on August 15, 2017, when he received the Conduct Report and the Screening Report. Dkts. 10-1, 10-2. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and requested a lay advocate. Dkt. 10-2. Mr. Garvey asked to call Mike Hughes, another inmate, as a witness. Id. Mr. Garvey wanted to ask if he had his family send a magazine to Mr. Hughes and if he had “fat girl” write to Mr. Hughes. Id. This request was denied as irrelevant. Id. Mr. Garvey also requested transcripts of phone calls and any statements made about him regarding the suboxone and “this case.” Id.

         A hearing was held August 18, 2017. Dkt. 10-3. Mr. Garvey pleaded not guilty and did not provide a statement. Id. After considering staff reports and the confidential case file, the hearing officer determined that Mr. Garvey had violated Codes A111 and A113. Id. The sanctions imposed included the deprivation of 90 days of earned credit time, a demotion of one credit class, and imposition of a suspended sanction of a loss of 90 days of earned credit time. Id.

         Mr. Garvey filed an appeal to the facility head, which was denied on September 22, 2017. Dkt. 10-4 at 1-2. He then appealed to the Final Review Authority, who denied his appeal on November 30, 2017. Dkt. 10-4 at 3. After the denial of his appeal to the Final Review Authority, he brought this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         C. Analysis

         Mr. Garvey presents three challenges to his disciplinary proceeding. First, he challenges the denial of his request for testimony from Offender Mike Hughes. Second, he alleges that his due process rights were violated because he was not allowed to see any of the evidence against him, including transcripts of the phone calls. Finally, he alleges that the investigation was untimely under Indiana Department of Correction ...

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