United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
prisoner Jason Alcorn filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to challenge the
imposition of disciplinary sanctions against him;
specifically the loss of 41 days of good conduct credit
against his sentence. (Doc. 1). Respondent filed a Response
to the Petition (Doc. 10), and Alcorn replied (Doc. 12). For
the following reasons, the Petition will be denied.
Facts and Procedural History
was convicted in the United States District Court for the
District of Kansas of using or carrying a firearm during and
in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§§ 924 and 1201. (Doc. 10, p. 1; Doc. 10-2, p. 2).
On April 15, 2002, he was sentenced to 360-months and is
currently incarcerated at the FCI-Greenville. As of the date
of the Respondent’s Response, Alcorn’s projected
release date was calculated to be December 19, 2026. (Doc.
10, p. 1; Doc. 10-2, pp. 1-2). His sentence is set to fully
expire on August 31, 2030. (Doc. 10, p. 1; Doc. 10-2, p. 4).
The disciplinary incident that gave rise to this action
occurred while Alcorn was incarcerated at the FCI-Terre
Haute, Indiana. Therefore, Alcorn named the warden of that
institution as the Respondent herein.
morning of November 26, 2014, Officer J. Horn searched the
common area of cell block C-1 and found a pair of shoes in
which a hypodermic needle was concealed. (Doc. 1, pp. 3, 21;
Doc. 10, pp. 3-4). The area was under video surveillance,
which showed that Alcorn had carried the shoes into the room
and set them down by a table. Horn prepared an incident
report charging Alcorn with possession of drug paraphernalia
(a Code 113 violation). Id. The report was allegedly
delivered to Alcorn by Lt. C. Wingerd at 8:00pm on the same
day. (Doc. 10, p. 3; Doc. 10-3, pp. 1-2). However, Alcorn
disputes that the incident report was given to him at that
time and claims he did not receive it until his Unit
Disciplinary Committee (“UDC”) hearing on
December 3, 2014, 7 days after the incident. (Doc. 1, pp. 5,
15; Doc. 10, p. 3; Doc. 12, pp. 1-2).
requested a staff representative (C.O. Reberger) to assist
him at the next stage of the disciplinary proceedings –
the hearing before a Disciplinary Hearing Officer
(“DHO”). (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 11; Doc. 10, p. 3).
Alcorn requested that Reberger have the surveillance video
saved so it could be reviewed, but it had already been
destroyed. (Doc. 1, p. 6; Doc. 10, p. 6; Doc. 12, p. 2).
Alcorn also claims he gave Reberger a list of witnesses and
questions for each in preparation for his DHO hearing, but
Respondent disputes that Alcorn requested any witnesses.
(Doc. 1, pp. 7, 19; Doc. 10, p. 3; Doc. 12, pp. 3, 6). The
DHO hearing was held on April 29, 2015. Alcorn was found
guilty and sanctioned with the loss of 41 days of good
conduct time and 90 days of restrictions on visitors and MP3
player use. (Doc. 1, p. 8; Doc. 10, pp. 3-4; Doc.
for Habeas Relief
alleges that while the video showed him bringing the shoes
into the common area and setting them down by a table, the
needle was not discovered inside the shoes until hours later.
(Doc. 1, pp. 3-4). In the meantime, many other inmates had
access to the shoes and could have hidden the needle inside
them. He claims that if the entire video had been reviewed,
it would have showed another person placing the item in the
shoes. Id. Alcorn also challenges Wingerd’s
documentation of giving Alcorn the incident report on
November 26, 2014, based on Wingerd’s later admission
that Alcorn may have been asleep at the time and he may have
filled out the report without speaking to Alcorn. (Doc. 1,
pp. 5, 11, 22; Doc. 12, pp. 2, 5).
Alcorn makes the following allegations relative to the final
hearing: the DHO interrupted his explanation of his inability
to promptly request the video evidence and the rules on
preservation of evidence, to say that Alcorn was going to be
found guilty. (Doc. 1, pp. 7, 12). When Alcorn protested that
he had not been able to call his witnesses, the DHO
threatened him with a monetary sanction if he insisted on
calling them. Reberger then told Alcorn to “just go
before it gets worse, ” which Alcorn did in order to
avoid another violation for disobeying an order. (Doc. 1, pp.
8, 12). The DHO report stated incorrectly that Alcorn did not
request witnesses. (Doc. 1, pp. 12-13; Doc. 12, pp. 3, 6).
on the above allegations, Alcorn asserts that he was denied
due process on the following bases:
(1) He was placed in the Special Housing Unit
(“SHU”) on November 26, 2014, without being given
an incident report or a detention order which would have
informed him of the charge against him, and was thus denied
the opportunity to have the video evidence saved;
(2) His belated receipt of the incident report at the UDC
hearing came too late for him to request preservation of the
(3) The DHO denied his request to access the video evidence
based on untimeliness (which was caused by the lack of ...