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Johnson v. Alvey

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

August 23, 2019

KENNETH JOHNSON, Petitioner,
v.
K. ALVEY, Respondent.

          ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         The petition of Kenneth Johnson for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as BTC 18-06-0200. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Johnson's habeas petition must be denied.

         A. 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).

         B. The Disciplinary Proceeding

         On June 15, 2018, Sgt. S. Patrick wrote a conduct report in case BTC 18-06-0200 charging Mr. Johnson with offense A-123, Body Fluid and Fecal Waste. The conduct report stated:

On 6/15/2018 at Appx. 4:30 PM offender Johnson 988475 urinated and defecated out of the bottom of the RHU-Holding Cell while on constant observation, after previous bodily fluid he had put under the door was cleaned up. Offender Johnson 988475 clearly placed urine and feces in a location unintended for the hygienic disposal of body waste.

Dkt. 9-1.

         Code A-123 prohibits:

Placing body fluid or fecal waste in a location unintended for the hygienic disposal of body fluid or fecal waste and/or placing body fluid or fecal waste in a location with the intent that another person will touch or otherwise come in contact with the body fluid or fecal waste. The word “body fluid” as used here has the same definition as set forth in Indiana Code 35-45-16-2.

Dkt. 9-6 at 1.

         On June 19, 2018, the screening officer advised Mr. Johnson of his rights. Dkt. 9-2. Mr. Johnson refused to be screened or sign either the conduct report or the screening form regarding his offense. Dkts. 9-1, 9-2, 9-7, 9-8. The screening officer entered a denial, assigned a lay advocate, and requested a full hearing without waiving notice. Dkt. 9-2. Mr. Johnson was given a copy of the Report of Conduct. Dkt. 9-1.

         On June 21, 2018, the disciplinary hearing officer (DHO) held a hearing. Dkt. 9-3. The DHO noted that Mr. Johnson refused to be present at the hearing. Id. Correctional Officers confirmed Mr. Johnson's refusal to attend the hearing. Dkts. 9-3, 9-7, 9-8, 10. The DHO considered staff reports and the statement of the offender in reaching his decision on the charge, Dkt. 9-3. The DHO found Mr. Johnson guilty of violating Rule A-123, explaining: “The DHO has reviewed the conduct report and finds that it supports the charge of 123-A.” Id. Mr. Johnson was sanctioned with the deprivation of 180 days of earned credit time. Id.

         At the time of Mr. Johnson's screening, he was classified as Mental Health Code A. Dkt. 9-2. Code A means Mr. Johnson suffered from no mental illness and was of sound mind. Dkts. 9-7, 9-8, 10. Mental health staff were notified of the ...


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