United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
OPINION & ORDER
E. Wier United States District Judge
se habeas Petitioner Cornelius Craig alleges that the
Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) imposed disciplinary
sanctions, based on Craig's alleged stabbing of two
inmates, without affording him procedural due process. DE 1.
The Court conducts an initial review under 28 U.S.C. §
2243. For the following reasons, and under the applicable
standards, the Court DENIES the
1999, Craig has been serving a combined 75 year sentence for
his role in a series of coordinated, armed carjackings in
Alabama. United States v. Craig, No.
1:98-CR-99-KD-S-3 (S.D Ala. 1998); United States v.
Craig, No. 1:98-CR-158-KD-M-2 (S.D Ala. 1998). During
Craig's incarceration at USP McCreary, on December 7,
2017, a fight broke out between inmates affiliated with
“St. Louis” and with the “South.” DE
1-2 at 4-5 (Incident Reports). Prison officials alleged that
Craig, during the altercation, stabbed two inmates, Douglas
Simpson and Leon Jackson. Id. Simpson survived, but
Jackson succumbed to his wounds soon after the stabbing. DE 7
at 5. Consequently, BOP charged Craig with Killing Any Person
(a Disciplinary Code 100 offense) and Assaulting Any Person
(a Disciplinary Code 101 offense). DE 1-2 at 2. Craig claims
that the BOP denied him procedural due process in resolving
other events relevant to Craig's claims include:
-- December 8, 2017-Prison staff placed Craig in segregation
on suspicion of killing another inmate. DE 8-1 at 1.
-- January 24, 2018-The investigating officer, BOP Lt. Robert
Johnson, reviewed security camera footage of the incident and
issued an incident report. DE 1-2 at 2. Per Johnson's
report, delivered to Petitioner on the date issued, the video
showed Craig walking across the prison unit, ascending a
flight of stairs, and then stabbing Simpson and Jackson.
Id. The same day, “the incident report was
suspended . . . pending FBI referral for possible
prosecution.” DE 7 at 4; see DE 1-1 at 6.
-- September 17, 2018-The United States Attorney's office
released the incident report for BOP processing. DE 7 at 4.
The prison then redelivered the original report. DE 1-2 at 3.
-- October 4, 2018-A Disciplinary Hearing Officer
(“DHO”) ordered the incident report rewritten for
two purposes: (1) “to clarify the sequence of events
that led up to the incident along with explanation of time
frames”; and (2) to clarify the particular victims that
the charged assault and killing referenced. DE 7 at 4;
see DE 1-1 at 6.
-- October 18, 2018-Lt. Johnson issued two incident reports
separately charging Craig with the Jackson homicide and
Simpson assault. DE 1-2 at 4-5.
-- October 22, 2018-Staff delivered the rewritten reports to
Craig. See id.; DE 1-1 at 7.
-- October 31, 2018-A Unit Discipline Committee
(“UDC”) conducted an initial hearing on the
revised charges. DE 1-1 at 7. Craig asked “Lt. Rowe,
” and Rowe agreed, to serve as Petitioner's staff
-- November 6, 2018-DHO Clint Hurley conducted a hearing on
the charges. Id. at 7-8. Craig, with Lt. Rowe again
assisting, appeared and denied both charges. Id. at
8. The DHO, as to both the assault and killing, ultimately
concluded that “the act[s] [were] committed as
charged.” DE 7 at 3, 10. The DHO issued specific
written findings as to both charges. See Id. at 4-7,
Hearing Specifics & DHO Findings
November 2018 proceeding, Craig, to the DHO, expressed
concern about delays between the incident and the hearing. DE
7 at 2. The DHO “specifically addressed all time delays
throughout the disciplinary process[.]” Id. In
response to both charges, Craig stated “I'm not
guilty. I didn't stab him.” Id. at 2, 9.
Craig inquired if the DHO had reviewed the incident footage.
Id. at 2. The DHO explained that “the incident
report was written based on Lt. Johnson's video review
and subsequent investigation”; the DHO, thus,
“saw no obvious reason” for further video review.
Id. Craig offered no evidence other than his denial
of involvement. Id. at 2, 9. In response to the
DHO's inquiry regarding whether Craig had “any
issues or additional requests with the disciplinary process[,
]” Craig replied, “I just want all the stuff you
got as evidence to be preserved. I'm going to need it if
they prosecute the case. Some of it may be helpful.”
Id. The DHO considered Craig's testimony,
medical records, witness statements, investigative reports,
and photographic evidence, and, ultimately, concluded that
Craig committed both charged offenses. Id. at 3, 10.
reporting his findings as to the Code 100
“Killing” offense, DHO Hurley incorporated Lt.
Johnson's rewritten report:
On January 25, 2018, at 12:03 p.m., an SIS Investigation into
the homicide of Leon Jackson, Reg. No. 40063-044, and the
large scale fight between inmates affiliated with the
“South” and “St. Louis”, was
concluded. During the investigation a review of the ViconNet
recorded video was conducted. The review determined the fight
started on the top tier of the A4 Housing Unit, at
approximately 7:00 p.m. Inmate Cornelius Craig, Reg. No.
07125-003, responded from the opposite side of the unit to
the fight, which was in progress on the upper tier of the A4
housing unit, near cells 420-421. Craig was identified
climbing the stairs and once he reached the top tier landing,
he struck inmate Douglas Simpson, Reg. No. 43059-044, in the
right side of his torso in a stabbing type motion and
immediately turned and struck inmate Leon Jackson, Reg. No.
40063-044, in a stabbing type motion, one time in the upper
left chest area, at approximately 7:05 p.m. No other inmate
struck Jackson. After Jackson was stabbed, he (Jackson)
exited the area by running down the tier towards the showers.
Jackson began stumbling and falling down, and collapsed in
front of the upper tier showers. Inmates Simpson and Jackson
were transported to medical. Simpson was found to have
received a pinpoint wound to his upper right quadrant.
Jackson was noted to have fixed pupils, shallow agonal
breaths, diminished lung sounds with respiratory wheezing and
noted crackles and bradycardia with irregular rate. One
pinpoint puncture wound was noted to the left side of his
chest. Due to the severity of their wounds, Simpson and
Jackson were transported to the outside hospital for further
treatment. Upon arrival, Jackson was examined and pronounced
deceased at 8:08 p.m. Simpson was treated and returned to the
institution on December 8, 2017 at 01:30 a.m. The Provisional
Report of Death issued by the Department of Public Health for
the Commonwealth of Kentucky, listed the manner of death as
Homicide caused by a stab wound to the left chest. It was
determined inmate Cornelius Craig, Reg. No. 07125-003, caused
the death of inmate Leon Jackson, Reg. No. 40063-044, by
stabbing him once in the chest.
Id. at 4. While Craig denied any involvement in the
incident, the DHO gave greater weight to the
institution's proof. Id. at 5. The DHO relied on
Lt. Johnson's report, which itself relied on video
review, and noted the report's consistency with the
medical evidence ...