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BROSE v. HERNANDEZ

October 4, 2005.

CHARLES H. BROSE, Petitioner,
v.
R.J. HERNANDEZ, Warden, Respondent.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES STIVEN, Magistrate Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO DENY PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
Charles H. Brose, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, raising one ground for relief. The Court has considered the Petition, Respondent's Answer, and all supporting documents submitted by the parties. Based upon the documents and evidence presented in this case, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that the Petition be DENIED and the case be dismissed with prejudice.

I. Factual Background

  On April 18, 2003, Petitioner pleaded guilty to receiving a stolen vehicle with a prior. He was sentenced to four years in prison less 270 days credit for time spent in custody. (Lodgment 6.) At a March 16, 2004, disciplinary hearing, Petitioner was found to be in possession of inmate manufactured alcohol in violation of 15 Cal. Code Regs. § 3016(a). As a result, Petitioner lost 120 days of good behavior credits. (Lodgment 2.)

  II. Procedural Background

  Petitioner filed a number of petitions for writ of habeas corpus, requesting to have his good behavior credits reinstated. The first through fourth petitions were denied, because Petitioner had not exhausted all of his administrative remedies. (Pet., Exh. A.) After Petitioner exhausted his administrative remedies, the superior court considered and denied his fifth petition for writ of habeas corpus on December 21, 2004. (Lodgment 4.) Petitioner then filed a "petition for writ of mandate" in the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One. (Lodgment 5.) The state appellate court treated the petition as a petition for writ of habeas corpus and denied the petition on February 7, 2005. (Lodgment 6.) On March 7, 2005, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the California Supreme Court. (Lodgment 7.) The state supreme court denied the petition on March 23, 2005. (Lodgment 8.)

  On April 15, 2005, Petitioner filed the current Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Docket No. 1.) Respondent filed an Answer and Lodgments on June 20, 2005. (Docket Nos. 5-6.) Petitioner has not filed a Traverse in this case.

  III. Discussion

  A. Scope of Review

  Title 28, United States Code, § 2254(a), sets forth the following scope of review for federal habeas corpus claims:
The Supreme Court, a Justice thereof, a circuit judge, or a district court shall entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(a) (1994) (emphasis added).
  The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA") applies to habeas corpus petitions filed after 1996. Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320 (1997). As amended, 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) reads:
(d) An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim —
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in State court proceeding. 28 U.S.C.A. § 2254(d) (West Supp. 2004).
  To obtain federal habeas relief, Petitioner must satisfy either § 2254(d)(1) or § 2254(d)(2). Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 403 (2000). The Supreme Court interprets § 2254(d)(1) as follows:
 
Under the "contrary to" clause, a federal habeas court may grant the writ if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by this Court on a question of law or if the state court decided a case differently than this Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Under the "unreasonable application" clause, a federal habeas court may grant the writ if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from this Court's decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case.
Williams, 529 U.S. at 412-13; see Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 73-74 (2003).

  Where there is no reasoned decision from the state's highest court, this Court "looks through" to the underlying appellate court decision. Ylst v. Nunnemaker, 501 U.S. 797, 803 (1991). If the dispositive state court order does not "furnish a basis for its reasoning," federal habeas courts must conduct an independent review of the record "to determine whether the state court clearly erred in its application of controlling federal law." Himes v. Thompson, 336 F.3d 848, 853 (9th Cir. 2003); Delgado v. Lewis, 223 F.3d 976, 982 (9th Cir. 2000) (overruled on other grounds by Lockyer, 538 U.S. at 75-76). However, a state court need not cite Supreme Court precedent when resolving a habeas corpus claim. Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8 (2002). As long as neither the reasoning nor the result of the state-court decision contradicts Supreme Court precedent, the state court decision will not be "contrary to" clearly established federal law. Id.

  B. Analysis

  Petitioner's only claim for relief is that his good behavior credits were reduced in violation of his due process rights. (Pet., Exh. A.) Petitioner argues that his cell mate was the one making the alcohol, and his cell mate took full responsibility for the alcohol in the cell. (Pet., Exh. D.) Petitioner further argues that the California Department of Corrections violated its own guidelines and regulations when it took away his good behavior credits. Respondent argues that the prison disciplinary proceedings were based on state law and, therefore, do not establish a claim for federal habeas corpus relief. Respondent also argues that, even if the ...


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