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Booker-El v. Butts

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

October 1, 2019

SAMMIE L. BOOKER-EL, Petitioner,
v.
KEITH BUTTS, Respondent.

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

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         The petition of Mr. Sammie L. Booker-El for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding on July 18, 2018, identified as NCF 18-07-0111. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Booker-El’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 July 15, 2018, Officer Salgado wrote a conduct report charging Mr. Booker-El with violating Code B-223, engaging or encouraging others in a group demonstration. Dkt. 8-1. The conduct report states:

At the above date and approximately [sic] time [July 15, 2018, at 14:38p.m.] offender Sammie Booker refused to go inside of the house and encorage [sic] other to [do] the same thing. This happen[ed] after he and 3 other offenders were advised that they were going to receive a conduct report for disobeying an order. He stop[ped] in front of the house and indicated to the others ‘Let[‘s] start a riot now if the sargeant [sic] dont come.’ Offender Booker was advised of this conduct report. End of report.

Id.

         Officer Salgado also completed an incident report which stated that Mr. Booker-El “was throwing his hands up[, ] pacing[, ] yelling[, ] and he clenched his fist at which time I deployed [a] chemical agent” hitting Booker-El “on the side of the neck.” Dkt. 8-2. Two other officers responded to the incident and completed incident reports. Sergeant Altom witnessed Officer Salgado’s use of the chemical agent on Mr. Booker-El and subsequently placed Mr. Booker-El in mechanical restraints. Dkt. 8-3. Sergeant Anderson escorted Mr. Booker-El to medical without incident. Dkt. 8-4. A serious incident report was also completed which stated that Mr. Booker-El was “given multiple orders to enter C unit. . . . Officer Salga[d]o states the offender refused all orders and became disorderly and had clenched fists.” Dkt. 8-5.

         On July 17, 2018, Mr. Booker-El was notified of the charge, which the disciplinary hearing board had modified to B-223/240, attempt to engage or encourage others in a group demonstration, and served Mr. Booker-El with a copy of the conduct report and the screening report. Dkt. 8-7. Mr. Booker-El pleaded not guilty and declined the appointment of a lay advocate, although one was later appointed. Dkt. 8-8. Mr. Booker-El did not request any witnesses, but he did request video from “1430 to 1445 in front of C-Dorm 7-15-18.” Id.

         On July 17, 2018, the hearing officer reviewed the requested video and issued a written summary stating that the “[v]ideo shows offender identified as offender Booker, Sammie #127170 by Officer Salgado on the yard in front of C-unit pacing and waiving [sic] his arms around. Camera does not record sound.” Dkt. 8-10.

         On July 18, 2018, a disciplinary hearing was held and Mr. Booker-El pleaded not guilty and stated, “Me and 3 others were waiting on the Sgt. to get there, we knew he was on the way. The officer told us to go in. We did not go in.” Dkt. 8-9. Mr. Booker-El was found guilty based on the conduct report, the video evidence, and Mr. Booker-El’s statement. Id. As a result of the guilty finding, Mr. Booker-El was sanctioned with a 30-day loss of good-time credit. Id.

         Mr. Booker-El filed appeals to the Facility Head and the Final Reviewing Authority. Dkt. 8-13; dkt. 8-14. Both appeals were denied. Id. Mr. Booker-El then brought this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         C. ...


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