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Wilson v. Knight

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

July 19, 2019

ERIC J. WILSON, Petitioner,
WENDY KNIGHT, Respondent.



         Eric Wilson's petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenges his conviction in a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as CIC 18-03-0060. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr.

         Wilson's petition is 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

         Mr. Wilson is an inmate at the Correctional Industrial Facility, where the events underlying this habeas petition took place. In November 2017, Mr. Wilson was the plaintiff in a civil rights case in this Court. See Wilson v. Knight, No. 1:17-cv-01326-TWP-DML. On November 27, 2017, Officer Bruce Schepper, the law library supervisor, wrote a conduct report alleging that Mr. Wilson made a counterfeit order from this Court and presented a request to have it printed on November 22, 2017. Dkt. 13 at 16 (ex parte). According to the conduct report, the counterfeit document was purported to be an order by Judge Pratt granting Mr. Wilson an extension of a summary judgment briefing deadline. See Id. at 16, 21. Officer Schepper believed Mr. Wilson intended to use the extended deadline as a basis to request additional time in the law library. See Id. at 16.

         The document Mr. Wilson presented to Officer Schepper has been filed ex parte. Several attributes of the document would alert a reader familiar with this Court's written orders that it was likely illegitimate. The caption states that the action is proceeding in the “Southern District of Indinan, Indianapolis Devision.” Id. at 8. It repeatedly commits the same punctuation error:

• “The plaintiff alleges that he is not provided sufficient time in his facilities law library . . . .”
• “This court finds that the existence of the lapse in given time between the parties ability to practice law ..... ”
• “In accordance with the plaintiffs rights under the constitution . . . .”
• “Plaintiffs request for extension of time is hereby granted . . . .”

See Id. The electronic docketing data in the header of Mr. Wilson's document differs from the Court's usual format. See Id. Finally, the document presented on November 22, 2017, does not feature an image of Judge Pratt's handwritten signature on the final page like any other Order from this Court. Instead, it features a “FILED” stamp on the first page with a signature that appears to have been typed on a keyboard. See Id. And the “FILED” stamp is dated November 23, 2017-a date that obviously had not occurred as of November 22. Id.

         A brief review of the docket in this case also makes clear that the document Mr. Wilson presented on November 22, 2017, was not generated by the Court. The document is identified as filing no. 24, which had already been docketed on September 1, 2017. See Id. at 9. Additionally, the document's header shows that it was filed on November 14, 2017, but the docket shows that no documents were filed within eight days of November 14. See Id. at 8; no. 1:17-cv-01326-TWP-DML.

         Officer Schepper recognized many of these features, contacted the Court, and confirmed that the document Mr. Wilson presented to him had not been docketed by Judge Pratt. Officer Schepper drafted his conduct report and contacted Internal Investigations, which asked him to refrain from filing the conduct report so it could further investigate the allegations against Mr. Wilson. See dkt. 13 at 3.

         Investigator Ashley Mills completed that investigation. See Id. at 2-4. Investigator Mills interviewed Mr. Wilson, who denied ever seeing the document before. See Id. at 3. However, Investigator Mills matched the signature on the print request form used to print the document to Mr. Wilson's signature on a different document. See Id. Based on that investigation, Investigator Mills completed a conduct report on March 5, 2018, that charged Mr. Wilson with violating Code A-100, which punishes inmates' violations of federal, state, or local law. Dkt. 10-1. Investigator Mills determined that Mr. Wilson's conduct amounted to “counterfeiting” in violation ...

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