BRYANT v. KNIGHT
ENTRY DICUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS - The petition of Lorezno Bryant for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. CIC16-04-0161. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Bryant's habeas petition must be denied and the action dismissed. Judgment consistent with this Entry shall now issue. (See Entry.) Copy mailed to Petitioner via US Mail.Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 4/24/2017.(APD)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
Entry Discussing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
The petition of Lorezno Bryant for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison
disciplinary proceeding identified as No. CIC16-04-0161. For the reasons explained in this
Entry, Bryant’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 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 April 10, 2016, Officer Fleming wrote a Report of Conduct in case CIC 16-04-0161
charging Bryant with Assault on Staff, offense A117. The Report of Conduct states:
At approximately 12:33 AM on 4/10/2016, I, Ofc. T. Fleming #42, was on the 3
range of E-Unit. While passing Off. Bryant Lorenzo #202343 3A-3E, Off. Bryant
stepped toward and used his right shoulder and upper arm to hit the right side of
my body, pushing me out of his path. At this time Ofc. K. Flockhart ordered Off.
Bryant to submit to mechanical restraints and Off. Bryant was escorted to ARH.
On April 13, 2016, Bryant was notified of the charge of assault on staff and served with the
Report of Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing “Screening Report”. Bryant was
notified of his rights, pled not guilty and requested the appointment of a lay advocate. He
requested two other offenders as witnesses, and camera footage as physical evidence.
The hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing in CIC 16-04-0161 on May 5, 2016,
and found Bryant guilty of the charge of assault on staff. In making this determination, the
hearing officer considered the video evidence. The hearing officer recommended and approved
the following sanctions: 45 days lost phone privileges, 90 days disciplinary segregation, a 90 day
deprivation of earned credit time, and a demotion from credit class I to credit class II.
Bryant appealed to the Facility Head on May 5, 2016. The Facility Head denied the
appeal on June 7, 2016. Bryant’s appeal to the Appeal Review Officer was denied on June 29,
2016. Upon further review by the Appeal Review Officer, the charge in Bryant’s disciplinary
conviction was reduced from the class A offense of Assault on Staff to the class B offense of
Assault and Battery.
Bryant seeks a writ of habeas corpus arguing that merely bumped into the officer and did
not assault him and that there was no serious bodily injury warranting the conviction for a Class
Upon appeal within the facility, Bryant’s charge was reduced from A117 Assault on
Staff, which occurs when an inmate commits and assault or battery on a staff person resulting in
bodily injury, to B212 Assault and Battery, which occurs when an inmate commits and assault or
battery that does not result in bodily injury. Because the charge was reduced to a charge that does
not require injury to the victim, the argument that his actions did not cause injury is moot. In
addition, there was no due process error in modifying the charge on appeal within the facility.
Northern v. Hanks, 326 F.3d 909, 910 (7th Cir. 2003). The loss of credit time and reduction in
credit class imposed on Bryant are within the range of appropriate sanctions under IDOC policy
for class B offenses. Bryant has shown no error in maintaining the sanctions after the charge was
Bryant’s argument that he merely bumped into the officer and did not assault him may be
understood to be an argument that the evidence against him was insufficient. 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 is
evidence that, including the conduct report, that Bryant struck a correctional officer with his
shoulder. This evidence is sufficient to find Bryant guilty of assault. He has therefore failed to
show that his due process rights were violated.
“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 Bryant to the relief he
seeks. Accordingly, Bryant’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.
INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL
PENDLETON - CIF
CORRECTIONAL INDUSTRIAL FACILITY
5124 West Reformatory Road
PENDLETON, IN 46064
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?