EASLEY v. KNIGHT
ENTRY - 8 Motion to Dismiss is granted and this action is dismissed as moot. Judgment consistent with this Entry shall now issue. See entry for details. Signed by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on 12/7/2017. (Copy mailed to Petitioner) (MEJ) Modified on 12/7/2017 to clarify (MEJ).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
WENDY KNIGHT Superintendent,
Entry Dismissing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
The petitioner filed a writ of habeas corpus challenging a prison disciplinary proceeding,
CIC 17-04-0147. The respondent has filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the challenged
disciplinary proceeding and the sanctions resulting therefrom have been vacated, making this
action moot. For the reasons set forth below, the respondent’s motion to dismiss, dkt. , is
granted and this action is dismissed as moot.
The petitioner was subject to disciplinary proceeding CIC 17-04-0147. His sanctions
included the deprivation of 365 days earned credit time and the demotion from credit class I to III.
He filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus on August 18, 2017. While the instant case
was pending, the Indiana Department of Correction final reviewing authority, on November 13,
2017, vacated the petitioner’s disciplinary conviction and sanctions and designated the case for rehearing.
“A case becomes moot when it no longer presents a case or controversy under Article III,
Section 2 of the Constitution.” Eichwedel v. Curry, 700 F.3d 275, 278 (7th Cir. 2012). “In general
a case becomes moot when the issues presented are no longer live or the parties lack a legally
cognizable interest in the outcome.” Id. (citation and quotation marks omitted). A federal court
may issue a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 only if it finds the applicant “is in
custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(a) (emphasis added). Therefore, a habeas action becomes moot if the Court can no longer
“affect the duration of [the petitioner’s] custody.” White v. Ind. Parole Bd., 266 F.3d 759, 763
(7th Cir. 2001).
Here, the petitioner’s conviction and sanctions were vacated and thus can no longer affect
the duration of his custody, which makes this habeas action moot. The petitioner resists this
conclusion, arguing that the IDOC had several opportunities to correct the alleged due process
error—during his screening process and his administrative appeals—but failed to do so, and they
should not now be allowed to do so. Even though the petitioner is correct that the IDOC could
have vacated his sanctions earlier than they did, that does not change the fact that they have now
done so. Because the petitioner’s duration of custody is no longer impacted by the originally
challenged disciplinary proceedings, a ruling by this Court regarding that disciplinary proceeding
cannot impact his custody.
Accordingly, the petitioner’s habeas action is moot. See id. An action which is moot must
be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. See Diaz v. Duckworth, 143 F.3d 345, 347 (7th Cir. 1998).
Judgment consistent with this Entry shall now issue.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Electronic distribution to counsel of record via CM/ECF and by U.S. mail to:
PENDLETON - CF
PENDLETON CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
4490 West Reformatory Road
PENDLETON, IN 46064
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