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Eason v. Terris

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

May 8, 2019

BRYAN EASON, Petitioner,
v.
J. A. TERRIS, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND GRANTING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          LINDA V. PARKER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Federal inmate Bryan Eason (“Petitioner”) has filed a pro se habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The focus of Petitioner's pleading is a prison disciplinary proceeding. Petitioner's only ground for relief is that he was found guilty of a minor assault on a correctional officer even though his touching of the officer was accidental. Respondent urges the Court to deny the petition because Petitioner's right to due process was not violated during the disciplinary proceedings and there was “some evidence” to support the disciplinary hearing officer's decision. The Court agrees and is denying the petition.

         II. Background

         On November 25, 2015, a federal district court judge in the Eastern District of Wisconsin sentenced Petitioner to 97 months in prison for conspiracy to import, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute methylone. (See Resp. Ex. 1 at 2. ECF No. 4-2.) In 2016, while Petitioner was serving his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Milan, Michigan (FCI-Milan), he was charged with violating Federal Bureau of Prisons Code 224 (assaulting a person without causing a serious injury). See 28 C.F.R. § 541.3, Table 1. The reporting officer, J.

         Hermanson, described the incident as follows:

On Thursday 7-28-2016 . . . I was monitoring the inside compound during the Dinner Meal. At approximately 4:45 PM I was standing near the F-1 Unit door and responded to an inmate pounding on the door in an attempt to get my attention[. I]nmate Easton, Bryan 13233-089 stated that he had to go to the insulin line. Inmate Eason produced a diabetic card to verify he is on the Diabetic list to be released early for the Dinner Meal. I opened the door so he could attend [the] insulin line. As I was opening the door to F-1 so inmate Eason could exit the unit he was stating, “here is my card I know what you are on.” I told inmate Eason to go to [the] insulin line and as I was securing the door to F-1 inmate Eason struck my left forearm with the back side of an open hand stating “Look see my card!” I immediately sent inmate Eason to the Operations Lt. without any further incident.

         (Resp. Ex. 2 at 1, ECF No. 4-3.)

         Lieutenant S. Magulick interviewed Petitioner on the same day as the incident. He wrote in a memorandum about the incident that Petitioner had become agitated when Officer Hermanson was securing the unit door and that Petitioner then struck Officer Hermanson on the left forearm with an open hand. (Id. at 3.) Petitioner told Lieutenant Magulick” “It was an accident. I just wanted to show him I had [my] ID Card.” (Id.)

         The matter was referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for possible criminal prosecution, but the FBI declined to take any action. (See Resp. Ex. 3 at 1, ECF No. 4-4.) During the subsequent internal investigation, Petitioner informed Investigating Lieutenant S. Pierson that he “unintentionally made contact with [Officer Hermanson's] arm, brushed his arm while [he was] talking with [his] arms and moving fast to [the] pill line.” (Resp. Ex. 2 at 2, ECF No. 4-3.)

         The matter was referred to the Unit Discipline Committee (UDC), which held a hearing on August 24, 2016. Petitioner made the following comments at the hearing:

I did not say “look see my card.” I said something like “thanks man.” I accidentally touched him, apparently, and he accused me of striking him. It was just a hand gesture, a movement in a hurry to get to [the] pill line. I was not trying to contact him.

(Id. at 1.) The UDC referred the matter to the Discipline Hearing Officer (DHO) for further review. Id.

         The DHO held a hearing on August 31, 2016. Officer Sizemore was the staff representative at the hearing. He confirmed that Petitioner had been afforded his right to due process and that Petitioner had a clean history until then. Although Officer Sizemore did not observe the incident with Officer Hermanson, he stated that, according to Petitioner, ...


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