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McCloud v. Thomas

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 22, 2015

GLENN MCCLOUD, Petitioner
v.
WARDEN J.E. THOMAS, Respondent

MEMORANDUM

JAMES M. MUNLEY JUDGE

Presently before the court is a petition for writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 filed by petitioner, Glenn McCloud (“petitioner”), an inmate incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary at Allenwood, White Deer, Pennsylvania. He contends that his due process rights were violated during the course of disciplinary proceedings. The petition is ripe for disposition and, for the reasons that follow, will be denied.

I. Background

Petitioner challenges two separate disciplinary proceedings stemming from Incident Report 2360471 and Incident Report 2397950.

A. Incident Report 2360471

On October 10, 2012, while incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, petitioner was made aware that he was being charged with Prohibited Act Code 101(a), Assault (A), and Prohibited Act Code 104, Possession of a weapon. The incident report described the incident as follows:

After completion of an investigation it was revealed that you attempted to assault inmate [ ] with a sharp metal weapon (Shank). Specifically, you were observed on video surveillance chasing inmate [ ] with a shank. You then tackled inmate [ ] near the inmate telephone. Upon taking inmate [ ] to the ground you struck your head on the metal window frame causing a large laceration to the right side of your head. The unit officer called for assistance and responding staff separated and placed both inmates in restraints without further injury.

(Doc. 7-1, p. 8.)

During the Unit Discipline Committee (“UDC”) review, he stated “[i]t wasn’t an assault it was a fight, I had a knife attached/tied to my wrist for protection & slipped, fell and struck my head. (Id. at 9). The UDC referred the matter to the Disciplinary Hearing Officer (“DHO”) due to the severity of the offense and recommended 60 days disciplinary segregation, 25 days loss of good conduct time, and 60 days without phone, visits, commissary and email privileges. (Id.) After being advised of the rights associated with the process, petitioner indicated he understood his rights by affixing his signature to the Inmate Rights at Discipline Hearing from. (Id. at 10, 17). He chose not to have a staff member present and declined the offer to call witnesses. (Id. at 18).

The hearing commenced on October 18, 2012. (Doc. 7-1, p. 19). He waived his right to staff representation, did not request witnesses and denied the charges against him. (Id.) The DHO summarized his statement as follows: “Denies the actions, of assault. He admitted he had the weapon but this whole incident was a fight gone bad. He and inmate [ ] were having an argument about owed debts and [ ] wasn’t going to pay up. They were squared off then [ ] started to run during the fight.” (Id.) Documentary evidence relied upon included the incident report and investigation, memorandums, health services medical assessment report (Assault/Fight), photos and injuries of inmates involved. (Id. at 20).

The DHO found based on the evidence that petitioner committed the Prohibited Act of Code 101 offense of serious assault to another. (Doc. 7-1, p. 22.) In arriving at this conclusion, he stated the following:

This finding is based on the written report that states staff had the eyewitness account of viewing you on surveillance footage chasing down inmate [ ]. You were seen with a weapon running after [ ] who is [sic] fleeing. You reached him and tackled him at the inmate phone bank. The struggle caused injuries to both yourself and inmate [ ]. You were positively identified as being one of the inmates involved. Your defense was: Denies the actions, of assault. He admitted he had the weapon but this whole incident was a fight gone bad. He and inmate [ ] were having an argument about owed debts and [ ] wasn’t going to pay up. They were squared off then [ ] started to run during the fight. The DHO considered the spplemental [sic] memorandum provided by Health Services staff, and photographs of both inmates [sic] injuries, and that you had no defense other than not remembering the incident. Based on Section 11, of the incident report, the supplemental memorandum provided by Health Services of injuries of each inmate consistent with a fight, your own admission that this was some kind of altercation, the DHO does find that you did commit the prohibited act of Code 101 224A.

(Id. at 20-21).

In sanctioning him with a total on both offenses of disallowance of 54 days of good conduct time, 60 days disciplinary segregation, and 3 months loss of email and commissary privileges, the DHO reasoned as follows: “The action behavior of any inmate to assault or fight in a correctional setting poses a serious threat to health, safety and welfare of all involved. Your Actions/Behavior could have escalated and caused serious injury to others as [sic]. DS was imposed as punishment, DIS GCT meets your PLRA sentence and puts you in notice that if you violate the rules and regulations you will prolong your incarceration, although LP Comm is not directly related to this act the DHO finds that you actions/behavior jeopardizes the security and orderly running of the institution and greater sanctions were needed to demonstrate the seriousness of the act.” (Id. at 21).

After exhausting all available administrative avenues of review, petitioner filed the instant petition arguing that his due process rights were violated because the DHO did not review video surveillance, there was insufficient evidence of guilt, he was not present at the initial hearing or rehearing and ...


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