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Coty v. Knight

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

October 28, 2019

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

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

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         The petition of Triandios Coty for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a December 4, 2018, prison disciplinary proceeding identified as CIC 18-11-0256. 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 November 22, 2018, Correctional Officer Boone issued a conduct report charging Mr. Coty with failing to stand count or being late to count in violation of Code B-251. Dkt. 9-1. The conduct report states:

On 11-22-18 [at] approximately 10:00 pm I Ofc J. Boone was securing doors for count. Three buzzers had been given. I had already given the order to lockdown. The camera footage showed offender Coty, Triandios (196504, 3A-6c) coming out of the TV Room. Offender Coty proceeded to get hot water from the hot pot. Offender Coty was clearly late for count. I saw this when I reviewed the camera for a sep[a]rate incident. The camera shows after I finished securing doors on the Bottom (2) Range of c-unit, I am upstairs at cell 20-4c at 9:53:20[.] [T]he offender runs to the hot water machine. He runs back to his cell at 9:53:59.

Id.

         Mr. Coty was notified of the charge on November 28, 2018, when he was served with the conduct report and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing (screening report). Dkt. 9-1; dkt. 9-2. The screening report, signed by Mr. Coty, noted that Mr. Coty requested a lay advocate, who was later appointed, but that he did not request any witnesses or evidence. Dkt. 9-2.

         A disciplinary hearing was conducted on December 4, 2018. Dkt. 9-4. In finding Mr. Coty guilty of violating Code B-251, the hearing officer relied on the conduct report, Officer Robinson's video review that “Coty was in his cell, but then came back out, ” and Mr. Coty's statement that, “I was in my room at count time.” Id. As a result of the guilty finding, Mr. Coty was sanctioned with the deprivation of 30 days of earned credit time and the demotion of one credit class, which was suspended. Id.

         Mr. Coty filed appeals to the Facility Head and the Final Reviewing Authority. Dkt. 9-5; dkt. 9-7. Both appeals were denied. Dkt. 9-6; dkt. 9-7. 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) he was not given proper notice of the conduct report; (2) there was insufficient evidence to support the hearing officer's finding of guilt; and (3) he was denied evidence.

         1. Improper Notice ...


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