BOWERS v. BROWN
Denying Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Directing Entry of Final Judgment - Accordingly, his petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be denied (See Entry). Copy sent to Petitioner via US Mail. Signed by Judge Larry J. McKinney on 1/9/2017.(DW)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
TERRE HAUTE DIVISION
RICHARD BROWN also known as DICK
Case No. 2:15-cv-00382-LJM-DKL
Denying Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
and Directing Entry of Final Judgment
AA prisoner challenging the process he was afforded in a prison disciplinary proceeding
must meet two requirements: (1) he has a liberty or property interest that the state has interfered
with; and (2) the procedures he was afforded upon that deprivation were constitutionally deficient.@
Scruggs v. Jordan, 485 F.3d 934, 939 (7th Cir. 2007). The question presented by this action for
habeas corpus relief brought by Eugene Bowers, a state prisoner, is whether the prison disciplinary
proceeding he challenges is tainted by constitutional error.
Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974), prescribes the procedural protections afforded an
inmate who faces the loss of earned good time or a demotion in time earning classification.
Where a prison disciplinary hearing may result in the loss of good time credits,
Wolff held that the inmate must receive: (1) advance written notice of the
disciplinary charges; (2) an opportunity, when consistent with institutional safety
and correctional goals, to call witnesses and present documentary evidence in his
defense; and (3) a written statement by the factfinder of the evidence relied on and
the reasons for the disciplinary action. 418 U.S. at 563-567.
Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985).
In the present case, the pleadings and the expanded record show that a conduct report in No.
WVD 15-06-0038 charging Bowers with disorderly conduct was issued on June 13, 2015. The
conduct report describes an incident which occurred on the morning of June 13, 2015, wherein
Bowers and other inmates were in a line waiting for ice to be distributed. This occurred during
“inside recreation” for the inmates and consisted of Bowers taking a scoop of ice back to his cell
and returning a few minutes later. This detour was unauthorized, was contrary to the reporting
officer’s direct instructions to Bowers, and caused the other inmates waiting in line for the ice
machine getting “visibly agitated.” Other officers, whose principal duties at that time were
elsewhere, arrived to assist with the situation.
Bowers was notified of the charge. A hearing was conducted on June 19, 2015. Bowers
was present and made a statement concerning the charge. The hearing officer considered that
statement, along with the conduct report, a video of the incident, and other evidence, and found
Bowers guilty. Bowers was sanctioned, his administrative appeal was rejected, and this action
Applying the requirements of Wolff and Hill as an analytical template, Bowers received all
the process to which he was entitled. That is, the charge was clear, adequate notice was given, and
the evidence was sufficient. In addition, (1) Bowers was given the opportunity to appear before
the hearing officer and make a statement concerning the charge, (2) the hearing officer issued a
sufficient statement of his findings, and (3) the hearing officer issued a written reason for the
decision and for the sanctions imposed. Bowers’ claims to the contrary are without merit.
Bowers’ first claim is that the sanctions which were imposed violated the constitutional
prohibition against double jeopardy. The fact that multiple types of sanctions were imposed
for misconduct does not support a claim of double jeopardy.
Bowers also claims that his right to present evidence was violated. However, the expanded
record does not show that any effort by Bowers to present material evidence was rejected.
Bowers’ remaining claims of irregularities or misconduct by prison officials does not
warrant the relief he seeks because a conduct board (or hearing officer) that follows
established procedures, whose discretion is circumscribed by regulations, and which
adheres to Wolff's procedural requirements, does not pose a hazard of arbitrariness violative
of due process. Wolff, 418 U.S. at 562 and 571.
"The touchstone of due process is protection of the individual against arbitrary action of the
government." Wolff, 418 U.S. at 558. There is no constitutional infirmity entitling Bowers to relief.
Accordingly, his petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be denied.
Judgment consistent with this Entry shall now issue.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
LARRY J. McKINNEY, JUDGE
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
All Electronically Registered Counsel
WABASH VALLEY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY - Inmate Mail/Parcels
6908 S. Old US Hwy 41
P.O. Box 1111
CARLISLE, IN 47838
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