United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
W. FLANAGAN United States District Judge
matter is before the court on respondent's motion for
summary judgment (DE 12) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 56(a). For the following reasons, the court grants
respondent's motion for summary judgment.
OF THE CASE
January 16, 2015, North Carolina Department of Public Safety
(“DPS”) officials charged petitioner, a state
inmate then incarcerated at Scotland Correctional Institution
(“Scotland”) with the disciplinary offense of
disobeying an order, a C03 offense. (Resp't. Ex. 1
(DE-14-1) at 7). Petitioner was given written notice that he
would appear before a disciplinary hearing officer
(“DHO”). (Id. at 10). On February 10,
2015, the DHO conducted a disciplinary hearing. (I d
. at 8). After reviewing the evidence, the DHO
determined that petitioner disobeyed the order.
(Id.). The DHO hearing record included the following
INMATE WAS ADVISED OF HIS RIGHTS AND A SUMMARY WAS READ.
INMATE PLEAD NOT GUILTY TO THE C03 OFFENSE WITH A SUMMARY AS
FOLLOWS. OFFICER D. LEGGETT STATES THAT ON 1-16-15 AT APPROX.
1305 SHE WAS ASSIGNED TO THE GREEN UNIT. INMATE CASEY TYLER
EXITED THE UNIT ATTEMPTING TO ATTEND THE RELIGIOUS SERVICE.
HIS NAME WAS NOT ON THE LIST AND HE WAS ORDERED TO RETURN TO
THE UNIT. HE REFUSED. WHEN SHE ATTEMPTED TO PLACE HIM IN
RESTRAINTS, HE SNATCHED AWAY FROM HER, TURNED TOWARD HER,
REMOVED HIS GLASSES, STOOD IN AN AGGRESSIVE MANNER AND
STATED, “WHAT, WHAT?” HE TURNED AND WALKED AWAY
TOWARD THE CHAPEL. OTHER STAFF THEN PLACED HIM ON THE FLOOR
AND HE WAS RESTRAINED AND TAKEN TO RESTRICTIVE HOUSING.
INMATE TYLER MADE A WRITTEN STATEMENT. HE REQUESTED A WRITTEN
STATEMENT FROM THE “ACCUSING OFFICER.” HE
REQUESTED VIDEO TAPE OF THE INCIDENT. HE DID NOT REQUEST LIVE
WITNESSES, OR STAFF ASSISTANCE. INMATE TYLER MADE A WRITTEN
STATEMENT THAT PERTAINED TO THE (SIC) HIM BEING DENIED THE
RIGHT TO WORSHIP. HE REQUESTED THE RELIGIOUS SERVICES POLICY
FOR NCDPS PRESENT AT HIS HEARING. HE REQUESTED A DETAILED
EXPLANATION AS TO WHY HE WAS DENIED ACCESS TO THE AREA AND
OTHER INMATES WERE NOT. HE REQUESTED VIDEO EVIDENCE. HE
STATES HE HAS A RIGHT TO ANY RELIGIOUS SERVICE IF HE IS IN
THE GENERAL POPULATION. THEN HE WANTS TO KNOW WHY HE WAS
ORDERED NOT TO ATTEND THE SERVICE. THERE IS NO LAW IN SUCH AN
ORDER. HE HAD THE RIGHT TO DISOBEY THE ORDER BECAUSE HE IS
ONLY OBLIGATED TO OBEY LAWFUL ORDERS NOT ONES GIVEN IN
VIOLATION OF POLICY. INMATE VERBALLY STATED THE SAME DURING
THE HEARING. HE ALSO READ SUPREME COURT RULINGS HE STATED
SUPPORTED HIS ACTIONS. THE RELIGIOUS POLICIES FOR JUDAISM AND
ISLAM WERE ATTACHED TO THE PACKAGE AND WERE SHOWN TO THE
INMATE, HOWEVER THIS DHO ADVISED HIM THAT THEY HAD ABSOLUTELY
NO BEARING ON HIS C03 OFFENSE. THE ACCUSING OFFICER, OFFICER
D. LEGGITT'S STATEMENT WAS READ TO THE INMATE AND HAS
BEEN SUMMARIZED ABOVE. THE VIDEO WAS REVIEWED BY OFFICER K.
SMITH, WHO SUBMITTED A WRITTEN STATEMENT INDICATING THAT IT
NEITHER ADDED TO OR TOOK AWAY FROM THE REPORTING PARTY'S
STATEMENT. BASED ON THE REPORTING PARTY'S STATEMENT AND
ALL EVIDENCE PROVIDED I AM FINDING THE INMATE GUILTY OF THE
C03 OFFENSE WITH PRESUMPTIVE PUNISHMENT IMPOSED TO DETER THIS
TYPE OF BEHAVIOR IN THE FUTURE. APPEAL RIGHTS EXPLAINED AND A
FORM WAS PROVIDED. THE A99/A03 WAS DISMISSED AS THE EVIDENCE
PRESENTED DID NOT SUPPORT THE CHARGE. 10 DAY EXT. GRANTED BY
MR. PENNELL DUE TO DHP SCHEDULE.
result of the DHO's findings, petitioner was sanctioned
with the following: (1) 30 days of segregation; (2) 20 lost
of sentence reduction credits; (3) 30 hours extra duty; and
(4) 60 days of suspended visitation and canteen privileges.
(Id. at 6). On March 9, 2015, petitioner's
disciplinary conviction was affirmed on appeal. (Id. at
2). Petitioner filed a motion for appropriate relief
(“MAR”) in Wake County Superior Court on April
27, 2015, which was denied on June 28, 2015. (Pet'r. Ex.
(DE 1-1) at 1). Although not entirely clear, it appears
petitioner subsequently unsuccessfully appealed the denial of
his MAR in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the North
Carolina Supreme Court. (Id. at 2-3); see State
v. Tyler, 775 S.E.2d 863 ( N.C. 2015) (dismissing notice
August 24, 2015, petitioner filed this pro se petition for a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, in
which he challenges his disciplinary conviction on the
grounds that he was denied due process in his disciplinary
proceedings. (Pet. at 2). Respondent filed the instant motion
for summary judgment on May 12, 2016, and petitioner filed a
timely response. In this posture, the issues raised are ripe
Standard of Review Summary judgment is appropriate when there
exists no genuine issue of material fact, and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477
U.S. 242, 247 (1986). The party seeking summary judgment
bears the burden of initially coming forward and
demonstrating an absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
Once the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party
then must affirmatively demonstrate that there exists a
genuine issue of material fact requiring trial.
Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). There is no issue for
trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the
non-moving party for a jury to return a verdict for that
party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.
contends the DHO's decision violated his due process
rights. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
mandates several procedural safeguards before an inmate may
be punished for violating prison disciplinary rules with the
loss of protected liberty interest, such as earned good-time
credit, or with deprivation of property. Wolff v.
McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 557-58 (1974). Under the
Wolff standard, an inmate is entitled to the
following: (1) written notice of the charges at least 24
hours in advance of the hearing; (2) a written statement by
the fact finders as to the evidence relied on and reasons for
disciplinary action; and (3) to call witnesses and present
documentary evidence in his defense when permitting him to do
so will not be unduly hazardous to institutional safety or
correctional goals. Id. at 564-566.
by a disciplinary board to revoke good-time credits pass
scrutiny under the Due Process Clause if there is some
evidence in the record to support the conclusions.
Walpole, 472 U.S. at 454. Federal courts will not
review the accuracy of the disciplinary hearing officer's
fact finding de novo or for clear error. See Baker v.
Lyles, 904 F.2d 925, 932 (4th Cir. 1990). Rather,
“the relevant question is whether there is any evidence
in the record that could support the conclusion reached by
the [disciplinary hearing officer].” Id.
evidence presented during petitioner's disciplinary
hearing is summarized above, and the court finds that this
evidence satisfies the “some evidence” standard,
and the Due Process Clause was not violated. See,
e.g., Walpole, 472 U.S. at 454-56;
Baker, 904 F.2d at 932. As for the remaining
Wolff requirements, petitioner received advance
written notice of the disciplinary charges and he received a
written statement by the disciplinary hearing officer of the
evidence relied on and the ...