JONES v. SUPERINTENDENT
ENTRY Discussing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus - 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 Jones to the relief he seeks. Accordingly, Jones's petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be denied and the action dismissed. Judgment consistent with this Entry shall now issue. (SEE ENTRY). Signed by Judge Larry J. McKinney on 4/27/2017. (copy to Petitioner via US Mail) (JKS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
FRANK L. JONES,
SUPERINTENDENT New Castle Correctional
Entry Discussing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
The petition of Frank Jones for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary
proceeding identified as No. NCN 15-10-0022. 1 For the reasons explained in this Entry, Jones’s
habeas petition must be denied.
Prisoners in Indiana custody may not be deprived of good-time credits, Cochran v. Buss,
381 F.3d 637, 639 (7th Cir. 2004) (per curiam), or of credit-earning class, Montgomery v.
Anderson, 262 F.3d 641, 644-45 (7th Cir. 2001), without due process. The due process requirement
is satisfied with the issuance of advance written notice of the charges, a limited opportunity to
present evidence to an impartial decision maker, a written statement articulating the reasons for
Jones challenged three disciplinary convictions in his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, but because a
prisoner can challenge only one disciplinary proceeding per habeas petition, his challenges were severed
into separate lawsuits. Dkt 1. This action is proceeding as to the disciplinary proceeding identified as NCN
the disciplinary action and the evidence justifying it, and “some evidence in the record” to support
the finding of guilt. Superintendent, Mass. Corr. Inst. v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985); Wolff v.
McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 570-71 (1974); Piggie v. Cotton, 344 F.3d 674, 677 (7th Cir. 2003);
Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000).
B. The Disciplinary Proceeding
On October 6, 2015, Internal Affairs Officer Dunn issued a Report of Conduct charging
Jones with possession of a cellular device in violation of Code A-121. The Report of Conduct
On the above date and approximate time I, Investigator Dunn, completed my
investigation regarding Frank Jones #912612 attempting to introduce contraband
into New Castle Correctional Facility. On 9/24/15 I. A. Dunn received a phone call
from mailroom supervisor, Jenny Gibson regarding offender Frank Jones #912612
television that was received at the facility. Mailroom supervisor Gibson advised
Internal Affairs to come look at the television because there were items inside it.
Myself and Investigator Williams reported to the mailroom to take the television
apart and pulled out four bags of tobacco weighing 8.1 oz. Captain Rice, UTM
Price, and myself brought the television in the box to UTM Price’s office in O-Unit.
Offender Jones was brought to UTM Price’s office to accept the television. Jones
was asked if he sent out his television to be repaired, Jones stated yes. Offender
Jones was asked to sign a paper acknowledging he received his television. Offender
Jones signed the paper taking ownership of his television. Jones was then instructed
to remove the television from the box. Offender Jones left UTM Price’s office with
his television. As Jones was walking thru the main door to O-Unit, I advised Jones
to put the television down and advised Jones that 12 cell phones were confiscated
out of his television and that he would be receiving a conduct report.
Jones was notified of the charge on October 9, 2015, when he was served with the Report of
Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing (Screening Report). The Screening Officer noted
that Jones refused screening, thereby refusing any witnesses or evidence. Several Incident Reports
were completed prior to the Report of Conduct being issued. One of the reports was completed by
Officer J. Gibson and states:
On the above date and time, I J. Gibson was going through the packages, when I
came across a box that had been refused from Pen Products from offender Frank
Jones 912612 01-108A. Box was suspicious as it had return label from Michigan
City but was appearing to be sent from offender Jones 912612 out for repair. I J.
Gibson opened the box and noticed a foul smell. I J. Gibson took the TV out and
noticed there was contraband inside. I.A. Williams was notified right away.
Property was turned over to I.A. Williams.
One of the reports was written by Captain S. Rice and states:
On the above date and time, I Captain S. Rice witnessed IA J. Dunn and I.A A.
Williams open a TV with offender Frank Jones 912612 01-108A name engraved
on it. As I.A Dunn removed the back of the TV, he removed 12 cell phones, some
green leafy substance, a brown leafy substance, a scraper and a tube of super glue.
After all contraband was removed, I.A Dunn and myself placed the TV back in the
box and took it to offender Jones. Offender Jones was ask[ed] if the TV belong[ed]
to him and he said yes and signed for it. I.A Dunn then confiscated the TV and
advised offender Jones he would be receiving conduct for the contraband.
Officer Williams also completed an Incident Report that states:
On the above date and time, Mailroom Supervisor Gibson contacted Internal
Affairs regarding a suspicious package received through the mailroom. Upon
arrival, Mrs. Gibson stated the television was not sent out through the facility but
sent by an outside person to PEN products. PEN products did not open the package,
rejected it, and it was sent to the return address on the box. The return address on
the package was to Frank Jones #912612, New Castle Correctional Facility. The
package contained a television with Frank Jones’ name and DOC # on it. Inside the
television were 12 cell phones, mar[i]juana, tobacco, box cutters, black electrical
tape, and super glue. Offender Jones then signed  for the television. He also
reported to his CWM that he sent the television out for repair and expected it back.
The Hearing Officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on October 12, 2015. The Hearing
Officer noted Jones’ statement, “I sent the TV out and yes it’s my TV but where is the video
showing [the cell phones]t coming out of my TV.” Relying on the staff reports, the statement of
the offender, the evidence from witnesses, and the photos, the Hearing Officer determined that
Jones had violated Code A-121. The sanctions imposed included a commissary and phone
restriction, 180 days of disciplinary segregation, and the deprivation of 180 days of earned credit
time, and the demotion from credit class II to class III. The Hearing Officer imposed the sanctions
because of the seriousness of the offense, the offender’s attitude and demeanor during the hearing,
and the degree to which the violation disrupted or endangered the security of the facility.
Jones’s appeals were denied and he filed the present petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
Jones challenges the disciplinary conviction arguing that he never possessed the cell
phones. In other words, Jones challenges the sufficiency of the evidence used to convict him. In
reviewing the sufficiency of the 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); see also Meeks v.
McBride, 81 F.3d 717, 720 (7th Cir. 1996) (“because the ‘some evidence’ standard . . . does not
permit courts to consider the relative weight of the evidence presented to the disciplinary board, it
is ‘[g]enerally immaterial that an accused prisoner presented exculpatory evidence unless that
evidence directly undercuts the reliability of the evidence on which the disciplinary authority
relied’ in support of its conclusion”)(quoting Viens v. Daniels, 871 F.2d 1328, 1335 (7th Cir.
1989)). Instead, the “some evidence” standard of Hill is lenient, “requiring only that the decision
not be arbitrary or without support in the record.” McPherson, 188 F.3d at 786.
Here there was sufficient evidence to convict Jones of possession of the cell phones. The
evidence included staff reports and photos of the contraband. The staff reports stated that Internal
Affairs Investigators Dunn and Williams inspected a suspicious package that was addressed to
Jones. The television box was not sent out through the facility but was sent by an outside person to
PEN Products. PEN Products did not open the package, rejected it, and mailed the box to the return
address, which was Jones at New Castle Correctional Facility. The television box had Jones’ name
and DOC # on it and contained 12 cell phones and other contraband. The staff reports also show
that the television was brought to UTM Price’s office and that after being brought to the office and
asked if the television was his, Jones replied that it was. Jones stated that he had sent his television
out for repair and expected it back. Jones signed an acknowledgement form and began to leave
with the television and was then instructed to put it down. This evidence is sufficient to conclude
that Jones coordinated the shipment of the television with another person and was expecting it to
arrive at the facility, such that Jones took possession of his television having knowledge of the cell
phones contained therein. These facts are sufficient to find Jones guilty of possession of the cell
Jones argues that the evidence is insufficient because there is no video showing the items
in the TV. But the “some evidence” standard does not require video evidence. The officers’ reports
are enough. See McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir. 1999) (conduct report is
enough to satisfy the some evidence standard). Jones has therefore failed to show that the evidence
against him was insufficient.
“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 Jones to the relief he seeks.
Accordingly, Jones’s 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.
LARRY J. McKINNEY, JUDGE
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
FRANK L. JONES
WABASH VALLEY - CF
WABASH VALLEY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY - Inmate Mail/Parcels
6908 S. Old US Hwy 41
P.O. Box 1111
CARLISLE, IN 47838
All electronically registered counsel
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