FOX v. SUPERINTENDENT
ENTRY Denying Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Directing Entry of Judgment. The clerk is instructed to update the petitioner's address consistent with the distribution portion of this Entry. Copy to Petitioner via U.S. Mail. Signed by Judge William T. Lawrence on 4/20/2017.(MAC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
) Case No 1:16-cv-0521-WTL-MJD
Entry Denying Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
The petition of Ramon Fox for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary
proceeding identified as No. IYC 15-11-0128. For the reasons explained in this entry, Mr. Fox’s
habeas petition must be denied.
Prisoners in Indiana custody may not be deprived of credit time, Cochran v. Buss, 381 F.3d
637, 639 (7th Cir. 2004), or of credit-earning class, Montgomery v. Anderson, 262 F.3d 641, 64445 (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 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 November 12, 2015, Lt. C. Kent wrote a Report of Conduct in case IYC 15-11-
0128 charging Mr. Fox with assault/battery. The Conduct Report states:
On 11/12/2015 I Lt. C. Kent completed my Report of Investigation on offender
Lawson, Calvin #190062. It was found on the camera system on 10/19/2015 at
approximately 5:38 pm of G-Unit Middle bed area camera that Offender Lawson
had been engaged in a verbal confrontation with Offender Cox, Recole #117225.
After several minutes Offender Cox along with the following offenders Fox,
Ramon # 932844, Coleman Demetrius #163662, Smith, Raymond #132440, and
Keeylen, Kenneth # 911471, began to strike offender Lawson in the facial and body
region with close handed fist. The fight continued in the middle bed area and then
moved down the bed area rows and lasted for approximately 10-15 minutes.
The Investigation Report states:
On 10-21-2015 I Lt. C. Kent began investigating an assault that took place on 1019-2015, that involved Offender Lawson, Calvin #196062. Offender Lawson had
been found on 10/20/2015 with abrasions and contusion on his facial region. During
the review of the camera for G-Unit Middle beginning at 5:38pm the following
Offenders Cox, Recole #117225, Fox, Ramon # 932844, Coleman, Demetrius
#163662, Smith, Raymond #132440, and Keeylen, Kenneth #911471 were found
to begin arguing with Offender Lawson and then began to assault him. The fight
started in the middle of G-Unit bed area and continued down rows 3 and 4 toward
the back. While reviewing the camera at the same time and in the same location
Offender Isaacs, Elijah #238167 can be seen being assaulted by Offender Yates,
Kevin #198425 G2 2U, Harris, Gary #249033, Forest, Antonio #149813, and
Bowling, Steven #113869 by striking him with closed fist in the facial and body
region. After monitoring the cameras for the bed area I began to monitor the camera
for the latrine area when Offender Isaacs can be seen passing by Offender Kelly,
Travis #194195. The 2 offenders had a short conversation and then moved toward
the sink area where offender Kelly is observed striking offender Isaacs multiple
times and then they separate and walk away. Offender Lawson is then seen
stumbling in to the latrine area and attempted to exit through the dayroom when
offender Carson, Anthony #178561 began pushing and pulling the offender away
from the door and in to the shower not allowing the offender to exit the dorm.
During questioning of the offenders involved in the assault, none of them would
admit to anything taking place and or what the assault was over. Offender Isaacs
claims that he was just sticking up for Lawson and that what happened was wrong.
When questioning offender Lawson he claims that the other accused him of stealing
a package but they had the wrong guy.
[Dkt. 9-2, at pp. 1-2].
On November 17, 2015, Mr. Fox was notified of the charge and was given a copy of the
Conduct Report and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing “Screening Report.” He was notified of
his rights and pled not guilty. He requested Offender Lopez as a lay advocate and requested
Offenders Calvin Lawson, Elijah Issaacs, and K. Harris as witnesses. He also requested the video
of the fight. He alleges it would show he did not touch Offender Lawson. [Dkt. 9-4].
Offender Lawson provided a statement that he was not assaulted or threatened by Mr. Fox.
He stated that Mr. Fox was trying to assist him and lend him a helping hand for what he told staff
was a bee sting. [Dkt. 9-6].
Offender Isaacs provided a statement that Mr. Fox attempted to deescalate the situation
because he did not want anyone in trouble and wanted to keep everyone in the dorm safe. [Dkt. 97].
Offender K. Harris provided a statement that he did not know if Mr. Fox was attempting
to stop the fight or not. [Dkt. 9-8].
The Hearing Officer reviewed the video evidence and provided a report of disciplinary
hearing video/phone evidence review statement that states:
Camera Reviewed – G Unit latrine/G Unit Middle
Date – 11/20/15
Time – 3:30 PM
On the date and time above, I DHO I. Faudree reviewed the G Unit latrine/G Unit
middle cameras for an incident that occurred on 10/19/15. After reviewing the
cameras I clearly observe at 5:39:52PM Offender Fox #932844 and Offender
Lawson #196062 walk in the G Unit bed area. At 5:40PM Lawson is surrounded
by a group of offenders and they start arguing with Lawson. At 5:42:47PM I clearly
observe Offender Keeylen # 911471 strike Lawson in the face with his fist.
Offender Coleman #163662 then strikes Lawson in the head with his fist. Once
Lawson is hit he falls to the ground. At 5:42-55PM Fox is clearly observed kicking
Lawson with his left and right feet all over his body. At 5:42:57PM Coleman is
clearly observed striking Lawson with his left and right fist multiple time. At
5:43PM the offenders go out of view of the camera. At 5:44;52PM Lawson enters
the latrine. At 5:44:58PM Lawson tries to leave the latrine is met and pushed onto
the ground by Offender Carson #178561. Carson does this numerous times until
After a postponement, the hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing in case IYC 1511-128 on December 15, 2015. At the hearing Mr. Fox provided the following statement: “Nothing
to say. It was a mistake.” [Dkt. 9-11]. The Hearing Officer found Mr. Fox guilty of the charge of
assault and battery. In making this determination, the Hearing Officer considered the staff reports,
the offender’s statement, evidence from witnesses, and the video. Based on the Hearing Officer’s
recommendations the following sanctions were imposed: thirty (30) days of lost commissary,
phone, and JPay privileges; a demotion from credit class 1 to credit class 2, suspended; and a credit
time deprivation of sixty (60) days. The hearing officer recommended the sanctions because of the
seriousness of the offense, the frequency and nature of the offense, the offender’s attitude and
demeanor during the hearing, and the degree to which the violation disputed/endangered the
security of the facility. [Dkt. 9-11].
Mr. Fox appealed the disciplinary proceeding through the administrative process. His
appeals were denied. He now seeks relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 arguing that his due process
rights were violated.
Mr. Fox is not entitled to habeas relief because he was afforded due process. He asserts the
following claims: 1) he alleges there are inconsistencies in the conduct report, video review, and
investigation report which challenge the reliability of the evidence used against him; and 2)
because he was not placed in segregation as a sanction, he must not have committed the crime.
Mr. Fox’s first claim is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. 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.
The evidence here was constitutionally sufficient. See Henderson v. United States Parole
Comm’n, 13 F.3d 1073, 1077 (7th Cir. 1993) (a federal habeas court “will overturn the [hearing
officer’s] decision only if no reasonable adjudicator could have found [the petitioner] guilty of the
offense on the basis of the evidence presented.”). According to the conduct report, the investigation
report, and the video review report, Mr. Fox is seen kicking and hitting Offender Lawson. The
video review report specifically states, “at 5:42-55PM Fox is clearly observed kicking Lawson
with his left and right feet all over his body.” [Dkt. 9-9]. This evidence is sufficient to support the
guilty finding. Viens, 871 F.2d at 1335 (“once the court has found the evidence reliable, its inquiry
ends-it should not look further to see whether other evidence in the record may have suggested an
The inconsistencies that Mr. Fox alleges in the petition are not in fact inconsistencies. For
example, Mr. Fox argues that the description of the fight in the video review is simply impossible
because he could not have kicked Lawson with both feet in only two seconds, as stated in the video
review. The review states: “At 5:42:55PM Fox is clearly observed kicking Lawson with his left
and right feet all over [Lawson’s] body. At 5:42:57PM Coleman is clearly observed striking
Lawson with his left and right fist multiple times.” [Dkt. 9-9]. The video review only describes the
beginning of Mr. Fox’s battering of Lawson at 5:42:55PM. The review does not say that Mr. Fox
stopped kicking Lawson when Coleman began hitting Lawson two seconds later.
Mr. Fox also notes that Offenders Lawson and Isaacs testified that he was only trying to
diffuse the situation, but the Hearing Officer is not required to believe the testimony of these
witnesses. See Henderson, 13 F.3d at 1078 (“the DHO was not required to accept as true either
[the petitioner’s] version of the events or that of his three witnesses”). Mr. Fox is not entitled to
relief on this claim.
Next, Mr. Fox argues that he must not have committed the crime because he was not placed
in disciplinary segregation which is a typical punishment for the charge of assault and battery.
Segregation is not the only available punishment when an offender is found guilty of Class B
assault and battery. The Adult Disciplinary Code (“ADC”) states “any allowable sanction or
combination of sanctions may be imposed.” See www. in/gov/idoc/files/02-04-101. The allowable
sanctions for a Class B charge are set forth in the ADC:
Based on this, the sanctions Mr. Fox received, thirty (30) days of lost commissary, phone,
and JPay privileges; a demotion from credit class 1 to credit class 2, suspended; and a credit time
deprivation of sixty (60) days, are entirely consistent with the Indiana Department of Correction’s
Policy and Administrative Procedures. There is simply no basis for his claim that he must not have
committed the crime because he was not placed in disciplinary segregation. Mr. Fox is not entitled to
“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 Mr. Fox to the relief he seeks.
Accordingly, Mr. Fox’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be denied and the action
Judgment consistent with this Entry shall now issue.
The clerk is instructed to update the petitioner’s address consistent with the distribution
portion of this Entry.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
Ramon Fox, #932844
Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
6908 S. Old U.S. Highway 41
Carlisle, IN 47838
Electronically registered counsel
NOTE TO CLERK: PROCESSING THIS DOCUMENT REQUIRES ACTIONS IN ADDITION TO DOCKETING AND DISTRIBUTION.
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?