Hardman v. Superintendent
OPINION AND ORDER: DENYING 1 PETITION for Writ of Habeas Corpus. The clerk DIRECTED to enter judgment accordingly. Signed by Judge Robert L Miller, Jr on 9/5/2017. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(lhc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
CAUSE NO. 3:16-CV-801-RLM-MGG
OPINION AND ORDER
Jerry Hardman, a prisoner without an attorney, filed a habeas corpus
petition challenging the prison disciplinary hearing (WCC 16-06-162) in which a
disciplinary hearing officer found him guilty of attempting to traffic in violation of
Indiana Department of Correction policy A-111. He was sanctioned with the loss
of 30 days earned credit time. Mr. Hardman raises two grounds in his petition,
which he claims entitle him to habeas corpus relief.
The Conduct Report charged Mr. Hardman as follows:
On the above date [June 5, 2016] at approximately 7:30am offender
Hardman, Jerry doc# 978729 stated to me, Officer Johnson, by the
officer station that he has a proposition for me that could make me
and him some money. He further stated that he has a cell phone and
he will give me some cash money to purchase a disposable phone to
contact him on tonight, to discuss the proposition.
ECF 6-1. The Department of Correction prohibits inmates from “[e]ngaging in
trafficking (as defined in IC 35-44.1-3-5) with anyone who is not an offender
residing in the same facility.”
Indiana Department of Correction, Adult
.pdf. Indiana law defines trafficking as:
(b) A person who, without the prior authorization of the person
in charge of a penal facility or juvenile facility, knowingly or
(1) delivers, or carries into the penal facility or juvenile
facility with intent to deliver, an article to an inmate or child of
(2) carries, or receives with intent to carry out of the
penal facility or juvenile facility, an article from an inmate or
child of the facility; or
(3) delivers, or carries to a worksite with the intent to
deliver, alcoholic beverages to an inmate or child of a jail work
crew or community work crew…
Ind. Code § 35-44.1-3-5 (West). IDOC A-111, the offense Mr. Hardman was
convicted of violating, prohibits offenders from “[a]ttempting or conspiring or
aiding and abetting with another to commit any Class A offense.” Indiana
Department of Correction, Adult Disciplinary Process: Appendix I. Trafficking is
a Class A offense. Id.
In Ground One, Mr. Hardman argues that he was entrapped into trafficking.
He claims that when he initially propositioned Officer Johnson, she told him that
she wasn’t interested in his proposal, and walked away. Mr. Hardman claims that
ten minutes later Officer Johnson returned, told him that she wanted to accept
his offer, he accepted, and she asked for him for a phone number where she
should reach him to arrange the financial transaction. Mr. Hardman appears to
argue that he was entrapped into trafficking because after his initial offer was
rejected it was Officer Johnson who initiated the scheme.
Ground One doesn’t state a claim for habeas corpus relief. Department of
Correction policy prohibits offenders from participating in a scheme to traffic —
the offender need not have initiated the scheme. Moreover, entrapment isn’t a
defense in the prison disciplinary context. “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).
Defenses that might be applicable in a criminal trial don’t apply in the disciplinary
context. See e.g., Scruggs v. Jordan, 485 F.3d 934, 939 (7th Cir. 2007) (selfdefense is “certainly not” an available defense to prisoner’s disciplinary conviction
for assault and battery). In fact, prison officials wouldn’t be required to accept
such defenses even if the prisoner was able to establish that he would have a
substantive right to the defense in the criminal context. Id. Rather, the prison’s
administrative needs trump the prisoner’s right to pursue all possible defenses to
his disciplinary charge. Id; see also Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. at 566. Ground
One does not identify a basis for habeas corpus relief.
In Ground Two, Mr. Hardman argues that he was denied timely access to
a written report of the disciplinary findings, and thus was unable to file a timely
administrative appeal of those findings. Prisoners don’t have a constitutional right
to an effective prison grievance system. Kervin v. Barnes, 787 F.3d 833, 835 (7th
Cir. 2015) (“the inadequacies of the grievance process itself, as distinct from its
consequences, cannot form the basis for a constitutional claim”). Because the
Respondent hasn’t asserted an exhaustion defense, Mr. Hardman’s access to his
administrative appeals has no bearing on his federal habeas corpus claim. While
offenders are entitled to a written statement by the fact-finder as to the evidence
relied upon and the reasons for the disciplinary action taken, see Wolff v.
McDonnell, 418 U.S. at 563, there is no due process time-frame in which such a
report must be provided. Ground Two does not identify a basis for habeas corpus
The court DENIES the petition for writ of habeas corpus. (ECF 1) The clerk
shall enter judgment accordingly.
ENTERED: September 5 , 2017.
/s/ Robert L. Miller, Jr.
United States District Court
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