United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
June 6, 2005.
RONNIE L. McATEE, Petitioner,
EUGENE M. McADORY, Respondent.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES FOREMAN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Before the Court is the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate
Judge Wilkerson, (Doc. 39), recommending that petitioner's
amended petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, (Doc. 34), be denied.
The Clerk of the Court has informed the parties of their right to
file objections and of the consequences of not doing so in a
timely fashion. Petitioner has filed objections, (Doc. 41), thus,
this Court shall conduct a de novo review of the motion.
28 U.S.C. § 636(b). All rights to appeal have been waived with
respect to portions of the report and recommendation to which no
objections were filed. Lorenzten v. Anderson Pest Control,
64 F.3d 327, 330 (7th Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 517 U.S. 1136
Petitioner Ronnie L. McAtee has filed a petition under
28 U.S.C. § 2254 to challenge the loss of good time credit that
resulted from eleven prison disciplinary proceedings. These
hearings occurred from April 29, 1998, to August 13, 1998, and
involved various infractions that resulted in a loss of 37 months
of good time credit.
After receiving these disciplinary reports, petitioner filed
grievances. Thereafter, the Administrative Review Board, (ARB), reviewed the disciplinary
reports, and found that it was "reasonably satisfied that the
inmate committed the infractions." Accordingly, the ARB
recommended that the grievances be denied. Petitioner then filed
a complaint with the Circuit Court in Livingston County,
Illinois. This complaint was dismissed for failure to state a
cause of action, and petitioner appealed to the Illinois
Appellate Court which affirmed the dismissal. The Illinois
Supreme Court denied leave to appeal.
Petitioner claims that he was denied substantive and procedural
due process during the disciplinary committee hearings because:
(1) the disciplinary decisions were not supported by reasoned
written records, (2) the disciplinary committee's findings were
contrary to the evidence, (3) the disciplinary committee
arbitrarily disregarded certain evidence, and (4) no reasoning
was given for the disciplinary actions that were taken. The Court
has conducted a de novo review of each of the eleven
disciplinary reports about which petitioner complains. Upon
review, the Court finds that each of these disciplinary reports
contains a section called "Basis for Decision" in which the
disciplinary committee outlined the evidence that it relied upon
in determining that petitioner was guilty of the infractions
listed. (Doc. 1, Exhs.). Clearly, each of these reports
contains "some evidence" upon which to base a decision which is
all that the due process clause requires. See Superintendent,
Massachusetts Correctional Institution, Walpole v. Hill,
472 U.S. at 454, 455 (1985) (The requirements of due process are
satisfied if "some" evidence supports the decision by the prison
disciplinary board to revoke good time credits . . . "Ascertaining whether this
standard is satisfied does not require examination of the entire
record, independent assessment of the credibility of witnesses,
or weighing of the evidence. Instead, the relevant question is
whether there is any evidence in the record that could support
the conclusion reached by the disciplinary board.").
Petitioner also argues that disciplinary committee's findings
were contrary to the evidence and that the disciplinary committee
arbitrarily disregarded certain evidence. First, the Court notes
that petitioner does not identify what evidence he claims that
the committee disregarded. (See Doc. 3, pp. 27-29). Second,
petitioner's argument is a challenge to the committee's
credibility determinations. Such an analysis is not required by
the Due Process Clause. See Superintendent, 472 U.S. at 455-456
(citations omitted) (The fundamental fairness guaranteed by the
Due Process Clause does not require courts to set aside decisions
of prison administrators that have some basis in fact. Revocation
of good time credits is not comparable to a criminal conviction,
. . . and neither the amount of evidence necessary to support
such a conviction, . . . nor any other standard greater than some
evidence applies in this context.).
Finally, petitioner objects to the Report and Recommendation on
the ground that the Magistrate Judge failed to address
petitioner's assertion that the hearing committee was not fair
and impartial. Specifically, petitioner claims that Hearing
Officers Quinley and McCoy violated 20 Ill. Admin. Code tit. I, §
504.80(d) which petitioner cites as follows: Section (d): Any person who initiated the allegations
which serve as the basis for the disciplinary report,
or who conducted an investigation into those
allegations, or who witnessed the incident or who is
otherwise impartial shall not serve on the adjustment
committee hearing that disciplinary report.
(Doc. 3, p. 20).
Under Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 570-71 (1974),
petitioner has a right to impartial disciplinary proceedings. The
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has noted
that this impartiality requirement mandates that any
decisionmaker who is directly or substantially involved in the
incident underlying a prison disciplinary hearing must be
disqualified. Gaither v. Anderson, 236 F.3d 817, 820 (7th Cir.
2000), overruled on other grounds by White v. Ind. Parole Bd.,
266 F.3d 759, 768 (7th Cir. 2001)).
Here, however, petitioner fails to specify why he thinks that
Quinley and McCoy were not impartial. The Court has reviewed each
of the disciplinary reports, and has found no evidence that
either Quinley or McCoy were directly or substantially involved
in the incidents underlying the disciplinary reports. Upon
review, it appears that all of the disciplinary reports were
instigated and investigated by other officers, and did not
involve Quinley or McCoy as witnesses. Petitioner offers no
evidence whatsoever that Quinley and McCoy were not impartial,
thus, petitioner's claim in this regard must fail.*fn1 After conducting a de novo review, this Court agrees with the
findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge. Accordingly,
this Court ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge (Doc. 39). Petitioner's amended petition under
28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Doc. 34) is DENIED. This action is dismissed
with prejudice. A separate Judgment shall accompany this Order.
IT IS SO ORDERED.