Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Santos Zepeda v. Connie Gipson

September 20, 2012

SANTOS ZEPEDA,
PETITIONER,
v.
CONNIE GIPSON, WARDEN, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OFHABEAS CORPUS FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION (Doc. 1) ORDER DIRECTING THAT CLERK OF THE COURT ENTER JUDGMENT AND CLOSE FILE ORDER DECLINING TO ISSUE CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding in propria persona with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The instant petition was filed on March 26, 2012.. On September 7, 2012, Petitioner filed his written consent to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge for all purposes. (Doc. 6).

DISCUSSION

A federal court may only grant a petition for writ of habeas corpus if the petitioner can show that "he is in custody in violation of the Constitution . . . ." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). A habeas corpus petition is the correct method for a prisoner to challenge the "legality or duration" of his confinement. Badea v. Cox, 931 F.2d 573, 574 (9th Cir. 1991), quoting, Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 485, 93 S. Ct. 1827 (1973); Ramirez v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 859 (9th Cir. 2003)("[H]abeas jurisdiction is absent, and a § 1983 action proper, where a successful challenge to a prison condition will not 2 necessarily shorten the prisoner's sentence."); Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 1 of the Rules 3 Governing Section 2254 Cases. Indeed, claims challenging the validity of a prisoner's continued 4 incarceration, including the fact or length of the custody, lie within the "heart of habeas corpus" and 5 are cognizable only in federal habeas corpus. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 498-99, 499 n.14 6 (1973). In contrast, an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is appropriate for a state prisoner 7 challenging the conditions of prison life but not the fact or length of the custody. McCarthy v. 8 Bronson, 500 U.S. 136, 141-42 (1991); Preiser, 411 U.S. at 499; Badea v. Cox, 931 F.2d 573, 574 9 (9th Cir. 1991).

With respect to prison disciplinary proceedings, it is established that a constitutional claim concerning the application of rules administered by a prison or penal administrator that challenges the duration of a sentence is a cognizable claim of being in custody in violation of the Constitution pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See, e.g., Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985) (determining a procedural due process claim concerning loss of time credits resulting from disciplinary procedures and findings). The Supreme Court has held that challenges to prison disciplinary adjudications that have resulted in a loss of time credits must be raised in a federal habeas corpus action and not in a § 1983 action because such a challenge is to the very fact or duration of physical imprisonment, and the relief sought is a determination of entitlement of immediate or speedier release. Preiser, 411 U.S. at 500.

The Supreme Court's decisions concerning any boundaries between habeas jurisdiction and § 1983 jurisdiction have been rendered in cases involving § 1983 proceedings. Thus, it is established that regardless of the precise relief sought, an action pursuant to § 1983 concerning prison administrative processes is barred if success in the action would necessarily demonstrate the invalidity of the confinement or its duration, or necessarily imply the invalidity of a conviction or sentence. Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82 (2005) (parole processes). However, the limits on habeas jurisdiction, or the appropriate extent of any overlap between habeas and § 1983, has not been definitively addressed by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has adverted to the possibility of habeas as a potential alternative remedy to an action under § 1983 for unspecified additional and unconstitutional restraints during lawful custody, Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. at 499-500, but it has 2 declined to address whether a writ of habeas corpus may be used to challenge conditions of 3 confinement as distinct from the fact or length of confinement itself, see, Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 4 520, 527 n.6 (1979). Nevertheless, the Court continues to recognize a "core" of habeas corpus that 5 refers to suits where success would inevitably affect the legality or duration of confinement. For 6 example, in Wilkinson, the Court noted that if success on a claim would mean at most a new 7 opportunity for review of parole eligibility, or a new parole hearing at which authorities could 8 discretionarily decline to shorten a prison term, then success would not inevitably lead to release, and 9 the suit would not lie at the core of habeas corpus. Wilkinson, 544 U.S. at 82.

In the singular context of parole, cases in this circuit have recognized a possibility of habeas jurisdiction in suits that do not fall within the core of habeas corpus. Bostic v. Carlson, 884 F.3d 1267 (9th Cir. 1989) (expungement of disciplinary finding likely to accelerate eligibility for parole)*fn1 ;

Docken v. Chase, 393 F.3d 1024 (9th Cir. 2004) (a claim challenging the constitutionality of the frequency of parole reviews, where the prisoner was seeking only equitable relief, was held sufficiently related to the duration of confinement). However, relief pursuant to § 1983 remains an appropriate remedy for claims concerning administrative decisions made in prison where success would not necessarily imply the validity of continuing confinement. Docken v. Chase, 393 F.3d at 1030 (characterizing Neal v. Shimoda, 131 F.3d 818 (9th Cir. 1997) as holding that a § 1983 suit is an appropriate remedy for challenges to conditions [there, administrative placement in a sex offender program affecting eligibility for parole] which do not necessarily imply the invalidity of continuing confinement).

Nevertheless, it is established in this circuit that where a successful challenge to a disciplinary hearing or, as in this case, an administrative sanction, will not necessarily shorten the overall length of confinement, then habeas jurisdiction is lacking. In Ramirez v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 850 (9th Cir. 2003), a prisoner sought relief pursuant to § 1983 for allegedly unconstitutional disciplinary proceedings that resulted in administrative segregation. It was held that § 1983 was the appropriate remedy because the alleged constitutional errors did not affect the overall length of the prisoner's 2 confinement; success in the § 1983 action would not necessarily result in an earlier release from 3 incarceration, and the § 1983 suit did not intrude upon the core or "heart" of habeas jurisdiction. 4

Ramirez, 334 F.3d at 852, 858. 5

The court in Ramirez went further and considered the related question of the extent of habeas 6 corpus jurisdiction, expressly stating that its holding "also clarifies our prior decisions addressing the 7 availability of habeas corpus to challenge the conditions of imprisonment." 334 F.3d at 858. The 8 court reviewed the decisions in Bostic v. Carlson and Neal v. Shimoda and concluded as follows: 9

Our decision in Neal v. Shimoda, 131 F.3d 818 (9th Cir.1997), illustrates the importance of measuring the likelihood that a suit under § 1983 will affect the length of the prisoner's confinement. In Neal, two state prisoners filed suits under § 1983 alleging that they were classified as sex offenders in violation of the Due Process and Ex Post Facto guarantees. Id. at 822-23. Among other harms, both inmates argued that the classification affected their eligibility for parole. Id. We held that Heck did not require the inmates to invalidate their classification before bringing suit under § 1983, because a favorable judgment "will in no way guarantee parole or necessarily shorten their prison sentences by a single day." Id. at 824. The prisoner suits did not seek to overturn a disciplinary decision that increased their period of incarceration. Rather, a successful § ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.