United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE
petition of Mr. Maurice Brownlee for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as CIC
18-03-0284. 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
disciplinary proceedings occurred while Mr. Brownlee was
housed at the Correctional Industrial Facility. On March 19,
2018, Officer J. Stallworth wrote a conduct report charging
Mr. Brownlee with offense B-202, possession of unauthorized
substance. Dkt. 12-1.
conduct report states:
On 3/19/18 at approx. 1:20PM I Officer J. Stallworth
conducted a search in cell 21-2D. I found brown paper
3″ by 1″, Two pieces of rolled brown paper dipped
in an unknown substance and a pieces [sic] of rolled toilet
paper with pencil led [sic] attached to the end.
of the confiscated items were taken and Officer Stallworth
completed a notice of confiscated property, which Mr.
Brownlee refused to sign. Dkt. 12-2; dkt. 12-3.
Steven Hall completed a Suspicious Controlled Substance
Confirmation form explaining 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.” Dkt. 12-4.
Offense B-202 proscribes possession of “both
paraphernalia and ‘lookalike' substances” and
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 the notice of disciplinary hearing (screening
report). Dkt. 12-5. Mr. Brownlee did not request witnesses or
physical evidence. Id. In the “witness”
section of the report, the following is handwritten:
“The paper was left in my cell by Sgt. Lawson and CO
Cartegena. I was written up on this already. I brought paper
to screening for evidence.” Id.
disciplinary hearing was held on April 2, 2018. Dkt. 12-7.
Mr. Brownlee pled not guilty and stated, “I was already
written up for this. Sgt. Lawson left it in my cell.”
Id. The disciplinary hearing officer found Mr.
Brownlee guilty after considering staff reports, Mr.
Brownlee's statement, the “brown paper, ” and
the “I & I supporting statement that item is in
fact a 202.” Id. Mr. Brownlee was sanctioned
with a 60-day loss of earned credit time and a one-step
credit class demotion. Id.
Brownlee filed appeals to the Facility Head and the Final
Review Authority. Dkt. 12-8; dkt. 12-10. Both appeals were
denied. Dkt. 12-9; dkt. 12-11. Mr. Brownlee then brought this