Goodwin v. Superintendent
OPINION AND ORDER: The Court DENIES 2 PETITION for Writ of Habeas Corpus, filed by D'Andre L Goodwin. The Clerk is DIRECTED to close this case. Petitioner is DENIED leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal. Signed by Judge Philip P Simon on 9/15/2017. (Copy mailed to pro se party via e-file)(lhc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
D’ANDRE L. GOODWIN,
CAUSE NO. 3:17-CV-75-PPS-MGG
OPINION AND ORDER
D’Andre L. Goodwin, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a habeas corpus petition
challenging the prison disciplinary hearing (WCC 16-04-693) where a Disciplinary Hearing
Officer (DHO) found him guilty of trafficking in violation of Indiana Department of
Correction (IDOC) policy A-113. ECF 2 at 1. As a result, he was sanctioned with the loss of
90 days earned credit time and was demoted from Credit Class 1 to Credit Class 2. ECF 9-5
In Grounds One and Two, Goodwin argues that the DHO did not 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).
Here, Goodwin was charged with violating IDOC A-113. IDOC A-113 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.” IDOC Adult Disciplinary Process: Appendix
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 intentionally:
(1) delivers, or carries into the penal facility or juvenile facility with
intent to deliver, an article to an inmate or child of the facility;
(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;
(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). The Conduct Report charged Goodwin as follows:
On 3/3/2016, this Investigator discovered that Offender D’Andre Goodwin
128712 was engaging in trafficking with a person who is not an offender
residing at the same facility, with the help of a civilian.
For additional information refer to Report of Investigation.
ECF 9-1 (emphasis in original). The Report of Investigation states,
It was discovered that Offender D’Andre Goodwin 128712 used civilian
Dandrell Johnson to handle the following financial transactions from another
party for Offender (Name withheld in case report):
10/5/2015 $100.00 Western Union
11/13/2015 $100.00 Western Union
12/6/2015 $100.00 Western Union
12/8/2015 $50.00 Western Union
For additional information refer to I & I case report # 16-WCC-0031.
ECF 9-3 at 2 (emphasis in original).
The DHO had sufficient evidence to find Goodwin guilty. Evidence contained in the
confidential investigation file establishes that another offender1 directed his parents to send
money to the friends and relatives of 15 other offenders in furtherance of a trafficking
scheme. ECF 9-3 at 2-3; ECF 11 at 3-7. Over the course of a one-year period, the inmate’s
parents sent more than $7,000 to the relatives of other inmates. ECF 11, at 104-105. With
respect to Goodwin, investigators discovered that the inmate’s parents sent a series of
payments to Goodwin’s son. ECF 11, at 6; 109, 111, 212. The investigation file contains
receipts of the transactions to Goodwin’s son. See ECF 11 at 212. Moreover, during the time
This offender’s name will be withheld for purposes of this order. The name of this individual was
only identified in the confidential investigation file, which is under seal in order to insure the safety of the
persons identified in the file.
these transactions occurred, the offender at the center of the trafficking scheme was
discovered in possession of contraband. See ECF 11, at 158, 162.
While the evidence in the investigation file does not identify a “smoking gun”
directly linking Goodwin to contraband that was brought into, or out of, the prison, there
need not be such evidence to support a disciplinary finding. Rather, there must only be
“some evidence” - an evidentiary standard that requires a mere “modicum” of evidence.
Webb, 224 F.3d at 652. The evidence contained in the investigation file meets this standard.
While it is possible that there may be other explanations for the suspicious transactions
identified in the report, the possibility of alternative explanations is irrelevant. “The Federal
Constitution does not require evidence that logically precludes any conclusion but the one
reached by the disciplinary board.” Hill, 472 U.S. at 457. Moreover, the DHO was permitted
to find Goodwin guilty based on circumstantial evidence alone. See Brenneman v. Knight,
297 F. App’x 534, 536 (7th Cir. 2008) (finding prisoner guilty based on circumstantial
evidence). The DHO had sufficient evidence to find Goodwin guilty. Thus, Grounds One
and Two are not a basis for habeas corpus relief.
Goodwin also argues that he should have been found guilty of the lesser offense of
committing an unauthorized financial transaction in violation of IDOC B-220. However,
harshness is not a valid basis for challenging a punishment that is within the range of the
offense for which the inmate was found guilty. See United States ex rel. Long v. Pate, 418 F.2d
1028, 1031 (7th Cir. 1970). While there may have been evidence to find Goodwin guilty of
a lesser charge, the DHO was under no obligation to do so. Here, there was adequate
evidence to support the DHO’s determination that Goodwin violated A-113, and thus the
severity of the charge is not a basis for habeas corpus relief.
Goodwin also argues that he is entitled to habeas corpus relief because he requested
all “physical evidence, verbal and documentary,” including the Western Union receipts
used to link him to the scheme. While prisoners have the right to present documentary
evidence in their defense, this right is significantly curtailed by the security and
administrative needs of the facility. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 566–67 (1974). Prison
administrators are granted great deference in determining whether allowing an offender
access to evidence would pose an undue risk to the facility. Here, it was not unreasonable
for the DHO to deny Goodwin’s request to review “all evidence” related to his trafficking
charge. The confidential investigation file is rife with the personal information of other
offenders and disclosure of this information, including the disclosure of the Western Union
receipts, could certainly pose a risk to the individual at the center of the trafficking scheme.
Goodwin also claims that he was never provided with a chain of custody report for
the receipts. However, he was not entitled to a chain of custody report. “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, 418 U.S. at 556. In prison disciplinary
cases, due process does not require a complete chain of custody. Rather, “[a]bsent some
affirmative indication that a mistake may have been made, [the] hypothetical possibility
of tampering does not render evidence inadmissible, but goes instead to the weight of the
evidence.” Webb, 224 F.3d at 653. Here, there is no affirmative indication – or even an
allegation – that a mistake was made with respect to the evidence. Goodwin’s right to
present evidence in his defense was not impeded in this case. Thus, he is not entitled to
habeas corpus relief on the basis of Ground Three.
If Goodwin wants to appeal this decision, he does not 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.
Accordingly, the habeas corpus petition (ECF 2) is DENIED.
The Clerk is
DIRECTED to close this case. Petitioner is DENIED leave to proceed in forma pauperis on
ENTERED: September 15, 2017.
_/s Philip P. Simon_____________
United States District Court
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