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Campo v. Prosper

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


September 22, 2009

ROBERT CAMPO, PETITIONER,
v.
K. PROSPER, WARDEN, RESPONDENT.

ORDER

Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The parties previously consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction for all purposes. See 28 U.S.C. § 636 (c). Petitioner challenges a 2004 prison disciplinary conviction for possession of inmate manufactured alcohol and a resulting loss of 120 days of time credits. He claims that prison officials failed to provide him with the proper procedural safeguards at his administrative hearing and found him guilty of the rules violation based on false evidence and false testimony, in violation of his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. Upon careful consideration of the record and the applicable law, the undersigned will deny petitioner's application for habeas corpus relief.

BACKGROUND

Petitioner is serving a prison term of 27 years-to-life following his 1985 convictions for murder and kidnapping. (Pet. at 1.)

On November 16, 2004, Correctional Officer Harwood wrote a rules violation report charging petitioner with "manufacturing alcohol." (Pet., Ex. D.) Officer Harwood alleged the following. On November 16, 2004, he conducted a search of petitioner's cell for inmate manufactured alcohol. (Id.) He noticed a strong odor of alcohol in the cell and found a plastic garbage bag containing what appeared to be "the remnant of Inmate Manufactured Alcohol (pulpy substance with a strong odor of alcohol)." (Id.) Petitioner and his cell mate were placed in handcuffs and escorted to a prison office. (Id.) During the escort, both inmates "exhibited signs of intoxication such as strong odor of alcohol on their bodies and staggering (it should be noted that inmate Campo was staggering bad enough that the escort was stopped on two occasions due to Campo possibly falling)." (Id.) Both inmates were informed they would "have to submit to urinalysis for probable cause," but they refused to do so. (Id.)

The November 16, 2004, rules violation report was issued to petitioner on November 29, 2004. (Points and Authorities attached to Pet. (P&A) at 6.) On December 6, 2004, prison officials re-issued the rules violation report to petitioner, with the charge amended to "possession of alcohol." (Id.; Pet., Ex. D.) On December 7, 2004, the disciplinary hearing on the rules violation report commenced. (Pet., Ex. D.) Petitioner was advised of the charges against him and the purpose of the hearing. (Id.) Petitioner did not object to proceeding with the hearing. (Id.) Petitioner requested additional time to complete his written statement. (Id.) This request was granted and the hearing was continued to the next day. (Id.)

On December 8, 2004, the disciplinary hearing resumed. (Id.) Petitioner pled not guilty to the charge against him, stating, "I did not possess any alcohol and no alcohol was discovered in my cell." (Id.) He also "submitted seven written pages as testimony/evidence." (Id.) Petitioner requested five witnesses "to testify specifically that he did not stagger in any way." (Id.) The hearing officer agreed to stipulate that those witnesses would so testify. (Id.) Petitioner also requested the "yard camera videotape," but this request was denied because the videotape had been recorded over and was no longer available. (Id.) Officer Harwood was called as a witness at the hearing. (Id.) He described the contents of the plastic bag found in petitioner's cell and stated that Sergeant Brown verified those contents. (Id.) Petitioner was found guilty of the Division C offense of "possession of alcohol" and was assessed a time credit forfeiture of 120 days. (Id.)

On August 16, 2005, petitioner challenged his disciplinary conviction in a petition for writ of habeas corpus filed in the Lassen County Superior Court. (Answer, Ex. 1.) The Superior Court rejected petitioner's claims, ruling as follows:

Petitioner, in the custody of the California Department of Corrections at the California Correctional Center (CCC), alleges he was wrongfully found guilty of possession of inmate-manufactured alcohol in disciplinary proceedings at that institution on 12/07/04. He alleges he was deprived of due process in that CCC personnel failed to provide him with a cell search receipt, a videotape requested was not available, and favorable witnesses were not allowed. The record of the proceedings reflects that the testimony of those witnesses was stipulated by the SHO.

No showing of a denial of due process is made. The court will not re-weigh the evidence adduced at the in-prison disciplinary proceedings. The petition fails to show that there is no evidence to support the findings (Superintendent v. Hill (1985) 472 U.S. 445; Sultan Turkish Bath, Inc. v. Police Commissioners (1959) 169 Cal.App.2nd 188) and the petition for writ of habeas corpus is denied. (Answer, Ex. 2.)

On January 23, 2005, petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District. (Answer, Ex. 3.) That petition was summarily denied by order dated January 26, 2006. (Answer, Ex. 4.) Subsequently, petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the California Supreme Court. (Answer, Ex. 5.) That petition was summarily denied by order dated April 26, 2006. (Answer, Ex. 6.)

ANALYSIS

I. Standards of Review

Applicable to Habeas Corpus Claims A writ of habeas corpus is available under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 only on the basis of some transgression of federal law binding on the state courts. See Peltier v. Wright, 15 F.3d 860, 861 (9th Cir. 1993); Middleton v. Cupp, 768 F.2d 1083, 1085 (9th Cir. 1985) (citing Engle v. Isaac, 456 U.S. 107, 119 (1982)). A federal writ is not available for alleged error in the interpretation or application of state law. See Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991); Park v. California, 202 F.3d 1146, 1149 (9th Cir. 2000); Middleton, 768 F.2d at 1085. Habeas corpus cannot be utilized to try state issues de novo. Milton v. Wainwright, 407 U.S. 371, 377 (1972).

This action is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"). See Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 336 (1997); Clark v. Murphy, 331 F.3d 1062, 1067 (9th Cir. 2003). The following standards govern the granting of habeas corpus relief:

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 the State court proceeding.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). See also Penry v. Johnson, 532 U.S. 782, 792-93 (2001); Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362 (2000); Lockhart v. Terhune, 250 F.3d 1223, 1229 (9th Cir. 2001). If the state court's decision does not meet the criteria set forth in § 2254(d), a reviewing court must conduct a de novo review of a habeas petitioner's claims. Delgadillo v. Woodford, 527 F.3d 919, 925 (9th Cir. 2008). See also Frantz v. Hazey, 513 F.3d 1002, 1013 (9th Cir. 2008) (en banc) ("[I]t is now clear both that we may not grant habeas relief simply because of § 2254(d)(1) error and that, if there is such error, we must decide the habeas petition by considering de novo the constitutional issues raised.").

The court looks to the last reasoned state court decision as the basis for the state court judgment. Robinson v. Ignacio, 360 F.3d 1044, 1055 (9th Cir. 2004). If the last reasoned state court decision adopts or substantially incorporates the reasoning from a previous state court decision, this court may consider both decisions to ascertain the reasoning of the last decision. Edwards v. Lamarque, 475 F.3d 1121, 1126 (9th Cir. 2007) (en banc). Where the state court reaches a decision on the merits but provides no reasoning to support its conclusion, a federal habeas court independently reviews the record to determine whether habeas corpus relief is available under § 2254(d). Himes v. Thompson, 336 F.3d 848, 853 (9th Cir. 2003); Pirtle v. Morgan, 313 F.3d 1160, 1167 (9th Cir. 2002). When it is clear that a state court has not reached the merits of a petitioner's claim, or has denied the claim on procedural grounds, the AEDPA's deferential standard does not apply and a federal habeas court must review the claim de novo. Nulph v. Cook, 333 F.3d 1052, 1056 (9th Cir. 2003).

II. Petitioner's Claims

Petitioner raises several claims in the instant petition. First, he claims that his rules violation conviction was obtained through the use of false and fabricated evidence. (P&A at 7.) In this regard, he alleges that the rules violation report authored by Officer Harwood was "falsified." (Id. at 11.) In support of this argument, petitioner has attached a copy of a document entitled "worksheet," authored by Correctional Officer J. Crawford. (Pet., Ex. G.) The worksheet appears to be a draft of a rules violation report. In the worksheet, Officer Crawford explains that he conducted a search of petitioner's cell on November 16, 2004, and confiscated what appeared to be inmate manufactured alcohol. (Id.) The allegations in the worksheet are identical to the allegations in the rules violation report authored by Officer Harwood, except that Officer Harwood's report adds the allegations that petitioner and his cellmate were escorted to a prison office after the alcohol was discovered; that petitioner staggered, and almost fell, while being escorted; and that petitioner and his cellmate refused to submit to a urinalysis test. (Compare Pet., Ex. G with Pet., Ex. D.) The rules violation report states that Harwood conducted the search of petitioner's cell and discovered the contraband, whereas the worksheet is written in the first person and therefore suggests that Officer Crawford may have conducted the search of petitioner's cell and discovered the contraband. The worksheet indicates that it was signed, or approved, by Officers Brown and Riley on November 18, 2004. (Pet., Ex. G.) The rules violation report is dated November 16, 2004. (Pet., Ex. D.)

Based on the foregoing, petitioner argues that: (1) Officer Harwood "falsified" the rules violation report, "alter[ed] the report from its original draft," and "knowingly gave false statements;" (2) the "original approved reporting officer was J. Crawford not C.O. R. Harwood;" (3) Officer Harwood generated ("back dated") his rules violation report on November 16, 2004, prior to the date the rough draft was approved by Officers Brown and Riley on November 18, 2004; (4) Officer Harwood added incriminating and false details to his rules violation report that were not contained in Officer Crawford's rough draft; and (5) during his testimony at the disciplinary hearing, Officer Harwood "used his experience to cloud the judgment" of the disciplinary hearing officer. (P&A at 11, 17, 18.) In sum, petitioner claims that Officer Harwood "filed a fraudulent report against petitioner, then using his years of experience included incriminating statements to the report convincing the SHO to disregard any and all evidence, and find guilt based solely on his given testimony." (Id. at 12.) Petitioner argues that these events demonstrate the evidence against him was "fraudulent" and "deceitful" and that Officer Harwood acted in "bad faith" and in violation of petitioner's right to due process. (Id.)

Petitioner also claims that his request at the disciplinary hearing for the production of documentary evidence was improperly denied. (Id. at 6 & Exs. D, E.) A review of the record reflects that petitioner submitted seven handwritten pages of "testimony/evidence" at the disciplinary hearing. (Pet., Ex. D at 2, Ex. E.) Included in that seven-page document is a section entitled "evidence requested," in which petitioner requests: (1) the video from the exercise yard at the time of the relevant events; (2) the results of a sobriety test which he alleges was administered on November 16, 2004; (3) the receipt for the search of petitioner's cell; (4) the original handwritten drafts of the rules violation report at issue; and (5) the "log sheet" reflecting the authors of any drafts of the rules violation report. (Pet., Ex. E at 6.) Apparently, none of these requests for production was granted at the disciplinary hearing. Petitioner argues that the requested items "fall short of being hazardous to the institutional safety and should have been allowed under the tenets of Due Process." (P&A at 9.) He alleges that he was "denied access to everything that he requested violating his basic right to due process." (Traverse at 7.) Petitioner contends that his inability to obtain this discovery, and particularly the draft rules violation report described above and attached as Exhibit G to the petition, prevented him from presenting a "competent defense." (P&A at 10.)

Petitioner further claims that the failure of prison officials to give him a receipt documenting the items found in his cell ("cell search slip"), and their failure to include in the rules violation report any verification that a correctional "superior" confirmed that a fermented liquid was found in petitioner's cell, violated California regulations. (Id. at 13.)

III. Applicable Law

It is well established that inmates subjected to disciplinary action are entitled to certain procedural protections under the Due Process Clause but are not entitled to the full panoply of rights afforded to criminal defendants. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 556 (1974); see also Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455-56 (1985); United States v. Segal, 549 F.2d 1293, 1296-99 (9th Cir. 1977) (observing that prison disciplinary proceedings command the least amount of due process along the prosecution continuum). An inmate is entitled to advance written notice of the charge against him as well as a written statement of the evidence relied upon by prison officials and the reasons for any disciplinary action taken. See Wolff, 418 U.S. at 563. In the disciplinary hearing context, an inmate does not have a right to counsel, retained or appointed, although illiterate inmates are entitled to assistance. Id. at 570.

An inmate has a right to a hearing at which he may "call witnesses and present documentary evidence in his defense when permitting him to do so will not be unduly hazardous to institutional safety or correctional goals." Wolff, 418 U.S. at 566. See also Ponte v. Real, 471 U.S. 491, 495 (1985). "Prison officials must have the necessary discretion to keep the hearing within reasonable limits and to refuse to call witnesses that may create a risk of reprisal or undermine authority, as well as to limit access to other inmates to collect statements or to compile other documentary evidence." Wolff, 418 U.S. at 566. Prison officials may, but are not required to, explain their reasons limiting an inmate's efforts to defend himself. Ponte, 471 U.S. at 497. As a general rule, inmates "have no constitutional right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses" in prison disciplinary hearings. Id. at 510 (Marshall, J., dissenting). See also Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308, 322-23 (1976).

The disciplinary hearing must be conducted by a person or body that is "sufficiently impartial to satisfy the Due Process Clause." Wolff, 418 U.S. at 571. The decision rendered on a disciplinary charge must be supported by "some evidence" in the record. Hill, 472 U.S. at 455. A finding of guilt cannot be "without support" or "arbitrary." Id. at 457. The "some evidence" standard is "minimally stringent," and a decision must be upheld if there is any reliable evidence in the record that could support the conclusion reached by the fact finder. Powell v. Gomez, 33 F.3d 39, 40 (9th Cir. 1994) (citing Hill, 472 U.S. at 455-56 and Cato v. Rushen, 824 F.2d 703, 705 (9th Cir. 1987)). See also Burnsworth v. Gunderson, 179 F.3d 771, 773 (9th Cir. 1990); Zimmerlee v. Keeney, 831 F.2d 183, 186 (9th Cir. 1987). Determining whether this standard is satisfied does not require examination of the entire record, independent assessment of the credibility of witnesses, or the weighing of evidence. Toussaint v. McCarthy, 801 F.2d 1080, 1105 (9th Cir. 1986), abrogated in part on other grounds by Sandin v. Connor, 515 U.S. 472 (1995). Indeed, in examining the record, a court is not to make its own assessment of the credibility of witnesses or re-weigh the evidence. Hill, 472 U.S. at 455. The question is whether there is any reliable evidence in the record that could support the decision reached. Toussaint, 801 F.2d at 1105.

Where a protected liberty interest exists, the requirements imposed by the Due Process Clause are "dependent upon the particular situation being examined." Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 472 (1983). The process due is such procedural protection as may be "necessary to ensure that the decision . . . is neither arbitrary nor erroneous." Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 228 (1990). In identifying the safeguards required in the context of disciplinary proceedings, courts must remember "the legitimate institutional needs of assuring the safety of inmates and prisoners" and avoid "burdensome administrative requirements that might be susceptible to manipulation." Hill, 472 U.S. at 454-55. The requirements of due process in the prison context involve a balancing of inmate rights and institutional security concerns, with a recognition that broad discretion must be accorded to prison officials. Wolff, 418 U.S. at 560-63; see also Baxter, 425 U.S. at 324.

IV. Analysis

A. False Evidence

As described above, petitioner alleges that the rules violation report issued by Officer Harwood was "false." He provides evidence that another officer may have actually written the draft of the report. Petitioner alleges that several of the allegations in the report, such as the allegation that petitioner was staggering while escorted to a prison office, and that he refused to submit to urinalysis testing, were added by Officer Harwood to the report and are false. Petitioner also appears to be alleging that because Officer Harwood was not the "actual reporting C.O.," his testimony at the disciplinary hearing was necessarily false. The question before the court is whether these circumstances violated petitioner's right to due process.

The Second Circuit has held in the context of an action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that "[a]lthough prisoners are entitled to be free from arbitrary action and conduct of prison officials, the protections against arbitrary action 'are the procedural due process requirements as set forth in Wolff v. McDonnell.'" Freeman v. Rideout, 808 F.2d 949, 952 (2nd Cir. 1986) (quoting Hanrahan v. Lane, 747 F.2d 1137, 1140 (7th Cir. 1984)). Prisoners have "no constitutionally guaranteed immunity from being falsely or wrongly accused of conduct which may result in the deprivation of a protected liberty interest," but they do have "the right not to be deprived of a protected liberty interest without due process of law." 808 F.2d at 951. See also Sprouse v. Babcock, 870 F.2d 450, 452 (8th Cir. 1989) (finding inmate's claims based upon falsity of charges brought by a prison counselor did not state a constitutional claim). Therefore, "[w]hile in no way condoning "trumped up charges" or the use of "falsified documents" in any official proceeding, even the filing of false disciplinary charges is not itself a due process violation, provided the procedural due process requirements of Wolff are observed." Deadmon v. Grannis, No. 06cv1382-LAB (WMC), 2008 WL 595883, *10 (S.D. Cal. Feb. 29, 2008); see also Saenz v. Spearman, No. 1:09-cv-00557-GSA-YNP (PC), 2009 WL 2365405, * 8 (E.D. Cal. July 29, 2009) ("The Due Process Clause does not provide a guarantee that Plaintiff will be free from fabricated accusations of disciplinary violations."). Cf. Napue v. Illinois, 360 U.S. 264 (1959) (a criminal conviction obtained using knowingly perjured testimony violates due process).

Notwithstanding petitioner's accusation that the evidence against him at the disciplinary hearing was "false" and "fraudulent," in violation of the Due Process Clause, this court concludes that petitioner received all the process that was due to him in connection with the 2004 disciplinary charge and hearing thereon. Petitioner received advance written notice of the charge against him as well as a written statement of the evidence relied upon by prison officials and the reasons for the disciplinary action taken. See Wolff, 418 U.S. at 563. Although petitioner was not allowed to call live witnesses, the hearing officer stipulated to their proposed testimony as proffered by petitioner. (Pet., Ex. D.) Petitioner could presumably have questioned Officer Harwood, who appeared in person at the hearing. Petitioner was also allowed to present his own seven-page statement explaining his defense to the disciplinary charge. (Id.)

Here, the record also demonstrates there was "some evidence in the record that could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary board." Hill, 472 U.S. at 455. Officer Harwood testified that he found inmate manufactured alcohol in petitioner's cell. Although petitioner has provided evidence that another correctional officer may have written a rough draft of the rules violation report, there is no evidence that Officer Harwood's testimony in this regard was "false" or that any of the allegations in the rules violation report were fabricated. There is also no indication that evidence was planted in petitioner's cell or was discarded by prison officials in bad faith. In any event, this court may not relitigate the merits of the disciplinary hearing by reassessing the hearing testimony or the credibility of Officer Harwood, or by weighing his testimony against petitioner's stipulated witnesses or his own written statement.

Further, none of the evidence before this court indicates that petitioner was convicted of a disciplinary violation that he did not commit. On the contrary, all of the evidence before this court supports the finding of the disciplinary fact-finder that petitioner possessed alcohol in his cell. To the extent petitioner may be arguing that Officer Crawford, and not Officer Harwood, conducted the search of his cell, the record does not support that argument. In the "statement of events" that petitioner submitted at the disciplinary hearing, petitioner stated that Officer Harwood performed the search of his cell; placed him in restraints; told petitioner that he smelled alcohol and that he was going to place petitioner in segregated housing; escorted him to an office and placed him in a holding cage; showed petitioner two bottles and asked if he knew "what they were for;" and gave him a sobriety test. (Pet., Ex. E at 1.) Accordingly, there appears to be no dispute that Officer Harwood searched petitioner's cell and accused petitioner of possessing alcohol in his cell.

In support of his due process claim, petitioner cites the decisions in Griffin v. Spratt, 969 F.2d 16 (3rd Cir. 1992) and Morrison v. Lefevre, 592 F. Supp. 1052, 1070 (D.C.N.Y. 1984). In Griffin, a state prisoner brought a civil rights action against prison officials, alleging that he was placed in disciplinary custody for possession of inmate manufactured alcohol in violation of due process. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found that the failure of prison officials to preserve the alleged fermented beverage until the disciplinary hearing violated the prisoner's right to due process. Griffin v. Spratt, 768 F. Supp. 153, 157 (E.D. Pa. 1991). On appeal, the Third Circuit held that absent evidence the beverages were discarded in bad faith, failure to preserve them until the time of the hearing did not violate due process. Griffin, 969 F.2d at 21. The Court of Appeals also concluded that sufficient evidence supported the petitioner's disciplinary conviction even though the hearing examiner based his decision regarding the nature of the beverages exclusively on the testimony of one correctional officer. 969 F.2d at 22. The holding of the Third Circuit in Griffin does not support petitioner's claims. As noted above, there is no evidence in this case that prison officials failed to preserve the alcohol found in petitioner's cell in bad faith, or that insufficient evidence supported petitioner's conviction on the rule violation charge.

In Morrison, correctional officers who planted and relied on false evidence in transferring plaintiff to segregated housing in retaliation for protected litigation activities were found liable in a civil rights action for depriving the plaintiff of his liberty without due process of law. The court in that case concluded that "[h]owever minimal may be the process due to prisoners before segregation, that process is insufficient when it has been contaminated by the introduction through state action of false inculpatory evidence." Morrison, 592 F. Supp. at 1073. In Morrison, however, the plaintiff did not receive a hearing. Rather, it was the mere filing of the charge itself that caused the plaintiff to be segregated. In the present case, petitioner was granted a disciplinary hearing and was provided a full opportunity to rebut the charges he now claims were false. The holding in the Morrison case, therefore, does not support petitioner's claims in the instant petition. See Freeman v. Rideout, 808 F.2d at 952-53 (distinguishing Morrison).

B. Documentary Evidence

Petitioner also claims that prison authorities violated his right to due process when they refused to provide him with documents and other discovery requested in the seven-page "statement" he submitted at the disciplinary hearing. As described above, petitioner asked for (1) the video from the exercise yard at the time of the relevant events; (2) the results of the sobriety test administered on November 16, 2004; (3) the receipt for the search of petitioner's cell; (4) the original handwritten drafts of the rules violation report at issue; and (5) the "log sheet" reflecting the authors of any drafts of the rules violation report. (Pet., Ex. E at 6.) The rules violation report states that the requested videotape had been destroyed and was no longer available. Officer Harwood testified that petitioner refused to take a sobriety test on the day in question.*fn1

Petitioner has now received the original handwritten draft of the rules violation report and, as discussed above, that document does not demonstrate, nor does it even suggest, that the allegations against petitioner were "false." Under these circumstances, even though petitioner was not provided with the discovery he requested at the hearing, he has failed to demonstrate that his inability to obtain this evidence resulted in any fundamental unfairness. See Keel v. Dovey, 459 F. Supp. 2d 946, 959 (C.D. Cal. 2006) (due process satisfied where prisoner was provided notice of the evidence to be relied upon at the disciplinary hearing and no further discovery need be granted). This court does not find that the officials' failure to provide the evidence requested by petitioner in his "statement" rose to the level of a due process violation.

In support of his claim in this regard, petitioner cites the decision in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). In Brady, the United States Supreme Court held "that the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution." 373 U.S. at 87. Assuming arguendo that the holding in Brady applies to prison disciplinary hearings*fn2 , petitioner is not entitled to relief in this case. In order to demonstrate a Brady violation, one must show that the requested evidence is "favorable to the accused," that it was "suppressed by the State, either willfully or inadvertently," and that prejudice ensued. Strickler v. Greene, 527 U.S. 263, 281-82 (1999). Petitioner has failed to demonstrate that any of those factors exist here.

Accordingly, for all of the reasons described above, petitioner is not entitled to habeas relief on this due process claim.

C. State Law Claims

Petitioner also claims that he did not receive a cell search slip and that the rules violation report did not specify that a supervisor had verified the presence of contraband in his cell. (P&A at 13.) These claims are based on alleged violations of state law and are not cognizable in a federal habeas corpus action. Engle, 456 U.S. at 119. To the extent petitioner is arguing that the failure by prison officials to comply with these procedural requirements cast doubt on the legitimacy of the evidence against him in connection with the rule violation charge, his argument must be rejected. As explained above, this court has concluded that "some evidence" supported petitioner's disciplinary conviction and that his right to due process was not violated at the December 8, 2004, hearing.

CONCLUSION

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner's application for a writ of habeas corpus is denied.


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