Deane v. Superintendent
OPINION AND ORDER re 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. The Court DENIES the habeas corpus petition. The Clerk is DIRECTED to close this case. Petitioner is DENIED leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal. Signed by Judge Robert L Miller, Jr on 7/31/17. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(ksp)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
CAUSE NO. 3:16-cv-734-RLM
OPINION AND ORDER
Stephen Deane, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a habeas corpus petition
challenging ISP 16-08-96 where the Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) found
him guilty of the A-100 offense of Violation of Law on August 16, 2016. The
Conduct Report charged Deane with battery in violation of Indiana law IC 35-422-1. He was sanctioned with the loss of 90 days earned credit time and was
demoted from Credit Class 1 to Credit Class 2. Mr. Deane lists three grounds in
support of his petition.
In Ground One, Mr. Deane argues that he couldn’t be found guilty of, and
sanctioned for, violating State law without a jury trial and a judgment entered
by a trial court. Mr. Deane mistakes his prison discipline for a criminal
conviction. “Prison 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). The IDOC
disciplined Mr. Deane for violating its rule requiring inmates to follow state law.
See Montgomery v. Anderson, 262 F.3d 641, 646 (7th Cir. 2001) (affirming
dismissal of prisoner’s habeas claim that prison discipline requires criminal due
process protections where prisoner was disciplined for violating State law). The
IDOC is authorized to discipline offenders in its custody, and this includes the
imposition of restitution. See Ind. Code 11-11-5 et seq. The IDOC defines offense
A-100 as follows: “[v]iolation of any federal, state or local criminal law (Must
specify by name and criminal code number).” Disciplinary Code for Adult
Offenders, Appendix I. http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/02-04-101_APPENDIX_IOFFENSES_6-1-2015(1).pdf. While Mr. Deane is correct that he was not charged
or convicted with violating Indiana law, neither is a predicate for the disciplinary
offense. Thus, Ground One doesn’t provide a basis for habeas corpus relief.
In Ground Two, Mr. Deane raises a number of distinct clams regarding his
screening, his guilty plea, and his claim that he was entitled to a multi-member
disciplinary board, rather than a single hearing officer. The respondent contends
that Mr. Deane is procedurally defaulted on the claims in Ground Two because
he didn’t exhaust his administrative remedies with respect to these claims.
Indiana does not provide judicial review of decisions by prison
administrative bodies, so the exhaustion requirement in 28 U.S.C. §
2254(b) is satisfied by pursuing all administrative remedies. These
are, we held in Markham v. Clark, 978 F.2d 993 (7th Cir. 1992), the
sort of “available State corrective process” (§ 2254(b)(1)(B)(I)) that a
prisoner must use. Indiana offers two levels of administrative review:
a prisoner aggrieved by the decision of a disciplinary panel may
appeal first to the warden and then to a statewide body called the
Final Reviewing Authority. Moffat sought review by both bodies, but
his argument was limited to the contention that the evidence did not
support the board’s decision. He did not complain to either the
warden or the Final Reviewing Authority about the board’s sketchy
explanation for its decision. O’Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838,
119 S.Ct. 1728, 144 L.Ed.2d 1 (1999), holds that to exhaust a claim,
and thus preserve it for collateral review under § 2254, a prisoner
must present that legal theory to the state’s supreme court. The
Final Reviewing Authority is the administrative equivalent to the
state’s highest court, so the holding of Boerckel implies that when
administrative remedies must be exhausted, a legal contention must
be presented to each administrative level.
Moffat v. Broyles, 288 F.3d 978, 981-982 (7th Cir. 2002). Procedural default can
be excused and the court can consider a claim that wasn’t properly raised if a
petitioner can demonstrate cause and prejudice. Weddington v. Zatecky, 721
F.3d 456, 465 (7th Cir. 2013). Mr. Deane argues that he did present these claims
during his administrative appeal, and asserts his presentation of the claims were
merely “inartfully expressed.” Review of Mr. Deane’s administrative appeals
demonstrates that he is mistaken. In his appeals, Mr. Deane took issue with the
sufficiency of the evidence, the absence of a jury trial and court order, and the
severity of the restitution imposed. He didn’t raise any other argument. Thus,
Mr. Deane’s claims in Ground Two are procedurally defaulted and he cannot
In Ground Three, Mr. Deane takes issue with the conditions of his
confinement before his hearing. The conditions of his confinement aren’t relevant
for purposes of Mr. Deane’s habeas corpus petition. The scope of Mr. Deane’s
present claims are limited to the question of whether he was afforded adequate
due process during his disciplinary hearing. See Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S.
539 (1974). Ground Three doesn’t pertain to any of his procedural rights under
Wolff, and so doesn’t identify a basis for habeas corpus relief.
If Mr. Deane wants to appeal this decision, he doesn’t need a certificate of
appealability because he is challenging a prison disciplinary proceeding. See
Evans v. Circuit Court, 569 F.3d 665, 666 (7th Cir. 2009). However, he may not
proceed in forma pauperis on appeal because pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3)
an appeal in this case could not be taken in good faith.
For these reasons, the court DENIES the habeas corpus petition (ECF 1).
The Clerk DIRECTED to close this case. Petitioner is DENIED leave to proceed
in forma pauperis on appeal.
ENTERED: July 31, 2017
/s/ Robert L. Miller, Jr.
United States District Court
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