MANLEY v. BUTTS
Entry Denying Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Directing Entry of Final Judgment - The petition of James E. Manley for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as prison disciplinary case number NCF 16-05 -0252. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Manley's habeas petition is denied. Final judgment consistent with this Entry shall now issue. (See Entry.) Copy to Petitioner via US Mail. Signed by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on 3/13/2018.(BRR)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
JAMES E. MANLEY,
Entry Denying Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
and Directing Entry of Final Judgment
The petition of James E. Manley for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary
proceeding identified as prison disciplinary case number NCF 16-05-0252. For the reasons
explained in this Entry, Mr. Manley’s habeas petition is 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 by 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).
The Disciplinary Proceeding
On May 26, 2016, Disciplinary Review Officer S. Byers wrote a conduct report charging
Mr. Manley with being a habitual conduct rule violator contrary to IDOC Adult Disciplinary Code
section B-200. The conduct report provides:
On the above date and time, while processing conduct reports, I, S. Byers became
aware that Offender Manley, James #900778 is in violation of a code 200 Habitual
Rule Violator. He has been found or plead[ed] guilty to five related or unrelated
class C conduct offenses in a period of six months or less according to OIS.
Offender has been made aware of this conduct report.
Dkt. 10-1 (capitalization modified).
Mr. Manley was notified of the charge on the same day it was written, May 26, 2016, when
he received the screening report and a copy of the conduct report. Dkt. 10-3. He pleaded not guilty
to the charge, did not request witnesses or evidence, and did not request a lay advocate. Id.
However, a lay advocate was later appointed for him. Dkt. 10-4.
A hearing was held on June 1, 2016. Dkt. 10-5. Mr. Manley again pleaded not guilty and
provided a written statement. The statement, essentially his only defense to the habitual offender
Pursuant to the U.S. and Indiana Constitutional prohibition on double
jeopardy, I request this charge be dismissed. I have already been sanctioned on each
of the Reports of Conduct and therefore they cannot be used to support a new charge
of an habitual rule violator. Because IDOC policy does not allow for a conduct
violation to be enhanced, any attempt to charge as an habitual rule violator would
be impermissible attempt at double jeopardy.
Additionally, IDOC policy states that the prior Reports of Conduct must be
unrelated. If you look at the evidence that was submitted you see two reports for
hearings on 5/25/16, and are therefore related. You also see three on 4/21/16, and
are therefore related. As such I only have three class C conduct reports that are
unrelated by time. I would also note that the evidence does not state case number
for any conduct reports.
The hearing officer considered Mr. Manley’s statement, the conduct report, and OIS
printouts and found him guilty of being a habitual offender. 1 Sanctions imposed included the loss
of ninety days earned credit time and a demotion in credit earning class. Dkt. 10-5.
Appeals to the Facility Head and the IDOC Final Reviewing Authority were made; both
appeals were denied. Dkts. 10-7 & 10-8. Mr. Manley then brought this petition for a writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
1. Grounds for Relief
Mr. Manley asserts several grounds for relief in his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. He
asserts that he was denied due process in each of the disciplinary proceedings that form the basis
of his habitual offender conviction. Dkt. 1, p. 2. The other disciplinary convictions are not
challenged, here or in other habeas corpus actions, and this proceeding exclusively concerns the
disciplinary proceeding for being a habitual offender. But Mr. Manley asserts that in three of the
underlying proceedings he did not receive the required advance notice before his hearing, dkt. 1,
p. 5, that his hearing officer was not impartial in another proceeding, id., that he was not allowed
witnesses, dkt. 1, p. 6, that he was not allowed to present physical evidence, dkt. 1, p. 8, that his
right to free exercise of religion was violated, dkt. 1, p. 9, that he was denied administrative due
process, dkt. 1, p. 10, and that he was denied due process in his appeal to the Facility Head, dkt. 1,
p. 11. None of these contentions is relevant to the Court’s review of the disciplinary proceeding in
the instant case.
There were six underlying disciplinary proceedings, all for “refusing an assignment,” a Code C-356
violation, identified as NCF 16-04-0108, NCF 16-04-0136, NCF 16-04-0161, NCF 16-04-0266, NCF 16-05-0184,
NCF 16-05-0185, and NCF 16-05-0186. None of the Class C convictions involved the loss of earned time credits or
a demotion in credit earning class.
As to the habitual offender proceeding, Mr. Manley first asserts that he did not receive the
required advance notice before the hearing was held. Dkt. 1, p. 12. He asserts that he was told that
a hearing would be held within seven working days, and appears to argue that he is entitled,
pursuant to state law, that he be allowed at least twenty-four hours advance notice of the hearing.
Dkt. 1, p. 12 (citing Ind. Code §§ 11-11-5-5 & 35-50-6-4(f)).
Second, Mr. Manley asserts that the disciplinary hearing officer was not impartial because
he had refused to consider some of Mr. Manley’s requests and affirmative defenses in earlier
disciplinary proceedings. Dkt. 1, p. 12.
Third, Mr. Manley seeks habeas corpus relief on the ground that he has been sanctioned
twice for the same conduct. He cites to Indiana state law defining habitual offenders for traffic and
felony offenses and extrapolates those authorities to prison disciplinary proceedings, and also
asserts that because he cannot be a habitual offender under Indiana law, he is not guilty of being a
habitual offender under the Adult Disciplinary Code. Dkt. 1, p. 13. In this ground for relief, he also
contends that his conviction violates the federal Double Jeopardy clause. Dkt. 1, p. 15.
Fourth, Mr. Manley asserts that he was denied due process during his facility level appeal
because, he contends, the Warden did not specifically address each of the appellate arguments
raised. He asserts that the Warden did not “meaningfully review” the case. Dkt. 1, p. 15.
In a summary of his claims section, Mr. Manley appears to incorporate his arguments from
the underlying disciplinary proceedings concerning the calling of witnesses and production of
evidence. However, those alleged claims do not apply to the instant disciplinary proceeding and
are either irrelevant or not properly before the Court. Generally, the Court can review only a
disciplinary proceeding whose sanctions include the loss of a liberty interest and there is present
custody. See Montgomery v. Anderson, 262 F.3d 641, 644–45 (7th Cir. 2001). And in Wilson-El
v. Finnan, 544 F.3d 762, 764 (7th Cir. 2008), the Seventh Circuit held that a habitual rule violator
conviction did not open the door for federal review of the underlying rule violation convictions.
Thus, this Court will review only the asserted due process violations that occurred during the
instant case’s disciplinary hearing.
Respondent agrees that Mr. Manley has exhausted each of his grounds for relief.
The scope of federal court review of a state prison disciplinary proceeding is limited and
concerns due process rights. Only a very narrow set of rights are mandated in prison disciplinary
proceedings. The primary sources for these rights are Wolff, 418 U.S. at 564-572 (setting forth the
rights mandated by due process), and Hill, 472 U.S. at 453-457 (sufficiency of the evidence claims
under the “some evidence” standard).
Advance Notice of Hearing
Mr. Manley’s first ground for relief asserts that he failed to receive twenty-four hours’
notice of the specific hearing date. Wolff requires at least twenty-four hours’ notice in advance of
a hearing, a procedure allowing a petitioner some time to prepare for his hearing. 418 U.S. at
564-72. Mr. Manley was told that his hearing would be held within seven days—thus, he received
much more than twenty-four hours’ notice. Due process does not require that he be informed of
the exact date and time of his hearing, and Mr. Manley asserts no prejudice from having received
more notice than required. There is no federal due process violation implicated.
As for the assertion that the state violated its own procedures by not providing exactly
twenty-four hours’ advance notice of the hearing, the violation of state rules, regulations, and
procedures does not create a due process liberty interest cognizable in federal court. Estelle v.
McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 68 at n.2 (1991) (“[S]tate-law violations provide no basis for federal habeas
review.”). Habeas corpus relief is not available on these aspect of Mr. Manley’s first ground for
relief. Accordingly, the first ground for relief – the lack of notice of the hearing – is denied.
Impartial Decision Maker
Mr. Manley’s second ground for relief is that he asserts the disciplinary hearing officer,
because he had ruled against Mr. Manley in other hearings, was biased against him. A prisoner in
a disciplinary action has the right to be heard before an impartial decision maker. Hill, 472 U.S.
at 454. A “sufficiently impartial” decision maker is necessary in order to shield the prisoner from
the arbitrary deprivation of his liberties. Gaither v. Anderson, 236 F.3d 817, 820 (7th Cir. 2000)
(per curiam). Hearing officers “are entitled to a presumption of honesty and integrity” absent clear
evidence to the contrary. Piggie, 342 F.3d at 666; see Perotti v. Marberry, 355 Fed. Appx. 39, 43
(7th Cir. 2009) (citing Withrow v. Larkin, 421 U.S. 35, 47 (1975)). Indeed, the “the constitutional
standard for impermissible bias is high,” and hearing officers “are not deemed biased simply
because they presided over a prisoner’s previous disciplinary proceeding” or because they are
employed by the IDOC. Piggie, 342 F.3d at 666. Instead, hearing officers are impermissibly biased
when, for example, they are “directly or substantially involved in the factual events underlying the
disciplinary charges, or in the investigation thereof.” Id. at 667.
The hearing officer’s history of presiding over Mr. Manley’s prior disciplinary hearings
and ruling against him in other matters does not violate due process. Redding v. Fairman, 717 F.2d
1105 (7th Cir. 1983); Piggie, 342 F.3d at 666-67. The hearing officer’s review of the underlying
disciplinary hearings is not improper, as it was a review of the evidence supporting the charge.
Ground two is denied.
The third ground for relief Mr. Manley presents is that because he has been sanctioned for
the underlying rule violations, punishment for being a habitual violator is double jeopardy.
Initially, for the reasons explained above, the state law basis for Mr. Manley’s argument does not
transform this claim into a viable federal constitutional question and will not be further addressed.
As to the federal question, Mr. Manley’s instant offense is for being a habitual rules violator. That
is a separate offense from refusing work assignments. There is no Double Jeopardy concern
implicated. Witte v. United States, 515 U.S. 389 (1995). Ground three is denied.
Due Process During Administrative Appeal
Mr. Manley’s fourth and final ground for relief asserts that when the Warden did not
specifically address each of Mr. Manley’s appellate propositions, he did not give meaningful
review to the appeals and therefore denied Mr. Manley due process. As respondent argues, Wolff
does not require an administrative appeals process, and therefore no federal due process concern
is implicated. 418 U.S. at 563-71. However, even if it were, there is no due process violation
implicated on the facts alleged by Mr. Manley. The Warden’s letter denying the appeal does not
violate any due process protections for failing to set out each of the appellate arguments and/or
explain the reasoning in detail. Mr. Manley’s fourth ground for relief is meritless and is denied.
Only four of the grounds asserted by Mr. Manley are directed to the disciplinary hearing
action giving rise to this habeas corpus action. None of the four have merit and are denied. The
other claims are either state law claims not cognizable in federal court, or concern the underlying
disciplinary actions for which this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to consider.
“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. Manley to the relief he seeks.
Accordingly, Mr. Manley’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied. Final judgment
consistent with this Entry shall now issue.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
James E. Manley
New Castle Correctional Facility - Inmate Mail/Parcels
1000 Van Nuys Road
New Castle, IN 47362
Electronically Registered Counsel
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