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Davis v. Silva

October 12, 2010




Petitioner Davis is a state prisoner proceeding by and through counsel with an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2254. Petitioner challenges the results of a 2002 prison disciplinary proceeding for which he incurred a loss of statutory good time credits. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss asserting that petitioner failed to exhaust his state remedies. On August 19, 2005, the motion to dismiss was granted. Petitioner appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On January 2, 2008, the case was reversed and remanded.

The amended petition and respondent's answer are before the court for decision. Based on a thorough review of the record and applicable law, it is recommended that the petition be denied.


On January 2, 2002, Correctional Lieutenant J. Maykel wrote a Rules Violation Report ("RVR") charging petitioner with assault/battery on a staff member for an incident described in the report as follows:

On Wednesday, January 2, 200[2], at approximately 0650 hours, Deuel Vocational Institution experienced a Battery on a Non prisoner in the kitchen area of the Main Culinary. While supervising food preparation in the kitchen area, Supervising Cook I, J. Carrasco, observed Inmate Davis, E-00293, Y-196, cooking food on the grill. Since Davis is assigned to cart maintenance, SCI Carrasco ordered Davis to remove the food from the grill. Davis refused and SCI Carrasco then stepped forward to remove the food off the grill. Davis stepped back from the grill and struck the edge of a six (6) inch hotel pan located on a nearby table, causing it to flip forwards towards SCI Carrasco striking him on the left hand and splashing oil on his shirt. SCI Carrasco then contacted Correctional Officer M. Carillo and Davis was escorted from the Culinary without further incident. Inmate Davis was evaluated by Medical Staff and was found to have sustained no injuries of this incident. SCI Carrasco was treated for swelling to the top of his left hand and was cleared to return to full duty... (State of California Department of Corrections Crime/Incident Report, by J. Maykel, Correctional Lieutenant, 01/02/02.)

A disciplinary hearing was held on January 24, 2002. Petitioner was found guilty of a violation of CCR 3005(c), Battery on a Non prisoner, and assessed a penalty of 150 days loss of statutory good time credits. See Cal. Penal Code §§ 2931, 2932. On February 19, 2002, petitioner was served with a copy of the CDC 115 (disciplinary report) notifying him of the outcome of this proceeding.

Petitioner challenged the outcome of the disciplinary proceeding in a petition for writ of habeas corpus to the San Joaquin Superior Court. In a brief written decision filed on April 3, 2002, the superior court denied petitioner's claims for these reasons: (1) petitioner failed to demonstrate exhaustion of administrative remedies; and (2) petitioner failed to allege sufficient facts to establish a prima facie case for relief. Petitioner also sought relief in the California Supreme Court, where his claims were likewise denied, but without written decision.


In two separate claims, petitioner challenges the results of the disciplinary proceeding. Specifically, he complains (1) he was denied his right to call an inmate witness; and (2) the prison failed to appoint a staff assistant or lawyer to assist him. Since both of these claims challenge the procedural process that petitioner was due in connection with the January 24, 2002 disciplinary hearing, they will be addressed together herein as a single ground for relief.


An application for writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody under judgment of a state court can be granted only for violations of the Constitution or laws of the United States. 28 U.S.C. §2254(a); see also 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)). This petition for writ of habeas corpus was filed after the effective date of, and thus is subject to, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"). Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 326 (1997); see also Weaver v. Thompson, 197 F.3d 359 (9th Cir. 1999). Under AEDPA, federal habeas corpus relief also is not available for any claim decided on the merits in state court proceedings unless the state court's 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, 402-03 (2000); Lockhart v. Terhune, 250 F.3d 1223, 1229 (9th Cir. 2001). In determining whether the law applied to a particular claim by the state courts was contrary to the law set forth in the cases of the United States Supreme Court or whether an unreasonable application of such law has occurred, ...

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