McNeeley v. Superintendent
OPINION AND ORDER denying 5 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, ***Civil Case Terminated. Signed by Judge Rudy Lozano on 8/27/2014. (rmc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
CAUSE NO. 3:14-CV-1700
OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the Amended Petition under
28 U.S.C. Paragraph 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Jesse
McNeeley on July 31, 2014. For the reasons set forth below the
petition is DENIED.
McNeeley was found guilty by the Disciplinary Hearing Body
(DHB) at the Westville Correctional Facility of possessing a
controlled substance in violation of B-202 on October 2, 2012. As
a result of that hearing (WCC 12-09-348), he was deprived of 50
days earned credit time and demoted to Credit Class 2.
McNeeley argues that the DHB considered drug test results
which were classified confidential and not shown to him. The
Conduct Report (DE 5 at 8) does not indicate that any drug test
results were considered. The reason given for finding him guilty
was solely based on the conduct report. Therefore, the drug test
results are irrelevant to this case.1 Nevertheless, even if the DHB
had based its decision on a confidential report, McNeeley could not
obtain habeas corpus relief because “prison disciplinary boards are
entitled to receive, and act on, information that is withheld from
the prisoner and the public . . ..” White v. Ind. Parole Bd., 266
F.3d 759, 767 (7th Cir. 2001). Moreover, the Screening Report (DE
5 at 10) indicates that McNeeley did not request the drug test
results or any other evidence.
McNeeley argues that there was no evidence that he possessed
a controlled substance. In evaluating whether there is adequate
evidence to support the findings of a prison disciplinary hearing,
“the relevant question is whether there is any evidence in the
disciplinary board.” Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455-56
(1985). “The Federal Constitution does not require evidence that
logically precludes any conclusion but the one reached by the
disciplinary board.” Id. at 457.
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
McNeeley also objects that prison officials, rather than the hearing
officer, decided that the test results were confidential. However, even if the
test results had been considered, it would be irrelevant if their classification
was a violation of a prison rule because "[i]n conducting habeas review, a
federal court is limited to deciding whether a conviction violated the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." Estelle v. McGuire, 502
U.S. 62, 68 (1991).
disciplinary board’s decision to revoke good time credits
has some factual basis.
Id. (quotations marks and citation omitted). Even a conduct report
alone can provide evidence sufficient to support the finding of
guilt. McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir. 1999).
Here, the DHB relied solely on the Conduct Report which stated:
On the day of 9-12-12 approx. time 11:10 AM, I Ofc.
A. Parham, watch offender McNeeley, Jesses 159364 run
into the bathroom area. He was attempting to hide 4 small
green leafy substance wrap up in paper, inside his pant
pocket. Evidence turn in to I.A.
DE 5 at 12. To satisfy due process, there need only be “some
evidence” in the record to support the disciplinary decision.
Superintendent, Mass. Corr. Inst. v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455
(1985). “This is a lenient standard, requiring no more than a
modicum of evidence.” Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir.
2000) (citations and quotation marks omitted). Here, it was not
unreasonable for the DHB to have believed the officer’s eye witness
report that he saw McNeeley attempting to hide four small bags
which contained a green leafy substance. So too, it was not
unreasonable for the DHB to have inferred that the green leafy
substances which McNeeley was attempting to hide were a controlled
substance. This is more than sufficient evidence of McNeeley’s
guilt in this case. Cf. Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445,
456-57 (1985) (disciplinary action supported when inmate was one of
three seen fleeing from scene of assault even when victim denied
fellow inmates had assaulted him) and Hamilton v. O’Leary, 976 F.2d
341, 346 (7th Cir. 1992) (discovery of weapon in area controlled by
four inmates created twenty-five percent chance of guilt supporting
Finally, McNeeley argues that he was not properly and timely
notified of the Superintendent’s denial of his appeal of the DHB’s
findings. However, the violation of a prison’s rules is not a basis
for habeas corpus relief. See Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 68
(1991). Moreover, “[p]rison disciplinary proceedings are not part
of a criminal prosecution, and the full panoply of rights due a
defendant in such proceedings does not apply.” Wolff v. McDonnell,
418 U.S. 539, 556 (1974). Wolff identified rights related to the
disciplinary hearing itself, but it did not provide for any
procedural rights on appeal, nor even for a right to appeal at all.
The Seventh Circuit has explained that Wolff set the limits of due
process in prison disciplinary cases and they should not be
expanded. See White v. Ind. Parole Bd., 266 F.3d 759, 768 (7th Cir.
2001) (“Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308 (1976), warns . . . not
to add to the procedures required by Wolff, which, Baxter held,
represents a balance of interests that should not be further
adjusted in favor of prisoners.”) Therefore McNeeley has not
presented any basis for habeas corpus relief.
For the reasons set forth above, the petition is DENIED.
DATED: August 27, 2014
/s/RUDY LOZANO, Judge
United State District Court
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