Hudson v. Superintendent
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING 1 Habeas Corpus Petition, ***Civil Case Terminated. Signed by Judge Robert L Miller, Jr on 10/26/17. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(mlc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
CAUSE NO. 3:17-cv-302-RLM-MGG
OPINION AND ORDER
Robert Hudson, a prisoner representing himself, filed a habeas corpus
petition challenging the prison disciplinary hearing (MCF 17-01-238) in which the
disciplinary hearing officer found him guilty of disorderly conduct in violation of
Indiana Department of Correction policy B-236. ECF 1 at 1. He was demoted from
Credit Class 1 to Credit Class 2. While Mr. Hudson’s petition identifies three
grounds, each of these grounds 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, 455-456 (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 omitted).
[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).
The conduct report charged Mr. Hudson as follows,
On 01-12-2017 at approximately 06:50 A.M. while working my
assigned post of Chow hall 3 I, Officer B. Dillman, was working the
serving window while LHU was at chow. Offender Hudson, Robert
#221627 LHU-322 came through the serving line and when he
approached the serving window Offender Hudson took two food trays
from the serving window. I asked Offender Hudson why he had two
trays but he did not answer. I then advised Offender Hudson that he
was only allowed to receive one tray and to give me the second tray.
I then reached for the extra tray that was being held by Offender
Hudson. When I did so I had a hold of the tray by the corner and
when I did that I told Offender Hudson to give me the tray. At that
point Offender Hudson said “fuck you” and dumped the tray of food
on me, spilling the food on my uniform. It is being requested that
Offender Hudson pay restitution for the breakfast tray in the amount
of $2.14. Aramark Ms. Gunter was contacted to find out the amount
of a breakfast tray this morning.
ECF 8-1. Mr. Hudson was subsequently charged and found guilty of violating
Department of Correction B-236: “exhibiting disruptive and violent conduct which
disrupts the security of the facility or other area in which the offender is located.”
The hearing officer had sufficient evidence to find Mr. Hudson guilty. A
conduct report alone can be sufficient evidence to support a finding of guilt.
McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d at 786. The hearing officer had the benefit of the
conduct report and surveillance video footage of the incident, both of which this
court has reviewed. The conduct report in this case contained the first-hand
observations of the reporting officer. The reporting officer provided evidence that
Mr. Hudson flipped the second tray onto the reporting officer, and the surveillance
video footage supports what the reporting officer said. In light of this evidence, the
hearing officer’s determination wasn’t arbitrary or unreasonable.
Mr. Hudson argues that the conduct report contained false statements, and
that there were inconsistencies between the statement of the reporting officer and
the statement of the officer who reviewed the surveillance footage. It was the
hearing officer’s exclusive province to weigh the respective credibility of the
witnesses and this court won’t reconsider or re-weigh that evidence. See Webb v.
Anderson, 224 F.3d at 653. In the conduct report, the reporting officer claims that
food landed on his uniform. In the report of the surveillance footage, the report
states that the officer was able to redirect the tray so that it didn’t land on his
person. Whether food landed on the reporting officer’s uniform is immaterial to the
hearing officer’s ultimate finding that Mr. Hudson was being disruptive when he
flipped the tray over.
Mr. Hudson next argues that he was denied an impartial decision-maker. In
the prison disciplinary context, adjudicators are “entitled to a presumption of
honesty and integrity,” and “the constitutional standard for improper bias is high.”
Piggie v. Cotton, 342 F.3d 660, 666 (7th Cir. 2003). While Mr. Hudson couches his
claim as a challenge to the hearing officer’s impartiality, his argument is more akin
to a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. He claims that the hearing officer
wasn’t impartial because she ultimately found him guilty. As discussed previously,
the hearing officer had sufficient evidence to find Mr. Hudson guilty. Without
evidence that the hearing officer was predisposed to find him guilty, Mr. Hudson
has not established bias.
For these reasons, the court DENIES the petition (ECF 1) and DIRECTS the
clerk to enter judgment accordingly.
ENTERED: October 26, 2017.
/s/ Robert L. Miller, Jr.
United States District Court
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?