BAYLOR (MICHAEL) VS. FLETCHER (RON)Annotate this Case
RENDERED: OCTOBER 24, 2008; 2:00 P.M.
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Court of Appeals
APPEAL FROM LYON CIRCUIT COURT
HONORABLE CLARENCE A. WOODALL, III, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 07-CI-00213
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BEFORE: COMBS, CHIEF JUDGE; DIXON AND TAYLOR, JUDGES.
COMBS, CHIEF JUDGE: Michael Baylor, proceeding pro se, appeals from an
order of the Lyon Circuit Court dismissing his petition for declaration of rights
following a prison disciplinary proceeding. After our review, we affirm.
This case arose from an incident that took place on July 8, 2007, at the
Kentucky State Penitentiary (KSP) in Eddyville, Kentucky, where Baylor is an
inmate. According to the “Disciplinary Report Form PART I – Write Up and
Investigation,” which was filed after the incident occurred, Officer K. Lewis
overheard Baylor “yelling and talking to other inmates on the walk about trying to
start a riot or a sit-in. These actions were disrupting the whole walk.” According
to a follow-up investigatory account contained in the same report form, Baylor
denied making the statements. He claimed that he had only been telling some
other inmates that they “need to make the officers use the chain of command and
make the supervisors come on the walk.” The report also contained statements
from Anthony Davidson and Nathan Nelson, two other inmates at the prison,
indicating that Baylor had said nothing about a riot or sit-in. According to
Davidson, Baylor had been referring to a problem that several inmates had been
having concerning being written-up for torn sheets and expressing his belief that
grievances should be filed.
Baylor was subsequently charged with “inciting to riot,” a Category
VI, Item 1 prison disciplinary offense. On July 18, 2007, he appeared before a
Department of Corrections adjustment committee for a hearing. The committee
found him guilty of the charged offense, citing the disciplinary report and the
testimony at the hearing of Officer Lewis that Baylor was trying to incite a riot or a
sit-in. Baylor received a penalty of ninety-days’ disciplinary segregation.
Baylor filed an appeal to the KSP warden. He argued that the
adjustment committee erred by allowing Lewis to testify that he had recognized
Baylor’s voice when the “riot” comments were made. Baylor also complained that
Lewis never actually saw him making the comments in question but instead
overheard them while sitting at his desk. Baylor also argued that the adjustment
committee’s findings of fact were not sufficiently specific. The warden denied this
appeal on August 2, 2007, finding that there was sufficient evidence to support the
On August 24, 2007, Baylor filed a petition for declaration of rights in
the Lyon Circuit Court. He alleged that he had been denied due process at the
prison disciplinary hearing, arguing insufficiency of evidence that he had
committed the disciplinary infraction and failure of the adjustment committee to
follow its own rules and procedures. Baylor also claimed that the committee had
erred by allowing Officer Lewis to testify that he had recognized Baylor’s voice.
Baylor finally contended that his due process rights had been violated because a
member of the adjustment committee had had a “personal interest” in the outcome
of his hearing. Baylor requested either a new disciplinary hearing or expungement
of the disciplinary infraction from his record.
On November 1, 2007, the circuit court entered an order dismissing
Baylor’s petition for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
The court found that he had failed to allege any facts demonstrating a violation of
his right to due process and concluded that there was sufficient evidence to support
the decision of the adjustment committee. This appeal followed.
Baylor raises three arguments on appeal: (1) that the committee’s
decision was not supported by sufficient evidence and that, therefore, it constituted
a violation of due process; (2) that the circuit court erred by not finding that the
punishment of ninety-days’ disciplinary segregation was a violation of due process
because it was “atypical and significant” in nature; and (3) that the adjustment
committee erred by failing to follow its own rules and procedures.
Baylor first argues that the disciplinary decision was not supported by
sufficient evidence, thereby constituting a violation of due process. The United
States Supreme Court has recognized that “[p]rison disciplinary proceedings are
not part of a criminal prosecution, and the full panoply of rights due a defendant in
such proceedings does not apply.” Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 556, 94
S.Ct. 2963, 2975, 41 L.Ed.2d 935 (1974); see also Webb v. Sharp, 223 S.W.3d
113, 117 (Ky. 2007). Nonetheless, in cases where a loss of good-time credit is at
stake, inmates must receive:
(1) advance written notice of the disciplinary charges; (2)
an opportunity, when consistent with institutional safety
and correctional goals, to call witnesses and present
documentary evidence in his defense; and (3) a written
statement by the factfinder of the evidence relied on and
the reasons for the disciplinary action.
Superintendent, Mass. Correctional Inst., Walpole v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454, 105
S.Ct. 2768, 2773, 86 L.Ed.2d 356 (1985); see also Webb, 223 S.W.3d at 117-18.
From our review of the record, it appears that all of these requirements have been
satisfied. Baylor does not raise an argument to the contrary.
The U.S. Supreme Court has also held that the requirements of due
process are satisfied even if “some evidence” exists to support a decision of a
prison disciplinary board. Hill, 472 U.S. at 455, 105 S.Ct. at 2774; see also Webb,
223 S.W.3d at 118. Even “meager” evidence has been found to meet this burden.
Hill, 472 U.S. at 457, 105 S.Ct. at 2775. “Ascertaining whether this standard is
satisfied does not require examination of the entire record, independent assessment
of the credibility of witnesses, or weighing of the evidence.” Id., 472 U.S. at 455,
105 S.Ct. at 2774.
When the “some evidence” standard is met, we are obligated
to affirm the decision of the adjustment committee. Yates v. Fletcher, 120 S.W.3d
728, 731 (Ky.App. 2003).
Accordingly, the only relevant question for our consideration “is
whether there is any evidence in the record that could support the conclusion
reached by the disciplinary board.” Hill, 472 U.S. at 455-56, 105 S.Ct. at 2774
(Emphasis added); see also Webb, 223 S.W.3d at 118. In conducting our review,
we note that prison officials are granted broad discretion in prison disciplinary
matters. Id.; Gilhaus v. Wilson, 734 S.W.2d 808, 810 (Ky.App. 1987).
Baylor has failed to allege or to provide evidence of any facts to
substantiate that a due process violation occurred in his case. According to the
committee’s factual findings contained in “Disciplinary Report Form PART IIHearing/Appeal,” Officer Lewis testified that Baylor was attempting to start a riot
or sit-in. These findings were not detailed, but such findings may be brief and still
be deemed sufficient. Yates, 120 S.W.3d at 731; Gilhaus, 734 S.W.2d at 810.
The “Disciplinary Report Forms” contain two parts: “Disciplinary
Report Form PART I – Write Up and Investigation,” which contains the specific
charge and the facts to support the charge; and “Disciplinary Report Form PART II
– Hearing/Appeal,” which includes the findings of the adjustment committee.
Yates, 120 S.W.3d at 731. Yates held that “PART II” of these report forms
incorporated by reference “PART I” when the adjustment committee’s factual
findings made reference to an incident report. Id. Such was the case with Baylor’s
procedure. Officer Lewis’s initial incident report was more detailed than the
committee’s subsequent findings. His report reflected that Baylor “was yelling and
talking to other inmates on the walk about trying to start a riot or sit-in.” When
viewed together, Officer Lewis’s statement and the findings of fact of the
adjustment committee satisfy our conclusion that “some evidence” standard was
Baylor has made a number of factual assertions in his brief concerning
Officer Lewis’s responses to his questions during the adjustment hearing and their
effect on the “some evidence” standard. However, we have not received any
record – written or recorded – of the hearing other than “PART II” of the
“Disciplinary Report Form.” The appellant bears the burden of providing us with a
reviewable record. See Ventors v. Watts, 686 S.W.2d 833, 835 (Ky.App. 1985).
Since we have no transcript or recording of the adjustment hearing, we must
conclude that the evidence presented during the hearing supported the committee’s
Baylor next argues that the circuit court erred by not finding that his
punishment of ninety-days’ disciplinary segregation amounted to a violation of due
process because it was “atypical and significant” in nature. He did not present this
argument before the KSP warden in his administrative appeal. Failure to raise an
issue in the prison disciplinary proceedings constitutes a waiver that precludes
judicial review for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Houston v. Fletcher,
193 S.W.3d 276, 278 (Ky.App. 2006); O’Dea v. Clark, 883 S.W.2d 888, 892
(Ky.App. 1994); KRS 454.415(1). We also note that Baylor did not raise this
argument before the circuit court. Thus, we cannot consider his claim.
Baylor’s last argument is that the adjustment committee erred by
failing to follow its own rules and procedures – Kentucky Corrections Policies and
Procedures (CPP) 15.6 in particular. He contends that the adjustment committee
failed to identify the specific evidence upon which it relied in finding him guilty
and that its decision was based solely upon Officer Lewis’s report. However, the
committee’s factual findings reflect that it relied upon Lewis’s “interview during
this A/C hearing that  I/M Baylor was trying to start a riot or sit-in” along with
his incident report. Thus, this argument lacks a basis in fact.
We affirm the judgment of the Lyon Circuit Court.
BRIEF FOR APPELLANT:
BRIEF FOR APPELLEE:
Michael Anthony Baylor, pro se
Angela E. Cordery
Justice and Public Safety Cabinet