United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
EARLIE B.A. BERRY, JR., Petitioner,
WENDY KNIGHT, Respondent.
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
petition of Earlie B.A. Berry, Jr. for a writ of habeas
corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified
as CIC 18-05-0189. For the reasons explained in this Entry,
Mr. Berry's habeas petition must be
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).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
4, 2018, Officer Rudzinski wrote a conduct report charging
Mr. Berry with offense B-202, Possession or Use of a
Controlled Substance. The conduct report provides:
On 5/4/18 at approximately 6:10 pm, I, Officer Rudzinski went
to room 1-4A to let offender Earlie Berry #9321511A-4A know
he was going to move after count. The room smellied [sic] of
a burnt substance and offender Berry had half open bloodshot
eyes. He attempted to palm a paper towel soaked in an unknown
substance, but I retrieved it, and found another paper hidden
in a cup on the bottom shelf of cell 1-4A. Offender Berry
admitted that the brown paper towel was his.
pieces of brown paper towel were confiscated and
photographed. Dkt. 10-2.
17, the screening officer notified Mr. Berry of the charge of
possession or use of a controlled substance and served him
with copies of the conduct report and the disciplinary
hearing “screening report.” Mr. Berry pleaded not
guilty and requested a lay advocate. Dkt. 10-3. A lay
advocate was later appointed. Dkt. 10-4. Mr. Berry did not
request any witnesses, but he requested the physical evidence
be tested. Dkt. 10-3.
A. Mills provided a memo explaining that because there is no
“chemical test available to positively identify all
controlled substances, the facility is going to rely on the
circumstances surrounding the items found and identified as
synthetic marijuana or drug paraphernalia.” Dkt. 10-5.
Mills further explained that the offense B-202
“includes both paraphernalia and ‘lookalike'
substances.” Id. Mills concluded:
Therefore, items found that appear to be used for
smoking/consuming controlled substances, including but not
limited to; any objects with suspicious residue (pipes, pen
parts, mirrors, etc.), leftover burnt ends from a rolled up
material, rolling papers, papers soaked in coffee (or other
liquids), suspicious torn pieces of paper, plant like
material, anything packaged for distribution, etc. will
constitute a violation of ADP B202 Possession or Use of a
one postponement, a disciplinary hearing was held in case CIC
18-05-0189 on May 30, 2018. Dkt. 10-7. According to the
hearing report, Mr. Berry stated: “It's just a
wrap. Was coffee.” Id. The hearing officer
relied on the staff reports, statement of the offender,
photos of the brown paper, and the statement from
Investigator Mills and found Mr. Berry guilty of offense
B-202. Id. Due to the frequency/nature of the
offense, the offender's attitude and demeanor during the
hearing, and the likelihood of the sanction having a