Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Reed v. Warden

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

October 28, 2019

BLADE J. REED, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JON E. DEGUILIO JUDGE

         Blade 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.

         The 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).

         In the 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 omitted).

         In this 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 http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/02-04-101APPENDIXI-OFFENSES6-1-2015(1).pdf.

         Officer 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.

         On 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.

         On 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 at 1.

         Reed's 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.

         In his 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.