United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
November 16, 2005.
BRIAN LOUIS CLARK, Petitioner,
WARDEN JOSEPH V. SMITH, Respondent.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: MALCOLM MUIR, Senior District Judge
THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:
On January 6, 2005, Petitioner Brian Louis Clark, an inmate at
the United States Penitentiary at Allenwood, in White Deer,
Pennsylvania, initiated this action by filing a habeas corpus
petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He is proceeding pro se
and in forma pauperis. Clark alleges that his due process rights
were violated as a result of the manner in which he was found
guilty in prison disciplinary proceedings of the following
offenses: destruction of government property (on two separate
occasion), threatening a staff member, and assault. The sole
respondent is the warden of the United States Penitentiary at
The Clerk of Court assigned responsibility for this case to us
but referred it to United States Magistrate Judge Malachy E.
Mannion for preliminary consideration. On October 21, 2005,
Magistrate Judge Mannion issued a report in which he recommends that Clark's petition be denied because Clark's disciplinary
proceedings included all of the required procedures.
The time allowed for the parties to file objections to the
Report and Recommendation expired on November 7, 2005, and to
this date no objections have been filed. When no objections are
filed to the report of a Magistrate Judge, we need only review
that report as we in our discretion deem appropriate. Thomas v.
Arn, 474 U.S. 145, 151-52 (1985).
Clark's claims arise from two incident reports. In the first
(number 1241808) Clark was charged on July 14, 2004, with
destruction of government property for removing strands of
threads from the mattresses in his cell. Clark was the only
inmate housed in that cell. The second incident report (number
1240678) charged Clark with threatening a staff member, assault,
and destruction of government property. According to that report,
on July 14, 2004, after a staff member served Clark a tray of
food, Clark threw the tray back through the slot in his cell door
in an attempt to hit the staff member, Clark ripped his book
shelf off the wall of his cell and threw the shelf against the
cell door, and yelled "It is on! I'll get all of you."
Because of Clark's violent and unruly behavior, shortly after
the incident involving the food tray five staff members placed
Clark in hand and foot restraints and transported him to a
holding cell. He was not returned to his housing unit until July 17, 2004. Clark received notice of incident report number 1240678
on that date. The following day he received notice of incident
The initial hearing on report number 1240678 was held on July
18, 2004. The first hearing on report number 1241808 was held on
July 29, 2004. Clark refused to participate in those hearings.
After conducting additional hearings on the incident reports, a
Disciplinary Hearing Officer imposed the following sanctions: 1)
for the offense concerning the mattress, disallowance of 27 days
of good conduct time, 15 days in disciplinary segregation, loss
of 60 days of commissary privileges, and the payment of
restitution in the amount of $160.00; 2) for threatening a staff
member, disallowance of 27 days of good conduct time, 15 days in
disciplinary segregation, loss of 90 days of visiting privileges;
3) for the assault, disallowance of 27 days of good conduct time,
15 days in disciplinary segregation, loss of 90 days of telephone
privileges; and 4) disallowance of 27 days of good conduct time,
15 days in disciplinary segregation, loss of 90 days of
commissary privileges, and the payment of restitution in the
amount of $198.16.
Clark's commissary account was frozen until the restitution was
paid in full and he was advised of his appeal rights. He pursued all of his administrative remedies and the Disciplinary
Hearing Officer's conclusions and sentences were upheld.
Based on those facts, Clark challenges the adequacy of the
notice he received concerning his hearings, and the sufficiency
of the evidence used to discipline him.
In Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563-573 (1974), where
the plaintiffs were deprived of good time credits as a severe
sanction for serious misconduct, the Supreme Court held that such
inmates have various procedural due process protections in a
prison disciplinary proceeding. The Supreme Court recognized that
"prison disciplinary proceedings are not part of a criminal
prosecution, and the full panoply of rights due a defendant in
such proceedings does not apply." Id. at 556. Nonetheless, the
Supreme Court held that a prisoner facing serious institutional
sanctions is entitled to some procedural protection before
penalties can be imposed. Id. at 563-71.
The Supreme Court set forth five requirements of due process in
a prison disciplinary proceeding: (1) the right to appear before
an impartial decision-making body; (2) twenty-four hour advance
written notice of the charges; (3) an opportunity to call
witnesses and present documentary evidence, provided the
presentation of such does not threaten institutional safety or
correctional goals; (4) assistance from an inmate representative
if the charged inmate is illiterate or if complex issues are involved; (5) a written decision by the fact finders as to the
evidence relied upon and the rationale behind their disciplinary
An additional procedural requirement was set forth in
Superintendent, Massachusetts Correctional Institution at
Walpole v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 453-456 (1985). In that case, the
Court held that there must be "some evidence" which supports the
conclusion of the disciplinary tribunal.
Our review of the file confirms Magistrate Mannion's
conclusions that 1) the disciplinary hearings at issue in this
case provided Clark with all of the procedural requirements set
forth in Wolff v. McDonnell, and 2) the Disciplinary Hearing
Officer's decisions were based on sufficient evidence existed to
discipline Clark, as required by Hill.
Magistrate Judge Mannion's Report and Recommendation is free
from error and no objections have been filed to it. For those
reasons we will adopt the Report and Recommendation as our own
and deny Clark's habeas corpus petition.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT:
1. The Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge
Mannion filed on October 21, 2005, is adopted in
2. Clark's petition for a writ of habeas corpus
(Document 1) is denied.
3. The Clerk of Court shall close this case. 4. Any appeal from this order will be deemed lacking
in probable cause and a certificate of appealability
will not issue.
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