Second inmate disciplined for kissing allegations secures habeas relief

A second woman disciplined for allegedly kissing another inmate at the Rockville Correctional Facility has been granted habeas corpus relief, the Southern District Court ruled Friday.

District Judge James R. Sweeney II found offender Teri Rigley was deprived of due process when she was charged with attempting to engage in sexual conduct after a lieutenant alleged she saw Rigley kissing fellow inmate Shonda Shropshire “on the mouth” in front of the chow hall.

Both Rigley and Shropshire asserted that they were arguing and not kissing, citing several witnesses who claimed to have seen the same. However, both were found guilty of the charge based solely on the testimony of the lieutenant and were deprived of 30 days’ earned credit time, among other things.

An appeal review officer later modified Shrophire’s charge to “disorderly conduct” and stated “the facts of the charged conduct more properly indicate a violation of code (Code) B236.” No explanation was provided as to what evidence led him to that conclusion or why and Shropshire’s sanctions were not modified.

The Southern District Court ultimately granted Shropshire’s petition for habeas corpus relief after finding no evidence supported the disorderly conduct charge and that Shropshire was not given sufficient notice of the disciplinary charge for which she was convicted and punished.

A similar ruling came down for Rigley after the Southern District Court found she too was denied due process in Rigley v. Warden, 19-cv-00324. 

Because Ms. Rigley was denied due process in (prison disciplinary case) RTC 19- 02-0346, her petition for a writ of habeas corpus is granted. Ms. Rigley’s disciplinary conviction must be vacated and her sanctions rescinded. Her earned credit time must be immediately restored, and her new release date must be calculated accordingly,” Sweeney wrote for the district court.

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