United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
R. SWEENEY II JUDGE
petition of Mr. Maurice Brownlee for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as CIC
18-03-0343. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr.
Brownlee'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
March 21, 2018, Lieutenant Coats wrote a conduct report
charging Mr. Brownlee with violating Code B-202, possession
of a controlled substance. Dkt 8-1. The conduct report
On March 21, 2018 at approx. 7:30 pm, I Lt. L. Coats was
doing an [sic] Prea Inspection in D-Unit. I walked by cell
21-2D and noticed Offender Brownlee, Maurice #173631 21B-2D
(BM) standing at the metal desk in that cell. I walked in and
asked him what he was doing and what that was on the desk. He
stated to me that it was a cigarette he rolling. I searched
the offender and told him to step out of the cell. I looked
at the brown paper and found small white pieces of paper
laying on it. I asked Brownlee what it was and he stated it
was just tea on the paper. I asked him if the white pieces of
paper were spice and he said “NO”. I told him
that I believe it is and that I will have it tested. He told
me to go ahead and have it tested, because it will not test
for anything. I also found what appears to be measuring paper
to measure how to cut items into different sizes. I
confinscated [sic] all the above items.
Coats completed a confiscation slip and placed the items in
an evidence locker. Dkt. 8-2; dkt. 8-3 at 2.
Steven Hall completed a Suspicious Controlled Substance
Confirmation form stating that the confiscated substances
constitute a violation of Code B-202. Dkt. 8-3 at 1. The form
explained that chemical tests are not available “to
positively identify all controlled substances, ” so the
prison relies “on the circumstances surrounding the
items found and identified as synthetic marijuana or drug
paraphernalia.” Id. Because offense B-202
proscribes possession of “both paraphernalia and
‘lookalike' substances, ” the form continues,
any “items found that appear to be used for
smoking/consuming controlled substances, including but not
limited to . . . papers soaked in coffee (or other liquids)
[or] suspicious torn pieces of paper . . . will constitute a
violation of ADP B202 Possession or Use of a controlled
March 22, 2018, the screening officer notified Mr. Brownlee
of the charge and served him with a copy of the conduct
report and a copy of the notice of disciplinary hearing. Dkt.
8-1; dkt. 8-4. Mr. Brownlee pleaded not guilty and requested
a lay advocate who was later appointed. Dkt. 8-4. Mr.
Brownlee did not request witnesses but wrote, “brought
a bag to present.” Id.
April 2, 2018, the hearing officer held a disciplinary
hearing. Dkt. 8-5. Mr. Brownlee pled not guilty and stated,
“It was tobacco I was rolling. I was never searched by
Mr. Coats.” Id. The hearing officer considered
the staff reports, Mr. Brownlee's statement, and the
physical evidence-the measuring tool and the brown paper-and
found Mr. Brownlee guilty. Id. The hearing officer
sanctioned Mr. Brownlee with a 90-day loss of good-time
Brownlee filed appeals to the Facility Head and the Final
Review Authority. Dkt. 8-6 at 2. Both appeals were denied.
Dkt. 8-6 at 1; dkt. 8-7. Mr. Brownlee then brought this
petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.