United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
Marjorie H. Lawyer-Smith Indiana Attorney General.
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
R. SWEENEY II, JUDGE.
prison inmate Sonny Davis petitions for a writ of habeas
corpus challenging a prison disciplinary sanction imposed in
disciplinary case number WVS 18-08-0007. For the reasons
explained in this Order, Mr. Davis's habeas petition must
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
August 6, 2018, Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC)
Correctional Lieutenant Nicholson wrote a Report of Conduct
charging Mr. Davis with impairing surveillance, a violation
of the IDOC's Adult Disciplinary Code offense B-209. The
Report of Conduct states:
On 8/6/18 at approximately 11:00 A.M., I Lt. C. Nicholson
conducted a live video review of cell B-401 (assigned to
Offender Davis, Sonny #128888). The video camera in the cell
was covered for approximately 23 minutes from 10:54 A.M. to
Dkts. 1-1, p. 13, & 8-1.
Davis was notified of the charge on August 8, 2018, when he
received the Screening Report. Dkts. 1-1, p. 2, & 8-2. He
pled not guilty to the charge, declined a lay advocate, and
did not initially ask for witnesses. Id. Mr. Davis
requested documentary evidence that (a) he had been notified
that he could not cover a camera that pointed at the toilet
he used; (b) a doctor's document that directs him to
shower daily; (c) the “shower sheet” for the week
leading up to the charged incident; (d) a medical report
documenting that he has a medical condition; and (e) the
grievance that he made when he was refused showers.
Id. He later requested a number of witness
statements and documentary evidence. Dkts. 8-4 & 9.
Davis requested statements from offenders Robert Coleman,
Dwight Williams, and Seth Keel. These offenders would have
stated that they and Mr. Davis were incarcerated at the
Westville Correctional Facility until a week before the
incident. At Westville they were required to cover bathroom
cameras or they could be found to be exposing themselves.
They would also have stated that when they arrived at the
Wabash Valley Correctional Facility they were not informed of
the policy prohibiting the covering of cameras. A statement
was sought from Counselor Meeks that the policy was not
included in the packet of papers given to them when they
arrived. A statement from Officer McCloud was requested that
Mr. Davis did not receive recreation and a shower as was
indicated on a form. Finally, Mr. Davis sought a statement
from Officer Dunn that after Mr. Davis informed her that he
was going to cover the camera with a towel, she did not tell
him that was not allowed. Dkt. 8-4.
evidence sought by Mr. Davis, in addition to the items sought
during the screening process, included the orientation packet
given to newly arriving inmates by Counselor Meek, video
evidence showing that he did not receive recreation or a
shower on a date when other records indicated he had received
them, and his medical file. Id.
disciplinary hearing was held on August 20, 2018. The hearing
officer considered staff reports, Mr. Davis's statement,
the “shower sheet, ” a medical report, Mr.
Davis's grievance, and the Disciplinary Code for Adult
Offenders. Dkt. 1-1, p. 12, & 8-5. Based on this
evidence, he found Mr. Davis guilty of the offense of
impairment of surveillance. The sanctions imposed included a
credit class demotion. Id.
Davis appealed to the Facility Head (the Warden) and the IDOC
Final Reviewing Authority; both appeals were denied. Dkts.
1-1, p. 13, 8-6, & 8-7. He then brought this petition for