United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MICHAEL N. THOMAS, Petitioner,
NICHOLAS LAMB, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM and ORDER
HERNDON, District Judge
N. Thomas is an inmate in the custody of the Illinois
Department of Corrections. He filed a petition for habeas
relief pursuant to §2254, Doc. 1. As construed on
preliminary review, the petition alleges that prison
disciplinary proceedings which resulted in the loss of good
conduct credit violated petitioner's Due Process rights.
See, Doc. 5.
before the Court is respondent's motion to dismiss
petition for a writ of habeas corpus. (Doc. 10). Respondent
argues that the petition must be dismissed because petitioner
failed to exhaust state judicial remedies. Petitioner filed a
response at Doc. 12 arguing that his failure to exhaust
should be excused because of inordinate delay in resolution
of his state action.
1999, Thomas was convicted of first-degree murder and
sentenced to 40 years imprisonment. See, United States ex
rel. Thomas v. Hodge, 2014 WL 1289607 (N.D. Ill. Mar.
31, 2014)(denying petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. §2254). According to the website of the
his projected release date is December 28, 2018.
November 2013, Thomas was issued a disciplinary ticket
charging him with impeding or interfering with an
investigation, giving false information to an employee, and
“violation of rules.” He was found guilty after a
prison adjustment committee hearing and was sanctioned with,
as is relevant here, revocation of nine months good conduct
credits or statutory good time. Doc. 1, Ex. 4, pp. 11-14. He
alleges that his Due Process rights were violated in several
respects by the disciplinary proceedings.
exhausted administrative remedies in December 2014. Doc. 1,
Ex. 4, p. 1.
also attempted to pursue state judicial remedies. He filed an
original habeas proceeding in the Illinois Supreme Court in
May 2015. The Supreme Court construed this as a petition for
leave to file an original habeas action, and denied leave to
file in September 2015. Doc. 1, Ex. 4, p. 2. He then filed a
habeas complaint pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/10-124 in the Circuit
Court of Lawrence County in November 2015. He alleges that he
heard nothing from that court before filing his federal
habeas petition on July 18, 2016, despite writing several
letters to the clerk of the circuit court.
alleges that, in September 2016, he received a copy of a
“record sheet” from the clerk of the Circuit
Court of Lawrence County. That sheet indicates that his state
habeas case was transferred on December 23, 2015, to the
Circuit Court of Johnson County because Thomas was then
confined to Shawnee Correctional Center. The sheet also
indicates that a copy of the docket entry ordering the
transfer of his case was mailed to him in August 2016. Doc.
12, pp. 12-13. In September 2016, the clerk of the Circuit
Court of Johnson County informed Thomas that the respondents
in his state habeas case had not been served and furnished
him with summons forms for him to complete. Doc. 13, p. 6.
inmates retain due process rights in connection with prison
disciplinary proceedings, but such proceedings “are not
part of a criminal prosecution, and the full panoply of
rights due a defendant in such proceedings does not
apply.” Wolff v. McDonnell, 94 S.Ct. 2963,
2975 (1974). The minimum requirements of due process in such
proceedings are (1) receipt of written notice of the charges
in advance of the hearing, (2) an opportunity to be heard
before an impartial decision maker, (3) the right to call
witnesses and present evidence where same will not be unduly
hazardous to safety or correctional goals, and (4) a written
statement as to the evidence relied on and the reason for the
decision. Wolff, 94 S.Ct. at 2978-2980;
Henderson v. U.S. Parole Commission, 13 F.3d 1073,
1077 (7th Cir. 1994).
prisoner may raise a due process challenge to prison
disciplinary proceedings in a §2254 petition, but only
after having exhausted both administrative remedies and state
judicial remedies. McAtee v. Cowan, 250 F.3d 506,
508 (7th Cir. 2001).
U.S.C.A. § 2254(b)(1) requires that state judicial
remedies be exhausted before a federal court can grant habeas
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be ...