WINEMILLER v. ZODECKY
Entry Denying Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Directing Entry of Final Judgment - The petition of James Winemiller for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. ISR 17-03-0049. For the reasons exp lained in this Entry, Mr. Winemiller's habeas petition must be denied. "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. Winemiller to the relief he seeks. Accordingly, Mr. Owens'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). Copy to Petitioner via US Mail. Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 11/15/2017.(APD)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
MARK SEVIER 1,
Entry Denying Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Directing Entry of Final Judgment
The petition of James Winemiller for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison
disciplinary proceeding identified as No. ISR 17-03-0049. For the reasons explained in this
Entry, Mr. Winemiller’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).
The petitioner’s custodian is substituted as the proper respondent.
The Disciplinary Proceeding
On March 8, 2017, Investigator W. C. Peterson wrote a conduct report charging
Winemiller with (A-111/113) attempting to traffic with someone outside of the facility. The
conduct report states:
On March 8, 2017 at approximately 12:00 P.M. I – Mr. W.C. Peterson
Correctional police officer listened to a phone call Offender Winemiller, James
200037 made to a person he identified as his grandmother. During the phone call
Offender Winemiller asked his grandmother to get Money Grams in the amount of
one thousand dollars and send them to a person identified as Thomas L. Morgan in
Offender Winemiller also asked his Grandmother to purchase three Paypal cards in
the amount of one hundred dollars each and four Paypal cards in the amount of fifty
dollars each. Winemiller directed his grandmother to have the numbers of the Money
Grams ready to give to him when he – (Winemiller) called her back later in the day.
The above referenced call was placed by Offender Winemiller on March 3, 2017 at
approximately 9:02 A.M.
On March 16, 2017, Winemiller was notified of the charge (A-111/113) attempting to traffic.
During his screening, Winemiller pleaded not guilty. He requested a lay advocate, and an
advocate was later appointed. He did not waive his right to 24 hours’ advance notice of the
disciplinary hearing. Winemiller requested a statement from Peterson, but that request was
denied as repetitive because Peterson was the author of the conduct report. Winemiller also
requested a written summary of the phone call, but that request was denied as unnecessary
because the call was sufficiently described in the conduct report. The screening report noted a
mental health code of D, and the DHO reviewed a confidential email regarding Winemiller’s
mental health status in relation to his actions in this case.
On March 22, 2017, a disciplinary hearing was held in case ISR 17-03-0049. Winemiller
pleaded not guilty and provided the following statement: “I believe this is one case it should be
dropped down to a 220. I did call 4 times however I did get something on the last phone call only
received anything.” The DHO found Winemiller guilty of (A-111/113) attempting to traffic.
On March 23, 2017, Winemiller filed a first-level appeal to the head of the facility, which
was denied on April 24, 2017. On April 24, 2017, Winemiller filed a second-level appeal. His
second-level appeal was denied on May 10, 2017. However, on August 18, 2017, the final
reviewing authority reconsidered Winemiller’s second-level appeal. As a result, Winemiller’s
disciplinary conviction was reduced to a B-220/240 attempting to engage in an unauthorized
financial transaction, and his sanctions were similarly reduced.
Winemiller challenges the disciplinary action against him arguing that the evidence is
insufficient to support the conviction and that he was improperly charged multiple times for one
1. Sufficiency of the Evidence
Winemiller first argues that the evidence is insufficient. He states that he never succeeded
in trafficking because no exchange was ever made and that he never attempted to traffic.
Challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence are governed by the “some evidence” standard.
“[A] hearing officer’s decision need only rest on ‘some evidence’ logically supporting it and
demonstrating that the result is not arbitrary.” Ellison v. Zatecky, 820 F.3d 271, 274 (7th Cir.
2016); see Eichwedel v. Chandler, 696 F.3d 660, 675 (7th Cir. 2012) (“The some evidence
standard . . . is satisfied if there is any evidence in the record that could support the conclusion
reached by the disciplinary board.”) (citation and quotation marks omitted).
evidence” standard is much more lenient than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. Moffat
v. Broyles, 288 F.3d 978, 981 (7th Cir. 2002). “[T]he relevant question is whether there is any
evidence in the record that could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary board.” Hill,
472 U.S. at 455-56.
Winemiller was originally convicted of committing the offense A-111/113 attempting to
traffic with someone outside the facility. Winemiller argued that the facts would only support a
charge of B-220/240 attempting to engage in an unauthorized financial transaction. On August
18, 2017, the final reviewing authority reconsidered his second-level appeal and changed his
disciplinary conviction to B-220/240 attempting to engage in an unauthorized financial
transaction, which is a lesser included offense. Offense B-220, unauthorized financial
transaction, is defined as: “Engaging in or possessing materials used for unauthorized financial
transactions. This includes, but is not limited to, the use or possession of identifying information
of credit cards, debit cards, or any other card used to complete a financial transaction.”
Conspiracy/Attempting/Aiding or Abetting, is defined as: “Attempting to commit any Class B
offense; aiding, commanding, inducing, counseling, procuring or conspiring with another person
to commit any Class B offense.”
After his appeals, Winemiller was ultimately charged with attempting to engage in an
unauthorized financial transaction. The Conduct Report states that Winemiller tried to convince
his grandmother to obtain Money Grams and PayPal cards on his behalf and then give him the
Money Gram number. There is no evidence, and Winemiller does not argue, that he had
authorization to make such a transaction. The evidence is therefore sufficient to support the
conviction. McPherson v. McBridge, 188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir. 1999) (Conduct Report “alone”
can “provide ‘some evidence’ for the . . . decision.”).
2. One Incident
Winemiller also argues that he should not have been charged with multiple attempts to
engage in unauthorized financial transaction because it “was based off of one incident that
occurred the same day….” At his disciplinary hearing, Winemiller said, “I did call 4 times
however I did [not] get something [until] the last phone call .” Winemiller made several calls to
his grandmother attempting to convince her to send money to a man in Shelbyville on his behalf.
There is evidence in the record that Winemiller was convicted of attempted trafficking based on
a different phone call he made to his grandmother on the same day, at 10:28 a.m. asking her to
send money to the same man in this case. But here, Winemiller made the call to his grandmother
at 9:02 a.m. on March 3, 2017, an hour and half earlier than the phone call at issue in disciplinary
case. There was no due process violation in charging Winemiller with multiple counts of
attempting to traffic when he did, in fact, attempt to traffic in separate phone calls.
“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. Winemiller to the relief
he seeks. Accordingly, Mr. Owens’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be denied and the
Judgment consistent with this Entry shall now issue.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
WESTVILLE - CF
WESTVILLE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
5501 South 1100 West
WESTVILLE, IN 46391
Andrea Elizabeth Rahman
OFFICE OF THE INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL
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