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Bradley v. Lawrence

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 20, 2019

DEANDRE BRADLEY, # M-05197, Petitioner,
v.
FRANK LAWRENCE, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Staci M. Yandle United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Respondent's motion to dismiss Petitioner Deandre Bradley's habeas corpus petition without prejudice because it contains unexhausted claims. (Doc. 16). Bradley, a state prisoner currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center, filed a Petition for Writ of Federal Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 on May 2, 2019 seeking restoration of 6 months and 25 days of good conduct credits revoked as a result of prison disciplinary proceedings. (Doc. 1). Bradley claims he was denied due process because the disciplinary board did not permit him to call witnesses in his defense.

         Respondent asserts that Bradley failed to seek relief through a mandamus action in the Illinois courts and therefore failed to exhaust his claims before filing this federal action. (Doc. 16). Bradley opposes the Motion to Dismiss but admits that he did not exhaust his remedies in the form of a mandamus before he filed this case. (Doc. 19).

         Factual Background

         Deandre Bradley is serving sentences of 6 years for residential burglary and 2 years for resisting a peace officer, imposed in Cook County, Illinois. (Doc. 16-1, p. 42). He was issued 4 disciplinary reports in July 2018 while in custody at Pinckneyville Correctional Center. (Doc. 1, pp. 13-18). He claims that he was not allowed to sign the disciplinary reports or to request witnesses on those forms when they were delivered to his cell. He further claims that he attempted to send a written request for witnesses but it was not delivered to the adjustment committee before they convened to conduct his hearing and they refused to continue the hearing so that his witnesses might be called. (Doc. 1, pp. 3-6). Bradley was found guilty and punished with the loss of good conduct credit and a disciplinary transfer to Menard. (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 13-18). He asserts that he exhausted his administrative remedies through the prison grievance process to the extent it was available. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-8).

         On March 6, 2019, Bradley filed a state habeas corpus petition in Randolph County Circuit Court. (Doc. 16-1). The Petition was dismissed on March 8, 2019 and Bradley did not appeal. (Doc. 16, p. 2; Doc. 16-1, pp. 42-43).

         Bradley filed a mandamus complaint in Randolph County Circuit Court on August 22, 2019, after the instant action was filed. (Doc. 18; Doc. 19, p. 8). The electronic docket for Randolph County Circuit Court No. 2019-MR-70 reveals that Defendant's motion to dismiss was denied and the matter is still pending.[1]

         Discussion

         Prison 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, 418 U.S. 539, 556 (1974). The minimum due process requirements for 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 this 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, 418 U.S. at 563-66; Henderson v. U.S. Parole Commission, 13 F.3d 1073, 1077 (7th Cir. 1994).

         A state 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). In that vein, 28 U.S.C.A. § 2254(b)(1) provides in relevant part:

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 granted unless it appears that--
(A) the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State; or
(B)(i) there is an absence of available State corrective process; or
(ii) circumstances exist that render such process ineffective to protect the ...

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