JONES v. BROWN
ENTRY - 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 proceedings. Accordingly, Mr. Jones' petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be denied and the action dismissed. Judgment consistent with this Entry shall now issue. Signed by Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr. on 10/17/2017. Copy Mailed. (JD)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
TERRE HAUTE DIVISION
JIMMY D. JONES,
RICHARD BROWN Superintendent,
Case No. 2:16-cv-0369-RLM-MJD
Entry Denying Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
and Directing Entry of Final Judgment
The petition of Jimmy D. Jones for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary
proceeding, WVD 16-02-0102, in which he was found guilty of possessing counterfeit documents.
For the reasons explained in this entry, Mr. Jones’ habeas petition must be denied.
Prisoners in Indiana custody may not be deprived of credit time, Cochran v. Buss, 381 F.3d
637, 639 (7th Cir. 2004), or of credit-earning class, Montgomery v. Anderson, 262 F.3d 641, 64445 (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); Jones v. Cross, 637 F.3d 841, 845 (7th Cir. 2011); Piggie v. Cotton, 344 F.3d
674, 677 (7th Cir. 2003); Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000).
II. The Disciplinary Proceeding
On February 18, 2016, Sergeant Lantrip issued a Report of Conduct charging Mr. Jones
with possession of counterfeit documents in violation of Code B-230. The Report of Conduct
On 2/18/16 at approx. 830am I Sgt. Lantrip was observing CAB on Offender Jones,
Jimmy #891782 where he was claiming that he had a set of Wahl clippers on his
inve[n]tory sheet. I then contacted classification and C/O M. Christy to obtain the
original copies. On the copies from classification and C/O M. Christy there was no
Wahl clippers. Offender Jones had a copy that was dated the same day and same
officer where Wahl clippers have been added.
Mr. Jones was notified of the charge on February 23, 2016, when he was served with the
Report of Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing (Screening Report). The Screening
Officer noted that Mr. Jones did not request any witness statements and that he requested as
evidence the original of the document he allegedly gave to the CAB. Dkt. 8-2.
The hearing officer conducted a disciplinary hearing on February 25, 2016. Dkt. 8-13. The
hearing officer noted Mr. Jones’ statement, “I did not present a forged document. Where is the
original that I allegedly gave them. If I did, they should have confiscated it.” Id. Relying on the
staff reports, the statement of the offender, evidence from witnesses, copies of the documents, and
the confidential mental health statement, the hearing officer determined that Mr. Jones had violated
Code B-230. Id. The sanctions imposed included a written reprimand, one month of lost phone
privileges, 30 days of disciplinary segregation (suspended), and the deprivation of 60 days of
earned credit time. Id.
Mr. Jones’ appeals were denied. This habeas action followed.
Mr. Jones argues that his due process rights were violated during the disciplinary
proceeding because: 1) the evidence was insufficient to find him guilty because Sgt. Lantrip
provided him with a copy and not the original document requested; and 2) the hearing officer also
denied his request for the original allegedly forged document.
An inmate “facing disciplinary proceedings should be allowed to call witnesses and present
documentary evidence in his defense when permitting him to do so will not be unduly hazardous
to institutional safety or correctional goals.” Wolff v. McDonell, 418 U.S. at 566. Here, Mr. Jones
alleges that he was improperly denied evidence he requested. Due process requires “prison
officials to disclose all material exculpatory evidence,” unless that evidence “would unduly
threaten institutional concerns.” Jones v. Cross, 637 F.3d at 847 (internal quotation omitted). In
the prison disciplinary context, the purpose of the rule requiring disclosure of exculpatory evidence
is “to insure that the disciplinary board considers all of the evidence relevant to guilt or innocence
and to enable the prisoner to present his or her best defense.” Id. (internal quotation omitted).
Mr. Jones argues that he asked for the original document that he allegedly forged and gave
the CAB “to show the fact finder that the accuser could not produce the actual document that he
claimed Petitioner had forged because such a document did not exist and Sgt. Lantrip and c/o
Chapman had fabricated the entire conduct report….” Dkt. 1, p. 2. The Screening Officer noted
that the “original was copied and returned to offender on date of incident.” Dkt. 8-2. The inventory
list that Mr. Jones presented during the hearing on the other case formed the basis for the charge
in this case. On docket 8-5, the Unit Inventory List of Personal Property marked “copy offender
gave at hearing,” has hand-written words appearing to be “Wahl Trimmers” which do not appear
on docket 8-4. Rather than using terms “copy” and “original,” the record contains and Mr. Jones
was provided what has been offered as the unaltered Inventory List as well as the one that has
hand-written words added. It is the contrast between these two documents that is relevant to the
The record provides no support for Mr. Jones’ theory that the “original” document didn’t
exist. Too, his requests for the evidence used against him weren’t denied. He also has not shown
that any evidence not in the record was somehow exculpatory and prejudiced the outcome of the
hearing. See Jones v. Cross, 637 F.3d at 847 (harmless error analysis applies in this context).
Therefore, his “denial of evidence” claim fails.
“[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). The “some evidence” evidentiary standard in this type of case is much more lenient than
“beyond a reasonable doubt” or even “by a preponderance.” See Moffat v. Broyles, 288 F.3d 978,
981 (7th Cir. 2002) (hearing officer in prison disciplinary case “need not show culpability beyond
a reasonable doubt or credit exculpatory evidence.”); McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784, 786
(7th Cir. 1999) (“In reviewing a decision for ‘some 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.”) (internal quotation omitted). “[T]he relevant question is whether
there is any evidence in the record that could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary
board.” Supt. v. Hill, 472 U.S. at 455-456. The Report of Conduct and copies of the Unit Inventory
Lists, one containing hand-written words and one not, are sufficient to satisfy the low standard for
sufficiency of the evidence in this context.
Mr. Jones was given proper notice and had an opportunity to defend the charge. The
hearing officer provided a written statement of the reasons for the finding of guilt and described
the evidence that was considered. There was sufficient evidence in the record to support the finding
of guilt. Under these circumstances, there were no violations of Mr. Jones’ due process rights.
“The touchstone of due process is protection of the individual against arbitrary action of
the government.” Wolff v. McDonnell, 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 proceedings. Accordingly, Mr. Jones’ 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.
/s/ Robert L. Miller, Jr.
United States District Judge
Sitting by designation
Date: October 17, 2017
Electronically registered counsel
JIMMY D. JONES
WABASH VALLEY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY - Inmate Mail/Parcels
6908 S. Old US Hwy 41
P.O. Box 1111
CARLISLE, IN 47838
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