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Coty v. Knight

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

October 18, 2019

TRIANDIOS K. COTY, Petitioner,
v.
WENDY KNIGHT, Respondent.

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

          JAMES R. SWEENEY II JUDGE

         The petition of Triandios Coty for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as ISF 18-10-0477 on October 31, 2018. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Coty'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 October 18, 2018, Correctional Officer Cameron issued a conduct report charging Mr. Coty with attempt or conspiracy to conduct an unauthorized financial transaction in violation of Code B-240/220. Dkt. 6-1. The conduct report states:

On 10-16-18 at approximately 0520 am [I] observed Offender Coty Triandios in 18 south dayroom. Offender Coty resides in 18 north 21LA. I C/O Cameron approached offender [and] asked what he was doing in 18 south. Offender Coty stated ‘I[']m collecting debt. I[']m gonna get what[']s owed to me.' I C/O Cameron called for QRT to remove offender. I notified offender of CAB and identified offender by State issued I.D.

Id.

         Mr. Coty was notified of the charge on October 25, 2018, when he was served with the conduct report and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing (screening report). Dkts. 6-1 and 6-2. Mr. Coty requested a lay advocate, who was later appointed, but did not request any witnesses or evidence during screening. Dkt. 6-2.

         A disciplinary hearing was conducted on October 31, 2018. Dkt. 6-4. The hearing officer noted Mr. Coty's statement that, “It[']s not a Financial Transaction. [T]here is no debt. The write up is not what its [sic] supposed to be.” Id. The hearing officer found Mr. Coty guilty of violating Code B-240/220 based on Mr. Coty's statement and the conduct report. Id. Mr. Coty was sanctioned with the deprivation of 60 days of earned credit time, which was modified to 26 days based on availability. Id.

         Mr. Coty filed appeals to the Facility Head and the Final Reviewing Authority. Dkt. 6-5; dkt. 6-6. Both appeals were denied. Id. Mr. Coty then brought this petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         C. Analysis

         Mr. Coty contends that (1) the conduct report was not signed within the timeframe required by Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”) policy and (2) that there was insufficient evidence to support the hearing officer's finding of guilt.

         1. Violation ...


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