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Shirley v. Warden

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

July 10, 2019

MATTHEW SHIRLEY, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, Respondent.

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

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         The petition of Matthew Shirley for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as NCF 18-04-0024. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Shirley'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).

         B. The Disciplinary Proceeding

         On April 2, 2018, Officer Criswell wrote a conduct report in case NCF 18-04-0024 charging Mr. Shirley with offense B-215, replacement of state property.[1] Dkt. 7-1. The conduct report states:

On the above date and approximate time [4/2/18, at12:30 p.m.] I Officer Criswell witnessed offender Shirley (DOC# 212152) move the barcades [sic] in the chow #1. Offender Shirley was asked not to touch them[;] he then took it upon himself to walk down the rest of the line and move the rest of them over. Offender Shirley then wanted to mouth off to myself and Officer Gilmer. Offender Shirley was advised [that] he would be wrote up for violating Code #215 replacement of state property.

Id.

         Officer Gilmer wrote a corroborating statement explaining that he “witnessed offender Shirley #212152 purposly [sic] move the barcades [sic] in chow hall #1. Shirley was told not to move them and said ‘fuck it' and moved the rest.” Dkt. 7-2.

         On April 6, 2018, the screening officer notified Mr. Shirley of the charge of alteration of state property and served him with a copy of the conduct report and a copy of the notice of disciplinary hearing (Screening Report).” Dkt. 7-3. Mr. Shirley pleaded not guilty and requested a lay advocate, who was later appointed. Dkt. 7-3; dkt. 7-4. Mr. Shirley requested offender Tony Blair as a witness, but he did not request any additional witnesses or evidence. Dkt 7-3.

         The Disciplinary Hearing Board secured a written statement from Mr. Blair in lieu of live testimony because it did “not have the staff or the area to maintain safety and security.” Dkt 7-6.

         In his written statement Mr. Blair said:

I was like seven spots behind Mr. Shirley and at no point did Mr. Shirley move any part of the chain. Ofc. Gilmer was the Ofc. hollering at Mr. Shirley then he came up the serving line and took Mr. Shirley's I.d. Mr. Shirley remained in the serving line until he reached the main window then he continued on too [sic] the diet window and tried too [sic] get his I.d. back so he could get his diet tray. Ofc. Gilmer refused to give it back after several request[s] until finally Sgt. ...

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