United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Lax's petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenges his
conviction in a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as
CIC 18-04-0445. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr.
Lax's petition must be denied.
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
18-04-0445 is based on the following conduct report written
on April 26, 2018, by Investigator A. Mills:
On 3/30/2018 at approx 2: 18 pm, Offender Mark Lax 988393
(22L-3AS) assaulted Officer D. Bodkin outside of the visiting
room. Offender Lax had just concluded a visit and became
argumentative with staff because they were unable to locate
food items that were purchased by his visitor for him.
Offender Lax refused several orders from multiple staff to
return to his assigned housing unit and to submit to
restraints. Due to Offender Lax's continued refusal to
comply with orders to submit to restraints and displaying
increasingly aggressive and volatile behavior, Offender Lax
was sprayed with OC. When Sgt. M. Snow attempted to place
Offender Lax in restraints, Offender Lax assaulted Sgt Snow.
Officer D. Bodkin attempted to assist in placing Offender Lax
in restraints and was also assaulted by Offender Lax.
Offender Lax punched Officer Bodkin in the head. Officer
Bodkin received minor injuries from this assault but declined
to seek medical attention for his injuries. Offender
Lax's assault of Officer Bodkin places him in violation
of ADP code A-102 Staff assault.
portion of the conduct report reading, “Disposition of
physical evidence, if any, ” Investigator Mills wrote,
“See CONFIDENTIAL case file 18-CIC-0033.”
Id. The respondent has not filed the confidential
case file in this habeas action. However, the Court takes
judicial notice that the confidential case file has been
filed in one of Mr. Lax's related disciplinary habeas
cases. See Case No. 1:18-cv-03079-TWP-TAB, at dkt.
16. The confidential case file includes 130 pages of
documents related to this incident, including a report of
investigation; photographs of Mr. Lax, the officers involved
in the incident, and their clothing; medical records
documenting the officers' injuries; and reports by the
officers involved in the incident. Notably, the confidential
case file includes a use-of-force report by Officer Bodkin,
in which he wrote:
While speaking with Officer Martin, Offender Lax became
combative toward him. He then swung at me striking me on the
left side of my face.
Id. at 55.
April 28, 2018, Mr. Lax received notice that he had been
charged with assaulting staff in violation of Code A-102.
Dkt. 13-3. He was convicted at a hearing on May 3, 2018. Dkt.
13-5. According to the hearing officer, Mr. Lax asserted in
his defense that he did not strike Officer Bodkin on purpose
but was defending himself after being sprayed with OC.
Id. The hearing officer explained that he found Mr.
Lax guilty based on all the evidence in the confidential case
file, video of the incident, and photos of staff.
hearing officer assessed sanctions, including the deprivation
of 365 days' earned credit time. Id. In
addition, the hearing officer recommended that Mr. Lax be
deprived of all his earned credit time pursuant to
an Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) executive
directive because his assault was against a staff member.
Id. However, the IDOC eventually vacated that
additional sanction. Dkt. 13-9. Mr. Lax's administrative
appeals were otherwise denied. See dkts. 13-6, 13-7,