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Hood v. Zatecky

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

October 1, 2019

TERRANCE HOOD, Petitioner,
v.
DUSHAN ZATECKY, Respondent.

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

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         The petition of Terrance Hood for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as ISR 18-05-0127. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Hood’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.App’x 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 May 15, 2018, Investigator Christopher Sanford wrote a conduct report charging Mr. Hood with offense A-102, battery. Dkt. 17-1. The conduct report stated:

On the above date and approx. time offender Hood, Terrance #883509 10-2B is seen on camera exiting his cell for dinner chow line. Hood is seen moving towards the end of the range towards offender Howard, Eddie #129850 17-2B as he exits his cell. Hood is advancing on Howard, words are exchanged and Hood lunges towards Howard with a stabbing motion with his right hand. The offenders are seen fighting at the end of the range for several minutes at the back of the range. Both offenders stop fighting and move to the front of the range and are no longer fighting.

Id.

         On June 1, 2018, Mr. Hood was notified of the charge and his rights. Dkt. 17-2. Mr. Hood pleaded not guilty and requested a video review. Id. He also requested notes that he said he had when the incident took place. Dkt. 17-12, ¶ 4. The notes could not be located. Id. Mr. Hood waived his right to 24 hours’ advance notice of the charge before the disciplinary hearing and did not request a lay advocate. Dkt. 17-2. He requested Officer A. Ross, Officer C. Thompson, and Officer E. Shehata as witnesses. Id. Officer A. Ross provided the following statement:

On the above date, I was releasing the chow line on B-Block in H cellhouse for dinner chow. I was standing in front of the B-Block showers watching the line come down the stairs when I saw offender Hood thrown backwards. I witnessed him bleeding from the face and escorted him to the shakedown booth. After the line was out offender Hood stated offender Howard had assaulted him. Howard was on the 2B range and was also bloody. I assisted Sgt. C. Wiley in cuffing Howard and both offenders were escorted off unit.

Dkt. 17-3.

         Officer C. Thompson provided the following statement: “I have no knowledge of this incident.” Dkt. 17-4. Officer E. Shehata was not present during the incident and therefore the disciplinary hearing officer (“DHO”) denied the request for his testimony. Dkt. 17-2.

         A disciplinary hearing for case ISR 18-05-0127 was initially scheduled for May 25, 2018, but was continued to June 6, 2018. Dkt. 17-5. It was continued a second time to June 15, 2018, because of a staff shortage and because Mr. Hood added a witness through facility mail. Dkt. 17-6. The hearing was continued for a third time to June 26, 2018, due to a staff shortage. Dkt. 17-7. The hearing was continued two more times because of a staff shortage and because Mr. Hood requested video evidence. Dkt. 17-8; dkt. 17-9.

         The hearing was conducted on July 11, 2018. Dkt. 17-10. Mr. Hood testified, “Eddie had been threatening me. There were 2 notes turned into I.I. 3 hours prior to this incident that show Eddie. I went to Eddie and told him to stop sending me these bully ass notes. In the recorded I.I. interview he speaks of the notes.” Id. Based on staff reports, Mr. Hood’s statement, evidence from the witnesses, a conversation with Internal Investigator Turney, and the video evidence, the DHO found Mr. Hood guilty of B-212, assault, a lesser offense than A-102 battery. Id. Offense A-102 battery is defined as: “[k]nowingly or intentionally touching another person in a rude, insolent, or angry manner; or in a rude, insolent, ...


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