JONES v. BROWN
ENTRY Discussing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus - The petition of Jimmy D. Jones for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as No. WVE 14-03-0075. Accordingly, Jones' 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 8/31/2017.(DW)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
TERRE HAUTE DIVISION
JIMMY D. JONES,
RICHARD BROWN Superintendent,
Case No. 2:16-cv-0370-JMS-MJD
Entry Discussing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
The petition of Jimmy D. Jones for a writ of habeas corpus challenges a prison disciplinary
proceeding identified as No. WVE 14-03-0075. He was found guilty of Class B Possession of
Electronic Device, Unauthorized Alteration. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Jones’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).
B. The Disciplinary Proceeding
On March 17, 2014, Lt. C. Nicholson issued a Report of Conduct to Jones, for a violation
of Code B-207 possession of an electronic device and unauthorized alteration. The Report of
On 3/14/2014 at approximately 0900A.M., I, Lt. C. Nicholson inspected a flat
screen T.V. with the serial number #FOC3DCOPD. This T.V. is assigned to
Offender Jones, Jimmy #891782. The T.V. has an extra two wires that run from
inside the T.V. to outside the T.V. I took the T.V. to Internal Affairs and K. Allen
confirmed that from his past experiences that this might have the ability to charge
an electronic device (cell phone).
Dkt. 8-1. Officer Allen did confirm that “[i]n my past experiences this is done by offenders to have
the ability to charge an electronic device (Cell Phone).” Dkt. 8-2.
Lt. Nicholson provided Jones with notice of the offense on March 18, 2014, and Jones
waived his 24-hour notice. It appears that while Jones considered seeking a statement from Officer
Allen, specifically asking “Mr. Allen how do you determine that these wires are used to charge
something (cell phone),” this request is crossed out and “changed his mind” is written in the
corresponding field. Dkt. 8-4. Jones did not request any physical evidence.
Jones submitted a written “Prisoner’s Statement” dated March 18, 2014, that challenged
the conduct report and requested that the wires coming from the T.V. be tested for an electric
charge. Dkt. 8-5.
The Disciplinary Hearing was held on March 18, 2014. Jones stated that:
They took my T.V. before. I beat that write up. Now, when I am supposed to get it
back, they took it again because they said it “might” charge a cell phone, because
there are wires coming out of it.
Dkt. 8-6. The Hearing Officer found Jones guilty of violating Code B-207 after considering the
conduct report, statement of offender, and physical evidence, which included photographs and the
email from the Internal Affairs Officer.
The recommended and approved sanctions imposed included written reprimand, loss of
privileges, 45 days of lost credit time, and demotion in credit class from credit class 2 to 3, which
was suspended. The Hearing Officer imposed the sanctions because of the nature of the conduct
and the likelihood that the sanction would have a corrective effect on the offender’s behavior.
Jones appealed to the Facility Head on March 18, 2014, which was denied on April 21,
2014. Jones then appealed to the Final Reviewing Authority, who denied his appeal on June 26,
Jones raises two related grounds for relief: 1) denial of evidence; and 2) insufficient
evidence to find him guilty. Specifically, Jones argues that when he was screened for this conduct
report he requested as evidence that his accusers prove that the television could charge a cell phone
because of the wires added to it. Jones argues that he was entitled to this evidence, but that the
screening officer refused to provide it and instead concealed the denial by altering the screening
report. Relatedly, Jones argues that there was insufficient evidence to find him guilty because there
was no evidence that the wires added to the television did indeed charge cell phones. Jones
contends that without such evidence, he cannot be found guilty.
B207 Possession of Electronic Device is defined by the Adult Disciplinary Process as:
Unauthorized alteration, use or possession of any electronic device,
including, but not limited to: computer, computer software, pager, PDA, computer
disk, CD/DVD, recording tape (audio or video) or associated hardware. (This
offense includes accessing computers, software, the Internet, social media, a facility
LAN, etc. or using such in a manner not authorized by the Department of Correction
and the alteration of authorized electrical devices, such as televisions, fans, etc, for
unauthorized purposes, e.g., charging cellular telephones/electronic devices, etc.)
See Indiana Department of Correction, Adult Disciplinary Process (Appendix I: Offenses),
available at website http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/02-04-101_APPENDIX_I-OFFENSES_6-12015(1).pdf (last visited July 28, 2017).
The “some evidence” standard is lenient, “requiring only that the decision not be arbitrary
or without support in the record.” McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d 784, 786 (7th Cir. 1999). A
rational adjudicator could readily conclude from the content and surrounding circumstances of the
conduct report that Jones possessed a television which had been altered without authorization in
violation of prison rules. Further, the internal affairs officer confirmed that based on his experience
the television was altered to charge an electronic device. Whether or not the wires attached to the
television could successfully charge an electronic device is irrelevant such that any testing of the
wires was not required. There is no dispute that the television was altered without authorization.
Even if the wires could not successfully charge an electronic device, this evidence would not have
been exculpatory. Henderson v. United States Parole Comm’n, 13 F.3d 1073, 1077 (7th Cir. 1993)
(a federal habeas court “will overturn the . . . [conduct board’s] decision only if no reasonable
adjudicator could have found . . . [the petitioner] guilty of the offense on the basis of the evidence
presented”), cert. denied, 115 S. Ct. 314 (1994); see also Hill, 472 U.S. at 457 (“The Federal
Constitution does not require evidence that logically precludes any conclusion but the one reached
by the disciplinary board.”). Accordingly, the denial of evidence proving that the altered wires
could successfully charge a cell phone is irrelevant to the alteration charge.
In reply, Jones argues that the failure to provide him with the evidence he requested (that
is, a statement from Mr. Allen inquiring how he determined that the wires are used to charge
something) violated Indiana Department of Correction’s policy. The claim that prison authorities
failed to follow various policies before and during the challenged disciplinary proceeding are
summarily dismissed as insufficient to support the relief sought by the petitioner. See Keller v.
Donahue, 2008 WL 822255, 271 Fed. Appx. 531, 532 (7th Cir. Mar. 27, 2008) (in a habeas action,
an inmate “has no cognizable claim arising from the prison’s application of its regulations.”);
Hester v. McBride, 966 F. Supp. 765, 774-75 (N.D. Ind. 1997) (violations of the Indiana Adult
Disciplinary Policy Procedures do not state a claim for federal habeas relief). In conducting habeas
review, “a federal court is limited to deciding whether a conviction violated the Constitution, laws,
or treaties of the United States.” Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67–68 (1991).
“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 Jones to the relief he seeks.
Accordingly, 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.
JIMMY D. JONES
WABASH VALLEY - CF
WABASH VALLEY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY - Inmate Mail/Parcels
6908 S. Old US Hwy 41
P.O. Box 1111
CARLISLE, IN 47838
Abigail T. Rom
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
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