Lundy v. Superintendent
OPINION AND ORDER: The petition is DENIED; the petitioner is DENIED leave to appeal in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3). The Clerk is directed to CLOSE this case. ***Civil Case Terminated. Signed by Judge Rudy Lozano on 6/27/2017. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(jld)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
CAUSE NO. 4:16-cv-28-RL-JEM
OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the Petition under 28
U.S.C. Paragraph 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus, filed by Tyson
Lundy, a pro se prisoner on April 11, 2016. ECF 1. For the reasons
set forth below, the petition (ECF 1) is DENIED. Petitioner is
DENIED leave to appeal in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(3). The Clerk is directed to CLOSE this case.
In his petition, Lundy challenges the prison disciplinary
hearing (MCF 15-11-264) where he was found guilty of conspiring to
use or possess a controlled substance in violation of Indiana
Department of Correction (IDOC) policy B-202 and B-240. ECF 4-6.
The DHO sanctioned Lundy with the loss of 90 days earned credit
time. Id. Lundy subsequently filed the present petition. ECF 1.
Respondent filed a return to the court’s order to show cause,
arguing that Lundy is not entitled to habeas corpus relief. ECF 4.
Lundy filed a letter replying to the Respondent’s arguments. ECF
5. This matter is now fully briefed.
Lundy raises two grounds in his petition. In Ground One, Lundy
argues that his due process rights were violated because the DHO
controlled substance) to the charge of B-240/B-202 (attempted use
or possession of a controlled substance). ECF 1 at 4. Lundy argues
that he did not receive adequate notice of the B-240 charge, and
thus could not adequately prepare a defense to this charge. Id.
Prisoners are entitled to notice of the basis of the charges
against them. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 564 (1974). The
notice requirement is satisfied even if the charge is subsequently
amended during, or even after, the disciplinary hearing, so long
as the underlying factual basis of the original charge was adequate
to give the prisoner notice of the allegations against him.
Northern v. Hanks, 326 F.3d 909, 910 (7th Cir.2003); Portee v.
Vannatta, 105 F. App’x 855, 856 (7th Cir. 2004). The same factual
allegations were used to support the finding of guilt for the B240 attempt charge as were used in the original B-202 charge. This
was sufficient to satisfy Wolff’s notice requirement. Therefore,
Ground One is not a basis for habeas corpus relief.
In Ground Two, Lundy claims that he was denied an impartial
decision-maker because the DHO had prior interactions with him.
ECF 1 at 5. It is true that prisoners are entitled to an impartial
decision-maker. Piggie v. Cotton, 344 F.3d 674, 677 (7th Cir.
2003). However, 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). Due process is not
violated simply because the hearing officer knew the inmate or
presided over a prior disciplinary case. Id. Here, even if the DHO
had previous interactions with Lundy, this alone is not sufficient
to prove bias.
Lundy also argues that his case should have been adjudicated
by a disciplinary board, not a single disciplinary officer. Lundy
was not entitled to a multi-member disciplinary panel. Though Lundy
was entitled to an impartial decision-maker, there is no due
process right to a multi-member, rather than a single-member,
decision-maker. While many such hearings have had three member
boards, it would be irrational for the Constitution to impose such
a requirement given that both federal and state criminal trials
(even death penalty proceedings) only require a single judge. Lundy
received a hearing by an impartial decision-maker. Thus, Ground
Two does not identify a basis for habeas corpus relief.
If Lundy wants to appeal this order, 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.
For the reasons set forth above, the petition (ECF 1) is
DENIED. Petitioner is DENIED leave to appeal in forma pauperis
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3). The Clerk is directed to CLOSE
DATED: June 27, 2017
/s/RUDY LOZANO, Judge
United States District Court
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