United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Ashland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. WILHOIT JR. STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Clark is a prisoner who was previously confined at the
Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Manchester,
Kentucky and is now incarcerated at the FCI in Ashland,
Kentucky. Proceeding without a lawyer, Clark filed a petition
for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
in which he challenges the imposition of disciplinary
sanctions against him. [D. E. No. 1]. The Respondent filed a
response to Clark's habeas petition [D. E. No. 9], and
Clark filed a reply brief [D. E. No. 14]. Therefore,
Clark's petition is now ripe for a decision by this
Court. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny
to a Discipline Hearing Officer's (DHO's) report, in
2017, prison officials conducted a special investigation
regarding the introduction of two cell phones into FCI
Manchester. As discussed in detail in the DHO's report,
officials interviewed several witnesses, communicated with
officers, searched multiple cells, reviewed documentary and
photographic evidence, and took other investigative steps.
Ultimately, prison officials concluded that Clark helped
arrange for the cell phones to be introduced into FCI
Manchester by sending money to a former inmate on the street
who purchased the phones and had them thrown over the
prison's recreation yard fence. As a result, prison
officials completed an incident report and charged Clark with
a Code 108 offense for the introduction of a hazardous tool
(a cell phone) into the prison. [See D. E. No. 11 at
1-4 (DHO's report) and 5-10 (incident report)].
November 6, 2017, prison officials gave Clark a copy of the
relevant incident report, and, four days later, the officials
advised him of his rights at an upcoming disciplinary
hearing. [See D. E. No. 11 at 5, 7-8]. Clark
acknowledged that he understood his rights and indicated that
he did not want to have a staff representative at his
hearing. [See Id. at 9]. Clark also checked the box
indicating that he did not wish to have any witnesses testify
on his behalf, but he then listed three inmates as potential
witnesses. [See id.].
disciplinary hearing was held a few weeks later.
[See D. E. No. 11 at 1-4]. At the hearing, Clark
waived his right to have the assistance of a staff
representative. [See Id. at 1]. Still, Clark denied
the allegations and charge against him. [See id.].
Clark also called his three witnesses, who briefly testified
on his behalf. [See id.]. The DHO considered this
testimony, but he also reviewed the other evidence, including
but not limited to various statements made by law enforcement
officials and inmates during the course of the special
investigation, information from a confidential source, and
documentary and photographic evidence. [See Id. at
2-4 (discussing the evidence at length)]. In the end, the DHO
found that the greater weight of the evidence supported the
Code 108 charge against Clark. [See Id. at 4].
Therefore, the DHO ordered that Clark lose 41 days of good
conduct time and imposed other sanctions. [See id.].
The DHO then advised Clark of his right to appeal his
decision, and a copy of the DHO's report was delivered to
Clark in February 2018. [See id.].
appealed the DHO's decision administratively within the
Bureau of Prisons, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Clark
then filed his § 2241 petition with this Court, and he
asks the Court to expunge the disciplinary conviction against
him and restore the 41 days of good conduct time that he
lost. [See D. E. No. 1].
initial matter, despite Clark's claims to the contrary,
he has not demonstrated that he was denied certain procedural
protections that he was due. Under the law, Clark was
entitled to advance notice of the charge against him, the
opportunity to present evidence and witnesses in his defense,
and a written decision explaining the grounds used to
determine his guilt. See Wolff v. McDonnell, 418
U.S. 539, 563-66 (1974). Here, as discussed above, the record
reflects that Clark received each of these procedural
protections. Indeed, Clark received notice of the charge
against him weeks in advance of his disciplinary hearing; he
was given the opportunity to and did, in fact, present
evidence and witnesses in his defense; and prison officials
provided him with a written decision explaining the grounds
used to determine his guilt. [See D. E. No. 11 at
1-10]. Thus, Clark's claim that his due process rights
were violated is simply unavailing.
only remaining question then is whether there was "some
evidence" in the record to support the DHO's
decision in this case. See Superintendent v. Hill,
472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985); Selby v. Caruso, 734 F.3d
554, 558-59 (6th Cir. 2013). This is a very low threshold.
After all, the Court does not examine the entire record or
independently assess the credibility of witnesses.
Hill, 472 U.S. at 455. Instead, the Court merely
asks "whether there is any evidence in the
record that could support the conclusion reached by the
disciplinary board." Id. at 455-56 (emphasis
added); see also Higgs v. Bland, 888 F .2d 443,
448-49 (6th Cir. 1989) (discussing this standard).
case, there was certainly some evidence in the record to
support the DHO's decision. In fact, the DHO's report
details the extensive evidence in this case linking Clark to
the offense in question, including but not limited to the
various statements made by law enforcement officials and
inmates during the course of the special investigation, as
well as other documentary and photographic evidence.
[See D. E. No. 11 at 2-4]. To be sure, Clark
complains about the use of information from a confidential
source. However, even if that evidence is discounted
entirely, there was still enough evidence against Clark to
meet the very low threshold applicable here. See
Hill, 472 U.S. at 454.
conclusion, Clark has not demonstrated that he was denied
certain procedural protections that he was due, and there was
more than enough evidence to support the DHO's decision
in this case.
it is ORDERED as follows:
1. Clark's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [D. E. No. 1] is
2. This action is DISMISSED and
STRICKEN from the ...