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Norwood v. Roberts

Court of Appeals of Kansas

March 17, 2017

Larry D. Norwood, Appellant,
v.
Ray Roberts, Secretary of Corrections, Appellee.

          SYLLABUS

          1. The level of process due to an inmate in a prison disciplinary setting is not the same as in a criminal trial: the inmate is only entitled to a minimal level of due process.

         2. When a court reviews a prison disciplinary sanction to see whether the finding of a violation of prison rules is supported by evidence, all that's required is that there be some evidence supporting the finding.

         3. Prison officials are not required to provide inmates with access to materials that could threaten safety within the prison. Accordingly, the inmate's rights were not violated when a hearing officer reviewed a surveillance videotape outside of the inmate's presence.

          4. On the facts of this case, some evidence supported the hearing officer's conclusion that the inmate violated a prison regulation.

         Appeal from Leavenworth District Court; Gunnar A. Sundby, judge. Affirmed.

          Larry D. Norwood, appellant pro se.

          Sherri Price, special assistant attorney general, Lansing Correctional Facility, for appellee.

          Before Leben, P.J., Powell and Schroeder, JJ.

          Leben, J.

         In a prison disciplinary hearing, Larry D. Norwood was found guilty of threatening or intimidating a correctional officer based on the officer's report that Norwood had shoved a door into him. On appeal, Norwood argues that his due-process rights have been violated because the evidence doesn't support the disciplinary conviction and because he should have been present when the hearing officer watched the video of the incident.

         But the level of process due to an inmate in a prison disciplinary hearing is not the same as in a criminal trial: the inmate is only entitled to a minimal level of due process. See Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455-56, 105 S.Ct. 2768, 86 L.Ed.2d 356 (1985); Deere v. Heimgartner, No. 113, 944, 2015 WL 8590897, at *4 (Kan. App. 2015) (unpublished opinion). Accordingly, on appeal, we ask only whether some evidence supports the conviction. Frost v. McKune, 44 Kan.App.2d 661, 664, 239 P.3d 900 (2010). Here, both the correctional officer's report of what happened and the hearing officer's description of the video support the conviction. And while inmates do have the right to be present when testimony and evidence are laid out at a disciplinary hearing, this right doesn't extend to watching surveillance-video evidence from prison security cameras. See Swafford v. McKune, 46 Kan.App.2d 325, Syl. ¶ 5, 263 P.3d 791 (2011); K.A.R. 44-13-403(1)(1). We therefore affirm the district court's judgment.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         In August 2014, a correctional officer named Burge (his first name doesn't appear in the record on appeal) issued Norwood a disciplinary report for threatening or intimidating him in violation of a prison regulation, K.A.R. 44-12-306. According to the report, Burge told Norwood that he wasn't going to argue with him and to stop following him, and when Burge walked ...


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