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Rendelmann v. B. True

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 1, 2019

SCOTT LEWIS RENDELMAN, Petitioner,
v.
B. TRUE, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Staci M. Yandle, United States District Judge.

         Petitioner Scott Lewis Rendelman, an inmate of the United States Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) currently incarcerated at Marion U.S. Penitentiary (“Marion”), brings this habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. On January 31, 2019, Rendelman was found guilty of possessing a dangerous weapon. (Doc. 1, pp. 10-12). As a result, Rendelman lost 41 days of good conduct credit. (Id. at p. 12). He seeks expungement of the disciplinary ticket (Incident Report No. 3171976) and restoration of his good conduct credit. (Id. at p. 8).

         Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in United States District Courts provides that upon preliminary consideration by the district judge, “[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to notify the petitioner.” Rule 1(b) gives this Court the authority to apply the Rules to other habeas corpus cases.

         Background

         Incident Report and Disciplinary Hearing

          On September 20, 2018, Rendelman was charged with possessing a dangerous weapon (Incident Report No. 3171976). (Doc. 1, p. 10). During the search of Rendelman's cell as part of a mass shakedown in Rendelman's unit, a sharpened metal object was located under Rendelman's cell locker. (Id. at p. 11). That same day at 6:30 p.m., Rendelman was provided with a copy of the incident report. The matter was referred to a disciplinary hearing officer (“DHO”) for a decision and a hearing was held on October 24, 2018. (Id.). Rendelman was advised of his rights prior to and during the hearing. (Id. at pp. 10-11). He denied the charges and testified that the weapon was not his but that someone had put the weapon in his cell. (Id. at p. 10). In his statement to the DHO, he noted that he did not believe that the weapon was found inside his bottom locker as alleged in the Incident Report, but most likely between the bottom and top locker and fell out when the locker was lifted up during the search. (Id. at p. 13). He argued that he was not strong enough to lift the locker in order to hide a weapon. He waived his right to call witnesses. The DHO found Rendelman had committed the offense as charged. He was provided a written copy of the decision. (Id. at pp. 10-12).

         In reaching its decision, the DHO considered the following evidence:

- The statement from Case Manager C. Swift, in the Incident Report, noted that during a mass shakedown of the unit, Swift moved Rendelman's cell locker in order to search behind it. While moving Rendelman's locker, the door of the bottom locker opened and a metal object approximately 13 inches long and sharpened to a point fell out of the locker.
- The locker was assigned to Rendelman, located in Rendelman's cell, and included clothing belonging to Rendleman. Rendleman had been housed in the cell since December 12, 2017.
- Photographs of the weapon confirmed C. Swift's statement that the item found was a homemade weapon.
- The DHO considered Rendleman's written statement that the weapon was left behind by a previous inmate or planted. The DHO was not convinced of Rendleman's statement as the TRUSCOPE logs noted his cell was searched six times after June 2018 and the weapon was not located. The DHO noted that if the weapon had been left behind by a former occupant of the cell the weapon would have been located during an earlier search.
- The DHO noted that Rendleman failed to provide any specific evidence to demonstrate that someone else planted the weapon.
- As the sole occupant of the cell, the DHO found it was Rendleman's duty and responsibility to keep his cell free of all contraband.

         The DHO found that the staff member's statements regarding the discovery of the weapon were more credible than Rendleman's statements that someone else had planted the weapon, and that Rendleman failed to present evidence which ...


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