United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
ROBERT C. WHITE, Petitioner,
JEFF KRUEGER, Respondent.
ORDER & OPINION
BILLY McDADE United States Senior District Judge
matter before the Court is Petitioner Robert C. White's
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241. (Doc. 1). Respondent has filed an Answer to the
Petition (Doc. 5); however, the Petitioner failed to file a
reply. For the reasons stated below, the Petition is denied.
challenges the determination by the Disciplinary Hearing
Officer (DHO) at the Federal Correctional Institution in
Pekin, Illinois to revoke twenty-seven days of good conduct
time because of an incident that occurred while Petitioner
was incarcerated there. Petitioner alleges that the decision
violated his due process rights, as articulated in Wolff
v. McDonell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974), because the DHO failed
to examine a video of the incident, which Petitioner claims
would prove his side of the incident. Petitioner procedurally
defaulted on his claim by failing to timely request the video
be presented as evidence. Therefore, the Court denies
White's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.
is serving a 292 month sentence for a conviction of the
distribution of cocaine base and a conviction of being a
felon in possession of a firearm. (Doc. 5 at 1). He is
currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional
Institution in Pekin, Illinois. Id. He filed a
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241, challenging the loss of twenty-seven days of
good conduct time arising from an incident on February 3,
2011. The incident is described by the incident report filed
on May 17, 2011. (Doc. 5-5).
to the report, Correctional Counselor C. Matthews was
observing inmates walk to the dining hall for dinner.
(Id. at 1). At that time, Counselor Matthews
observed the Petitioner strike another inmate “with a
closed fist to the upper torso.” (Id. at 1).
The other inmate then pushed Petitioner to the ground and
began to kick and punch him. (Id. at 1). The inmates
were separated, medically assessed, and then placed in the
Special Housing Unit. (Id. at 1).
contends that he did not strike the other inmate. Petitioner
alleges that he only “had words” with the other
inmate and then the other inmate “hit [him] in the back
of [his] head which knocked [him] out.” (Id.
at 1). Petitioner was charged with the disciplinary
infraction of “fighting with another person” for
to the Federal Bureau of Prisons's Program Statement for
Inmate Discipline and Special Housing Units, an investigating
officer was referred to the incident to “thoroughly
investigate the incident…and forward all relevant
material to the staff holding the initial hearing.”
(Doc. 5-2 at 48). Lieutenant Parks was assigned to
investigate the incident and he reported his findings in an
incident report. (Doc. 5-5). Part of his investigation
included reviewing the videotape from the camera recording
the area where the incident took place. Id. The
video was irrelevant because the “view of the cameras
that record the compound activities did not have any video of
the incident.” Id. The Unit Disciplinary
Committee (UDC) reviewed the incident report and referred the
incident to the DHO, because the recommended punishment could
not be assessed by the UDC.
received a notice of his impending DHO hearing, which
informed him of his right to call witnesses and present
evidence. (Doc. 5-7). On that form, the Petitioner indicated
the name of two witnesses. Id. However, nowhere on
that sheet does Petitioner indicate that he would like to
present the video as evidence. Id.
Hearing occurred on June 17, 2011. The DHO Hearing report
indicates that during the hearing, the DHO reviewed
Petitioner's due process rights with him at the hearing
and that the Petitioner “had no evidence to
present” and that Petitioner was “ready to
proceed with the hearing.” (Doc. 5-8). The DHO found
Petitioner guilty of the infraction of “fighting with
another person” and disallowed twenty-seven days of
good conduct time. Id. The conviction was based on
the incident report, clinical encounter reports, photographs,
and staff memoranda. Id.
22, 2011, Petitioner filed a grievance with the Regional
Director alleging that the DHO never “made any mention
of [the] camera being reviewed.” (Doc. 3-3). The
Regional Director denied the appeal because the act was
witnessed by a staff member, therefore video evidence was
unnecessary because the Petitioner had failed to explain what
the video would show that was different from the
witness's account. (Doc. 3-4). Petitioner then filed an
appeal with the Office of General Counsel with the Bureau of
Prisons. (Doc. 3-5). Again, Petitioner alleged that the
videotape should be viewed. Id. Petitioner alleged
that an officer doing rounds claimed it might not have
happened how “she had written the incident.”
Id. Additionally, Petitioner alleged that he told
Lieutenant Parks to review the video and that Parks later
stated that the camera was not pointed in the right
direction. Id. However, despite being told this,
Petitioner still believed that the video needed to be viewed.
Id. The General Counsel rejected the appeal,
explaining that the Petitioner had failed to ask “to
review the videotape at any stage of the disciplinary
process.” (Doc. 3-6).
Standards And Discussion
prisoner may file a writ for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 to challenge the duration of his confinement.
Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 490 (1973).
Because good conduct time credits reduce the length of
one's confinement, habeas corpus is an appropriate
vehicle for challenging the loss of that time. Waletzki
v. Keohane, 13 F.3d 1079, 1080-81 (7th Cir. 1994).
conduct time credits are a liberty interest; therefore, an
inmate must be accorded with minimum procedural due process.
Superintendent, Mass. Corr. Inst. v. Hill, 472 U.S.
445, 453 (1985); Montgomery v. Anderson, 262 F.3d
641, 644-45 (7th Cir. 2001). The due process requirement at
issue here is an inmate's right to present documentary
evidence in his defense. Superintendent, 472 U.S. at
454 (citing Wolff, 418 U.S. 539). Petitioner claims
his due process rights ...