Hardman v. Superintendent
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING 1 PETITION for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Petitioner Jerry Hardman. Signed by Judge Robert L Miller, Jr on 9/5/17. (Copy mailed to pro se party).(cer)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
CAUSE NO. 3:16-CV-802-RLM-MGG
OPINION AND ORDER
Jerry Hardman, a prisoner representing himself, filed a habeas corpus
petition challenging the prison disciplinary hearing (WCC 16-06-161) in which a
disciplinary hearing officer found him guilty of possession of a cell phone in
violation of Indiana Department of Correction policy A-121. Mr. Hardman was
sanctioned with the loss of 30 days earned credit time. Mr. Hardman raises three
grounds in his petition, which he claims entitle him to habeas corpus relief.
In Grounds One and Three, Mr. Hardman argues that the hearing officer
didn’t have sufficient evidence to find him guilty. In the disciplinary context, “the
relevant question is whether there is any evidence in the record that could support
the conclusion reached by the disciplinary board.” Superintendent v. Hill, 472
U.S. 445, 455-56 (1985). “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
disciplinary board’s decision to revoke good time credits has some factual basis.”
McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir. 1999) (quotation marks
[T]he findings of a prison disciplinary board [need only] have the
support of some evidence in the record. This is a lenient standard,
requiring no more than a modicum of evidence. Even meager proof
will suffice, so long as the record is not so devoid of evidence that the
findings of the disciplinary board were without support or otherwise
arbitrary. Although some evidence is not much, it still must point to
the accused’s guilt. It is not our province to assess the comparative
weight of the evidence underlying the disciplinary board’s decision.
Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000) (quotation marks, citations,
parenthesis, and ellipsis omitted).
Mr. Hardman was charged with violating IDOC A-121. The Department of
Correction defines this offense as the “[u]nauthorized use or possession of any
cellular telephone or other wireless or cellular communications device.” Indiana
.pdf. The Conduct Report charged Mr. Hardman as follows:
On the above date [June 5, 2016] at approximately 12:45pm
offender Hardman, Jerry doc# 978729 approached me, Officer
Johnson at the GSC large yard fence line while 10 dorm was
returning from recreation, he then physically handed me a piece of
paper with a cell phone number on it and stated to me “here is my
cell phone number, call me after nine pm to talk about the
The hearing officer had sufficient evidence to find Mr. Hardman guilty of
possession of a cell phone. Mr. Hardman admitted to Officer Johnson that he had
a cell phone, and he provided her with the phone number where he could be
reached. This alone was sufficient to find Mr. Hardman guilty. The hearing officer
needed a mere “modicum” of evidence to find Mr. Hardman guilty. See Webb v.
Anderson, 224 F.3d 652. The hearing officer had evidence of an admission from
Mr. Hardman. While the phone wasn’t located, the hearing officer didn’t need to
see the phone on Mr. Hardman’s person to find him guilty of possession. See
Brenneman v. Knight, 297 F. App’x 534, 536 (7th Cir. 2008) (finding prisoner
guilty based on circumstantial evidence); Hamilton v. O’Leary, 976 F.2d 341, 345
(7th Cir. 1992) (finding offender guilty based on offender’s constructive possession
of contraband). Furthermore, “[t]he Federal Constitution does not require evidence
that logically precludes any conclusion but the one reached by the disciplinary
board.” Hill v. Sup’t, 472 U.S. at 457. While it is possible that Mr. Hardman lied
about his possession of the cell phone or provided a cell phone number belonging
to another offender (theories he does not present), the hearing officer nevertheless
had enough evidence to find him guilty of possession. Grounds One and Three do
not identify a basis for habeas corpus relief.
In Ground Two, Mr. Hardman argues that he improperly received multiple
Conduct Reports and multiple sanctions for incidents that were all part of one
trafficking scheme. Mr. Hardman claims that his discipline in this case was
cumulative of his discipline in two other cases, WCC 16-06-162 and WCC 16-06163, in which he was charged and disciplined for attempting to traffic with Officer
Johnson. In his other two cases, Mr. Hardman was disciplined for attempted
trafficking in violation of IDOC A-111. In this case, Mr. Hardman was disciplined
for possession of a cell phone in violation of IDOC A-121. That Mr. Hardman
committed numerous infractions on the same day doesn’t mean that the
Department of Correction could not discipline him for each of his separate
infractions. Ground Two doesn’t identify a basis for habeas corpus relief.
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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