ROGERS v. BUTTS et al
ENTRY Discussing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus - The petition of Steven Rogers for a writ of habeas corpus must be denied and this action dismissed with prejudice. Judgment consistent with this Entry shall now issue. Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 12/28/2012. Copy Mailed to Petitioner via U.S. Mail.(JD)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
Entry Discussing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
For the reasons explained in this Entry, the petition of Steven Rogers for a
writ of habeas corpus must be denied and this action dismissed with prejudice.
The pleadings and the expanded record in this action establish the following:
Rogers is confined at an Indiana prison. He seeks a writ of habeas
corpus with respect to a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. ISR 12-060050, wherein he was found guilty of having violated prison rules of conduct by
being in possession of intoxicants.
On June 12, 2012, a conduct report was issued reciting that on that
day Officer J. Corey was doing a random shakedown at the bed location assigned to
Rogers and found a quantity of intoxicants in a property box.
After being supplied with a copy of the written charge and notified of
his procedural rights, a hearing was conducted on June 18, 2012. Rogers was found
guilty of the misconduct with which he had been charged. He was sanctioned, in
part, with the deprivation of a period of earned good-time and a demotion in his
credit class, his administrative appeals were rejected, and this action followed.
A federal court may issue a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
' 2254(a) only if it finds the applicant Ais in custody in violation of the Constitution
or laws or treaties of the United States.@ Id. When a prison disciplinary proceeding
results in a sanction which affects the expected duration of a prisoner=s
confinement, typically through the deprivation of earned good-time credits or the
demotion in credit earning class, the state may not deprive inmates of good-time
credits without following constitutionally adequate procedures to ensure that the
credits are not arbitrarily rescinded and habeas corpus is the proper remedy.
Cochran v. Buss, 381 F.3d 637, 639 (7th Cir. 2004).
"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
v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 556 (1974). In these circumstances, Rogers was entitled
to the following process before being deprived of his liberty interests: (1) advance (at
least 24 hours before hearing) written notice of the claimed violation; (2) the
opportunity to be heard before an impartial decision-maker; (3) the opportunity to
call witnesses and present documentary evidence (when consistent with
institutional safety); and (4) a written statement by the fact-finder of the evidence
relied on and the reasons for the disciplinary action. Rasheed-Bey v. Duckworth, 969
F.2d 357, 361 (7th Cir. 1992). In addition, there is a substantive component to the
issue, which requires that the decision of a conduct board be supported by "some
evidence." Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445 (1985).
Under Wolff and Hill, Rogers received all the process to which he was
entitled. That is, the charge was clear, adequate notice was given, and the evidence
was sufficient. In addition, (1) Rogers was given the opportunity to appear before
the hearing officer and make a statement concerning the charge, (2) the hearing
officer issued a sufficient statement of his findings, and (3) the hearing officer
issued a written reason for his decision and for the sanctions which were imposed.
"The touchstone of due process is protection of the individual against
arbitrary action of the government." Wolff, 418 U.S. at 558. There was no arbitrary
action in any aspect of the charge, disciplinary proceedings, or sanctions involved in
the events identified in this action, and there was no constitutional infirmity in the
proceeding which entitles Rogers to the relief he seeks. Accordingly, Rogers’ petition
for a writ of habeas corpus must be denied and the action dismissed. Judgment
consistent with this Entry shall now issue.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
Branchville Correctional Facility
21390 Old State Road 37
Branchville, IN 47514
Electronically Registered Counsel
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