United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
BLADE J. REED, Petitioner,
OPINION AND ORDER
J. Reed, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a habeas corpus
petition challenging a disciplinary hearing (CIC 16-10-322)
where a Disciplinary Hearing Officer (“DHO”)
found him guilty of threatening a prison officer in violation
of Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) policy B-213. ECF
1 at 1. As a result, Reed was sanctioned with the loss of 90
days earned credit time. Id. The Warden has filed
the administrative record and Reed has filed a traverse. Thus
this case is fully briefed.
Fourteenth Amendment guarantees prisoners certain procedural
due process rights in prison disciplinary hearings: (1)
advance written notice of the charges; (2) an opportunity to
be heard before an impartial decision-maker; (3) an
opportunity to call witnesses and present documentary
evidence in defense, when consistent with institutional
safety and correctional goals; and (4) a written statement by
the fact-finder of evidence relied on and the reasons for the
disciplinary action. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S.
539 (1974). To satisfy due process, there must also be
“some evidence” in the record to support the
guilty finding. Superintendent, Mass. Corr Inst. v.
Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455 (1985).
context of a prison disciplinary hearing, “the relevant
question is whether there is any evidence in the record that
could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary
board.” Hill, 472 U.S. at 455-56. “In
reviewing a decision for some evidence, courts are not
required to conduct an examination of the entire record,
independently assess witness credibility, or weigh the
evidence, but only determine whether the prison disciplinary
board's decision to revoke good time credits has some
factual basis.” McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d
784, 786 (7th Cir. 1999) (quotation marks omitted).
[T]he findings of a prison disciplinary board [need only]
have the support of some evidence in the record. This is a
lenient standard, requiring no more than a modicum of
evidence. Even meager proof will suffice, so long as the
record is not so devoid of evidence that the findings of the
disciplinary board were without support or otherwise
arbitrary. Although some evidence is not much, it still must
point to the accused's guilt. It is not our province to
assess the comparative weight of the evidence underlying the
disciplinary board's decision.
Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000)
(quotation marks, citations, parenthesis, and ellipsis
case, Reed was found guilty of violating IDOC offense B-213,
which prohibits an inmate from engaging in threatening
conduct. The rule delineates three types of inmate conduct
that are considered to be threatening. The relevant conduct
and the one Reed was charged with prohibits an inmate from
“[c]ommunicating to another person a plan to physically
harm, harass or intimidate that person or someone
else.” Indiana Department of Correction, Adult
Disciplinary Process: Appendix I. See
M. Miller wrote a conduct report charging Reed as follows:
On 10/26/2016 at approximately 8:36 AM, I Officer M. Miller
was performing a DHB screening of Offender Reed, Blade 196682
15B-2B. After the screening Offender Reed was upset at the
conduct report he had received. As he was walking toward the
gate to be placed back in the seating area of DHB, Offender
Reed then stated “Who wrote this shit, cause I'm
about to beat a bitch's ass”. This statement was
directed toward Investigator J. Poer, who was the author of
the report. Sgt. J. Kelley was then called to escort Offender
Reed to ARH. Offender Reed was in clear violation of a code
213 “Threatening another with bodily harm”.
ECF 6-1 at 1.
November 18, 2016, a DHO found Reed guilty of engaging in
threatening conduct. ECF 1-2 at 7. Reed challenged the
conviction in Reed v. Warden, 3:17-CV-724 (N.D. Ind.
filed Sept. 20, 2017). On February 18, 2018, IDOC vacated the
guilty finding and sanctions and ordered a rehearing. ECF 1-2
at 31-37. The court dismissed the petition and entered
judgment on March 20, 2018. ECF 1-2 at 38-40.
February 27, 2018, Reed was re-notified of the B-213 charge
when he was served with the conduct and screening reports.
ECF 6-1 at 1; 6-2 at 1. Reed did not request any witnesses
but he did request video of the DHB area for October 21, 2016
and October 26, 2016. ECF 6-2 at 1. He also asked for the
assistance of a lay advocate and one was provided for him.
ECF 6-2 at 1; 6-3 at 1. On March 1, 2018, prison officials
determined that video of the incident had never been recorded
because the camera systems did not go back to 2016. ECF 6-4
rehearing was held on March 2, 2018. ECF 6-5 at 1. The DHO
recorded the following statement: “[O]ffender states
date of report written is [five] days before the conduct
[report]. At no point did [he] say anything about a conduct
report [and] Inves[tigator] Poer['s] . . . statement is
only based on speculation.” Id. Reed also
provided the DHO with a written statement. ECF 6-6 at 1-4. On
the basis of the conduct report and Reed's statements,
the DHO found him guilty of violating offense B-213 and
sanctioned him with the loss of 90 days earned credit time.
ECF 6-5 at 1.
petition, Reed argues there are three grounds which entitle
him to habeas corpus relief. ECF 1 at 2-3. In one ground,
Reed asserts his due process rights were violated because
there was insufficient evidence of his guilt. ECF 1 at 2. In
assessing the sufficiency of the evidence, a conduct report
alone can be enough to support a finding of guilt.
McPherson, 188 F.3d at 786. Such is the case here.
In the conduct report, Officer Miller documented that, on
October 26, 2016, Reed became upset after she screened him
regarding Investigator Poer's conduct report. ECF 6-1 at
1. As he was walking toward the gate to be placed back in the
DHB seating area, he stated “[w]ho wrote this shit,
cause I'm about to beat a bitch's ass.”
Id. Given Officer Miller's conduct report