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Nia v. Smelosky

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


July 7, 2010

AASIM NIA, PETITIONER,
v.
M. SMELOSKY, WARDEN, RESPONDENT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Thomas J. Whelan United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY (DOC. NO. 23.)

On April 21, 2010, this Court denied Petitioner Aasim Nia's ("Petitioner") writ for habeas corpus. (Doc. No. 17.) Petitioner is now requesting a Certificate of Appealability. (Doc. No. 23.) The Court decides the matter without oral argument. See S.D. Cal. Civ. R. 7.1.(d.1). And for the reasons discussed below, the Court DENIES Petitioner a COA.

I. BACKGROUND

Petitioner is a prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at the Kern Valley State Prison. Petitioner was formerly housed at Centinela State Prison. As a prisoner at Centinela, Petitioner was found guilty of a Rules Violation and was assessed a thirty day credit forfeiture, along with a ninety day privileges suspension.

Petitioner challenged the Centinela disciplinary action through the prison grievance system and his appeal was denied at the highest level of review on February 28, 2001. (Lodgment 3.) He then filed petitions for writs of habeas corpus in the California courts, which were denied at every level. (Lodgment 5, 7, & 9.)

On July 31, 2008, after exhausting all administrative and state remedies, Petitioner filed the instant federal petition, raising the same due process claim. (Report at 2.) On April 21, 2010, this Court denied Petitioner's habeas petition and ordered the case dismissed. (Doc. No. 17.) Petitioner now seeks a Certificate of Appealability ("COA") in regards to that decision.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (1996) ("AEDPA"), a state prisoner may not appeal the denial of a...habeas petition unless he obtains a COA from a district or circuit judge. 28 U.S.C. § 2253 (c)(1)(A); see also United States v. Asrar, 116 F.3d 1268, 1269-70 (9th Cir. 1997) (holding that district courts retain authority to issue COAs under the AEDPA).

In deciding whether to grant a COA, a court must either indicate the specific issues supporting a certificate or state reasons why a certificate is not warranted. Asrar, 116 F.3d at 1270. A court may issue a COA only if the applicant has made a "substantial showing" of the denial of a constitutional right. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). The Supreme Court has elaborated on the meaning of this requirement:

Where a district court has rejected the constitutional claims on the merits, the showing required to satisfy section 2253(c) is straightforward: The petitioner must demonstrate that reasonable jurists would find the district court's assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or wrong.

Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000) (emphasis added).

III. DISCUSSION

Petitioner sought relief on the grounds that his federal rights to due process were violated at the prison disciplinary hearing. This Court reviewed all five of Petitioner's specific claims and found that the prison disciplinary proceedings comported with due process and that some evidence supported the decision of the prison disciplinary committee. See Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985); Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563--70 (U.S. 1974).

Generally, Petitioner now asserts that this Court was wrong in its conclusion because all of the documentation regarding his hearing was either forged or fabricated. (See e.g. Doc. No. 23 at 6:3--6.) The Court is not persuaded by this blanket accusation. Moreover, this Court is required to accord prison administrators "wide-ranging deference in the adoption and execution of policies and practices that in their judgment are needed to preserve internal order and discipline and to maintain institutional security." Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 547 (1979).

Most importantly, the Court does not believe that reasonable jurists would find the assessment of Petitioner's original claims to be debatable or wrong, and thus, DECLINES to issue a Certificate of Appealability. See Slack, 529 U.S. at 484.

IV. CONCLUSION AND ORDER

For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Petitioner's request for a Certificate of Appealability.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20100707

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