Sisk v. Superintendent
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING 19 AMENDED PETITION for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by George Edward Sisk. Signed by Judge Rudy Lozano on 4/5/17. (Copy mailed to pro se party).(cer)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
GEORGE EDWARD SISK,
CAUSE NO. 3:16-CV-661 RL
OPINION AND ORDER
George Edward Sisk, a pro se prisoner, is challenging the
prison disciplinary hearing that was held at the Indiana State
Prison on June 23, 2016, under case number ISP 16-06-203 where the
Disciplinary Hearing Body (“DHB”) found him guilty of Possession or
Use of a Controlled Substance in violation of B-202 and sanctioned
him with the loss of 60 days earned credit time.
disciplinary hearing, they are
entitled to certain protections
under the Due Process Clause: (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 a
disciplinary action. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563 (1974).
To satisfy due process, there must also be “some evidence” to
support the hearing officer’s decision. Superintendent, Mass. Corr.
Inst. v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455 (1985).
Upon review of the record, Sisk received advance written
notice of the charges. (DE #1-1 at 3.) He also had an opportunity
to be heard (Id. at 4), and an opportunity to call witnesses and
present evidence (Id. at 3). In addition, he was provided a written
statement (Id. at 4) by a fact-finder that was supported by some
evidence; Sisk pled guilty to the offense.
Nevertheless, Sisk argues that despite having pled guilty, the
finding of guilt should be overturned because after the hearing, he
was sanctioned with a loss of visitation privileges, placed in
segregation and required to take a follow-up drug screening.
However, claims regarding these sanctions do not support habeas
relief. Federal habeas corpus relief is only available to challenge
the duration of Sisk’s custody. Disciplinary segregation and loss
of privileges affect the “severity” rather than the “duration” of
custody. Montgomery v. Anderson, 262 F.3d 641, 643 (7th Cir. 2001).
Thus, this claim provides not basis for granting habeas relief.
Sisk also complains that the Indiana Department of Correction
policies and state laws were not followed in handing down the
sanctions. However, even if internal rules or policies or even
state law was violated, this would not entitle Sisk to federal
habeas relief. Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991)
(habeas relief is only available for a violation of the U.S.
Constitution or other federal laws); Hester v. McBride, 966 F.
Supp. 765, 775 (N.D. Ind. 1997) (violation of prison policy in
disciplinary proceeding could not support grant of habeas relief,
since federal habeas court “does not sit to correct any errors of
state law”). Sisk also complains that the hearing officer did not
disciplinary hearings. Wolff “represents a balance of interests
that should not be further adjusted in favor of prisoners.” White
v. Ind. Parole Bd., 266 F.3d 759, 768 (7th Cir. 2001). And, as a
final matter, there is nothing in the record to establish that
Sisk’s mental health issues played any role in this incident nor
did it violate Sisk’s due process associated with the hearing.
Thus, this claim does not provide a basis for granting habeas
Not only is there sufficient evidence to find Sisk guilty of
the charged offense, but there has been no showing that he was
deprived any due process along the way. Based on the record, there
is sufficient evidence to find Sisk guilty of use or possession of
a controlled substance, a Class B offense 202, and Sisk has not
made a showing that his due process rights have been violated.
For the foregoing reasons, the amended habeas corpus petition
(DE #19) is DENIED pursuant to Habeas Corpus Rule 4.
DATED: April 5, 2017
/s/ RUDY LOZANO, Judge
United States District Court
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