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Johnson v. Alvey

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

August 26, 2019

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

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

          SARAH EVANS BARKER, JUDGE

         The petition of Kenneth Johnson for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as BTC 18-06-0197. 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, Correctional Officer A. Zink wrote a conduct report in case BTC 18-06-0197 charging Mr. Johnson with offense B-213, Threatening. Dkt. 11-1. The Disciplinary Code for Adult Offenders defines threatening as:

Engaging in any of the following: 1. Communicating to another person an intent to physically harm, harass or intimidate that person or someone else. 2. Communicating an intent to cause damage to or loss of that person's or another person's property. 3. Communicating an intent to intentionally make an accusation that he/she knows is untrue or false.

         Indiana Department of Correction Adult Disciplinary Process Appendix: Offenses (Jan. 1, 2018).

         The conduct report stated:

On 6/15/2018 Approx. 8:28 Offender Johnson DOC# 988475 said to me Ofc. Zink that he was going to hold an AR to my head while he raped my mother, my wife and my children. Then Offender Johnson said that when he was done raping them he was going to take me out to the woods and blow my brains out.

Dkt. 11-1.

         On June 19, 2018, Mr. Johnson was advised of the report and of his rights. Dkt. 11-2. Mr. Johnson refused to cooperate in the screening or sign the forms, so the screener entered a plea of not guilty, appointed a lay advocate, and gave copies of the Report of Conduct and the Screening Report to Mr. Johnson. Dkt. 11-2; dkt. 11-7; dkt. 11-8.

         On June 21, 2018, the Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) convened the disciplinary hearing. Dkt. 11-3. Mr. Johnson refused to be present at his hearing. Dkt. 11-3; dkt. 11-7; dkt. 11-8; dkt. 11-9. At the time of Mr. Johnson's screening, he was classified as Mental Health Code A, which meant he had no mental illness. Dkt. 11-7; dkt. 11-8; dkt. 11-9.

         The DHO found Mr. Johnson guilty of offense B-213 based on the conduct report, staff reports, and Mr. Johnson's statement. Dkt. 11-3. As a result of the guilty finding, Mr. ...


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