Radtke v. Warden
OPINION AND ORDER: The Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus is DENIED pursuant to Section 2254 Habeas Corpus Rule 4 and the clerk is directed to CLOSE this case. Signed by Judge Jon E DeGuilio on 3/13/18. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(ksp)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
CAUSE NO. 3:17-CV-875-JD-MGG
OPINION AND ORDER
Richard Radtke, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a habeas corpus petition
challenging his disciplinary hearing (ISP 17-08-384) at the Indiana State Prison on
August 21, 2017, where a Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) found him guilty of
Trafficking in violation of Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) policy A-113. ECF
1 at 1. As a result, he lost 180 days earned credit time and was demoted from Credit
Class 1 to Credit Class 2. Id.
In his petition, Radtke raises four grounds which he argues entitle him to habeas
corpus relief. In all four grounds, he argues there were violations of state policy. ECF 1
at 2-3. However, habeas corpus relief can only be granted for “violation[s] of the
Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Failure to
follow policy is not a constitutional violation. Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 68 (1991)
(“state-law violations provide no basis for federal habeas relief”) and Keller v. Donahue,
271 F. App’x 531, 532 (7th Cir. 2008) (inmate’s claim that prison did not follow internal
policies had “no bearing on his right to due process”).
However, the court will examine the substance of his arguments to see if his
claims also raise constitutional questions. In Grounds One, Two, and Four, Radtke
argues he was charged with an offense that does not exist. ECF 1 at 2-3. He
acknowledges he was found guilty of trafficking in violation of A-113 which requires
“[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.” Adult Disciplinary Process, Appendix I.
However, he argues the conduct report “clearly states that [he] trafficked with another
offender in the same facility.” ECF 1 at 2. In essence, he is arguing that because the
conduct report mentions another inmate in the same facility, there is not sufficient
evidence to find that he trafficked with someone who is not a fellow inmate at his
“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). In the context of a prison disciplinary hearing,
“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,
[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, the Conduct Report states, in pertinent part:
On 08/2/17 at 1:30 p.m., Offender Radtke, Richard # 863530 was
returning from his work assignment from the outside construction crew.
During the search of Offender Radtke, Richard # 863530 and his property
Officer Joseph Takacs located 3 bags stuffed down into the toe of his work
boot. Bag # 1 was a brown leafy substance (Tobacco), bag # 2 was a brown
wet looking substance (chewing tobacco) and bag # 3 was a green leafy
substance consistent with the look and smell of a Synthetic Marijuana (K2). Bags 1 and 2 total weight, 3.4 ounces, bag 3 green leafy substance was
ECF 1 at 6.
Though the conduct report also discusses how Radtke distributed the contraband
within the prison, it clearly explains that he brought it into the prison from outside. As
such, it was not arbitrary for the DHO to have concluded that he was guilty of
trafficking with someone outside of the prison to obtain the contraband.
In Ground Three, Radtke argues the conduct report was not written until almost
two weeks after he was found with contraband in his boot. Though it is unclear why
prison officials waited to write the conduct report, it is clear Wolff did not set a deadline
for doing so. See Sanchez v. Miller, 792 F.2d 694, 702 (7th Cir. 1986) (observing that Wolff
only “sets forth specific minimum procedures and expressly leaves the development of
additional safeguards to the discretion of the prison authorities”).
For these reasons, the petition is DENIED pursuant to Section 2254 Habeas
Corpus Rule 4 and the clerk is directed to CLOSE this case.
SO ORDERED on March 13, 2018.
/s/ JON E. DEGUILIO
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?