United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
Patrick Hanlon, United States District Judge
petition of Dexter Berry for a writ of habeas corpus
challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as ISR
15-11-0031. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr.
Berry's habeas 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
October 29, 2015, Investigator J. Poer wrote a conduct report
in case ISR 15-11-0031 charging Mr. Berry with offense A-100,
violation of state law. The conduct report states:
IC 35-4.1-5-2 Conspiracy and IC 35-44.1-3-5 Trafficking with
an Inmate. An investigation into the attempted trafficking of
controlled substance “Suboxone” was initiated on
August 29, 2015. During the course of the investigation,
evidence was discovered that proves offender Dexter Berry
114153 7L-1ARH conspired with Ofd Charles Swift 125162,
visitor Kristen Hughes and Ofd Jahhim Easter 243105 to
traffic Suboxone strips into the facility.
Poer wrote a corroborating report of investigation. Dkt. 7-2.
Both the conduct report and the investigation report referred
to Confidential Case File 15-CIC-0029, dkt. 9 (ex
parte), which was not provided to Mr. Berry because of
security and safety concerns. The confidential file, which
the Court has reviewed in camera, corroborates the
allegations in the conduct report and the investigation
report. See dkt. 9 at 1-6 (ex parte).
November 5, 2015, the screening officer notified Mr. Berry of
the charge of violating state law and served him with the
conduct report and the notice of disciplinary hearing
“screening report.” Dkt. 7-3. Mr. Berry pleaded
not guilty and requested a lay advocate. Id. One was
appointed. Mr. Berry did not request any witnesses, but he
did request that the hearing officer review Confidential Case
File 15-CIC-0029. Id.
hearing officer held a hearing on case number ISR 15-11-0031
on November 10, 2015. Dkt. 7-6. Mr. Berry submitted a written
statement at the hearing which requested, in part, that the
hearing not be conducted by a specific hearing officer.
Id. at 2. He argued that this conduct report should
be dismissed as duplicative of ISR 15-11-0030 and ISR
15-11-0029. Id. He further alleged that the conduct
report did not provide him with enough information to
challenge the allegations against him. Id. Finally,
he requested witness statements from the alleged visitor and
offenders with whom he was allegedly trafficking.
hearing officer found Mr. Berry guilty of offense A-100 based
on the conduct report, Mr. Berry's statement, and the
information contained in Confidential Case File 15-CIC-0029.
Id. at 1. Mr. Berry received the following
sanctions: a written reprimand, 45 days of phone restriction,
365 days of restrictive housing, a 154-day loss of good-time
credit, and a two-step demotion in credit class. Id.
Berry appealed to the Warden, arguing that he received
duplicative conduct reports in cases ISR 15-11-0031 and ISR
15-11-0030, and that due to these duplicative conduct
reports, case ISR 15-11-0030 should be dismissed. Dkt. 7-7 at
1. The Facility Designee, Sarah Peckham, denied the appeal on
January 4, 2016. Id. at 2. Mr. Berry then appealed
to the Final Reviewing Authority. The Appeal Review Officer
granted Mr. Berry's request to dismiss case ISR
15-11-0030, but denied Mr. Berry's request to dismiss
case ISR 15-11-0031. Dkt. 7-8.