14 F.3d 604 (7th Cir. 1993), 92-2860, Bullock v. McGinnis

Docket Nº:92-2860.
Citation:14 F.3d 604
Party Name:Ronnie BULLOCK, Plaintiff/Appellant, v. Kenneth L. McGINNIS, et al, Defendants/Appellees.
Case Date:December 21, 1993
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Page 604

14 F.3d 604 (7th Cir. 1993)

Ronnie BULLOCK, Plaintiff/Appellant,


Kenneth L. McGINNIS, et al, Defendants/Appellees.

No. 92-2860.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

December 21, 1993

Submitted December 16, 1993. [*]

Editorial Note:

This opinion appears in the Federal reporter in a table titled "Table of Decisions Without Reported Opinions". (See FI CTA7 Rule 53 regarding use of unpublished opinions)

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, No. 90 C 7019; Suzanne Conlon, D.J.

N.D.Ill., 1992 WL 109111


Before Fairchild, Bauer and Manion, Circuit Judges.


Ronnie Bullock brought this pro se civil rights action against several Illinois state prison officials pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging, among other claims, that the defendants (1) violated his due process rights during two disciplinary hearings, (2) abridged his freedom of religion by denying him access to religious services while in protective custody, and (3) violated his First Amendment rights by confiscating his mail that contained a photograph of a semi-nude female. The district court granted various summary judgments in favor of the defendants on all three counts. Bullock appeals. We affirm.

We review the grant of summary judgment de novo. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). We view the record and the inference drawn from it in the light most favorable to Bullock, the non-moving party, United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962), and will affirm if there is no genuine issues of material fact such that judgment is proper as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).

I. The Disciplinary Hearings

At the February 9, 1990 hearing, the adjustment committee refused to grant Bullock a continuance to secure witnesses. See Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 562 (1974) (due process requires that inmates be permitted, when consistent with institutional safety and correctional goals, to call witnesses and present documentary evidence in their defense). Bullock received a disciplinary report on February 7, notifying him of the hearing. The report contained a detachable witness request form, which was not filled out and returned by Bullock. At the hearing, Bullock orally requested one particular witness to be interviewed. The witness was contacted, but he contradicted Bullock's statement. Bullock then requested a continuance, stating that he had insufficient time to contact witnesses and prepare his defense. The committee denied the request because Bullock did not show good cause; he failed to address the questions of why he had not made the request for witnesses before the hearing, who the witnesses might be, and what each witness would say.

In Davis v. Lane, 814 F.2d 397, 402 (7th Cir.1987), we said that whether a denial of an inmate's request for continuance by the adjustment committee violated due process is a jury question where the request was denied solely because the inmate was unable to name the witnesses he planned to call. We reasoned that the inmate may have needed the continuance not only to gather witnesses but also to determine who such witnesses might be. Davis is distinguishable because there the inmate was either in a hospital outside of the prison or in the prison infirmary during the period preceding the hearing, and the hearing was conducted while he was still recuperating in the infirmary and despite his request for a continuance to locate witnesses.

In the present case, Bullock was given an opportunity to call witnesses prior to the hearing but failed to do so. 1 His own inaction coupled with his failure to adequately explain why he was entitled to a continuance to secure witnesses could lead the adjustment committee to determine that there was no good cause. He cannot now claim that he was denied due process. Cf. Hamilton v. O'Leary, 976 F.2d 341, 346 (7th Cir.1992) (adjustment committee's failure to call prisoner's witnesses in disciplinary hearing did not violate due process where the prisoner failed to fill out the witness request portion of the disciplinary report prior to the hearing).

With respect to the February 28 hearing, Bullock challenges the sufficiency of the evidence for the disciplinary committee to find him guilty of possessing dangerous contraband. 2 Our review of the adjustment committee's finding of guilt is limited to determining whether "there is any evidence in the record that could support [its] conclusion." Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455-56 (1985). This does not require "examination of the entire record, independent assessment of the credibility of witnesses, or weighing of evidence." Id. at 455. Due process is satisfied as long as "some evidence" supports the prison disciplinary board's decision." Id. Although the evidence must "point to the accused's guilt," Lenea v. Lane, 882 F.2d 1171, 1175 (7th Cir.1989), only evidence that was presented to the adjustment committee is relevant to our analysis. Hamilton v. O'Leary, 976 F.2d 341, 346 (7th Cir.1992).

According to the disciplinary report, a ten-inch homemade shank was found in the outside panel over Bullock's cell. At the hearing, Bullock admitted that the shank was found in the top panel of his cell and that he was the sole occupant of the cell. Bullock argues at the district court and on appeal that sixty-four inmates had access to the panel and that any one of them could have placed the shank there. There is no showing in the record that Bullock made this argument to the committee or that the committee was aware of other inmates' access. Neither does the adjustment committee's summary report read in conjunction with the disciplinary report address the question of access. Accordingly, we find Bullock's argument concerning access waived. See Hamilton, 976 F.2d at 347-48 (rejecting inmate's allegation that thirty-two other inmates had access to the vent in which weapons were found where inmate failed to allege in his complaint that this fact was known to the disciplinary committee). While the adjustment committee's evidence is circumstantial, we cannot say that it was not supported by "some evidence." See Id. at 346 (holding "some evidence" requirement satisifed where inmate was found guilty of possessing six homemade weapons discovered in a vent in the cell that inmate shared with three other cellmates).

Bullock also claims that he was unable to present documentary evidence at both hearings. This issue was not raised at the district court. Generally, we will not consider an argument presented for the first time on appeal. Williams v. Turner, No. 91-1283, slip op. at 4-5 (7th Cir. Sept. 28, 1993). See also Singleton v. Wulff, 428 U.S. 106, 120-121 (1976). However, because the defendants do not assert waiver but ignored the claim entirely, they have waived the waiver defense. Colburn v. Trustees of Indiana Univ., 973 F.2d 581, 588 (7th Cir.1992). We find Bullock's...

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