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Verser v. McCann

May 28, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael M. Mihm United States District Judge


Before the Court is Petitioner Glenn Verser's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Verser's Petition [#4].


Verser objects to the disciplinary measures taken against him from an incident involving the prison school administrator, Heather Zahm, while he was incarcerated at the Centralia Correctional Center. As a result of the incident and the corresponding incident report, Verser was disciplined to six months C grade, six months segregation, revocation of good time credit for six months, and disciplinary transfer. Verser's § 2254 petition challenges the Livingston County state court's denial of his petition for writ of mandamus related to the disciplinary procedures involved. The Court will summarize the relevant facts.

According to Zahm's incident report, on December 20, 2005, at approximately 9:30 a.m., Verser "entered the Academic Office without permission, [] stated he needed to speak with [Zahm] in private, [] said I want to be in your circle [the law library] and if [Jesse] Wells [another inmate] can pass a polygraph test then we will be okay." (Ex. B at C-14).*fn1 She "asked [Verser] what he was talking about" to which Verser responded that he "kn[e]w [that she] and Wells [] have something going on, he follows you around like a dog in heat everywhere you go." (Id. at C-14, C-15). Zahm then called Sergeant Reuter on the radio asking him to come to the academic building. (Id. at C-15). Zahm's report stated that Verser responded "don't do that." (Id.). Zahm concluded her report by stating that she felt intimidated, that her welfare was threatened by Verser's comments, and that Verser did not have permission to leave the library and come into the academic office. (Id.); (Ex. F at 2-3). The report charged Verser with three offenses: 307 Unauthorized Movement, 304 Insolence, and 206 Intimidation or Threats. (Ex. B at C-14).

Verser disputes the underlying facts that gave rise to the incident report. According to his version, on December 20, 2005, after repeated requests to increase his law library time, he approached Zahm to "meet that request." (Petition, 2). During these attempts, Verser states that he discovered -- by overhearing their plans to meet in the closet of the library -- that Zahm was involved in a romantic relationship with Wells. (Id.) Verser states that he asked to speak to Zahm about his need for more time in the library and to discuss her personal reasons for denying his access. (Id.) Verser states that the above-referenced disciplinary report followed. (Id.)

Regardless of the underlying facts, the disciplinary report was served on Verser later that day, at 12:50 p.m. (Ex. B at C-14; Ex. F at 4). Verser signed the report acknowledging its receipt and also signed the waiver of 24-hour notice of charges prior to the conducting of a disciplinary hearing. (Id.) The disciplinary report also provided the following notice to Verser which was printed immediately above where he signed acknowledging receipt of the report:


You have the right to appear and present a written or oral statement or explanation concerning the charges. You may present relevant physical material such as records or documents.


You may ask that witnesses be interviewed and, if necessary, they may be called to testify during your hearing. You may ask that witnesses be questioned along lines you suggest. You must indicate in advance of the hearing the witnesses you wish to have interviewed and specify what they could testify to by filling out the appropriate space on this form, tearing it off, and returning it to the Adjustment Committee. If you are found guilty of a serious rule violation, you may be placed in confinement and/or lose privileges, and/or be required to make restitution. In addition, juveniles may receive a delay in recommended parole. (Ex. B at C-14).

The disciplinary report also contained a detachable section on which Verser could identify witnesses "he would like the Adjustment Committee or Program Unit to consider calling." (Ex. F at 3). This witness portion of the disciplinary report submitted by Verser in the state court record is blank and still attached to the disciplinary report. (Ex. B at C-14; Ex. F at 3-4).

The Adjustment Committee met later that day, December 20, 2005, at 2:00 p.m. (Ex. B at C-12-13; Ex. F at 4). The Adjustment Committee consisted of Chairman Raymond A. Ainslie and Christopher R. Pitts. (Ex. B at C-13). According to the Adjustment Committee Final Summary Report detailing the hearing, the following took place: Chairman Ainslie read the charges against Verser (Id.)

Verser pled not guilty to the charges (Id.)

Verser signed the 24-hour waiver (Id.)

Verser stated that he was not authorized to enter the academic office, and that it was his understanding that no one had to give him authorization to enter the office. (Id.) Verser also stated that Zahn allowed him to enter the office when he knocked. (Id.) Verser requested witnesses and asked that Internal Affairs investigate. (Id.) ...

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