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Sakellaridis v. Davey

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 9, 2015

VASILLIS SAKELLARIDIS, Petitioner,
v.
DAVE DAVEY, Warden, Respondent.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

GARY S. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.

Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254. Respondent is represented in this action by Amy Daniel of the Office of the Attorney General of California. Pending before the Court is Respondent's motion to dismiss the petition as moot.

I.

BACKGROUND

Petitioner is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) at Corcoran State Prison pursuant to a judgment of the San Bernardino County Superior Court for robbery.

On September 24, 2014, Petitioner filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus in this Court. (ECF No. 1). Petitioner challenges a disciplinary proceeding as a result of a Rules Violation Report ("RVR") which was issued on May 2, 2013, on disciplinary action Log #3C-13-05-004. At the disciplinary hearing held by a disciplinary hearing officer (DHO) on May 16, 2013, Petitioner was found guilty of fighting, and sanctioned with a loss of ninety days of credit. (ECF No. 1 at 28, 32).[1] Petitioner argues that his due process rights were violated because he was denied two inmate witnesses and the evidence in the record is insufficient to rebut Petitioner's claim of self defense and find him guilty of fighting. (ECF No. 1 at 15-17).

Prior to the challenged disciplinary proceeding, Petitioner had another disciplinary conviction for fighting. (ECF No. 20 at 4-14). On April 17, 2013, Petitioner received a RVR for fighting in Log #3C-13-04-021. (ECF No. 20 at 4). On April 22, 2013, Petitioner appeared before a DHO for a disciplinary hearing. (ECF No. 20 at 5). Petitioner was found guilty of Fighting, a Division D offense, and he had to forfeit 90 days of credit as a result of a disciplinary conviction in Log #3C-13-04-021 for fighting. (ECF No. 20 at 4-14).

On December 22, 2014, Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the instant petition. (ECF No. 14). On January 5, 2015, Petitioner filed his opposition to Respondent's motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 15). On January 12, 2014, Respondent filed his reply to Petitioner's opposition. (ECF No. 16). On February 18, 2015, the undersigned directed petitioner to lodge documents associated with Log #3C-13-04-021 with the Clerk of Court. (ECF No. 18). On March 5, 2015, Petitioner lodged exhibits with the Clerk of Court. (ECF No. 20).

II.

DISCUSSION

Respondent argues that Petitioner's claims are moot, because Petitioner's ninety days of credit associated with the challenged disciplinary proceeding were restored.

The case or controversy requirement of Article III of the Federal Constitution deprives the Court of jurisdiction to hear moot cases. See Iron Arrow Honor Soc'y v. Heckler, 464 U.S. 67, 70, 104 S.Ct. 373, 374-75 (1983) (per curiam). Article III requires a case or controversy in which a litigant has a personal stake in the outcome of the suit throughout all stages of federal judicial proceedings and has suffered some actual injury that can be redressed by a favorable judicial decision. Id . A case becomes moot if "the issues presented are no longer live' or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome." Murphy v. Hunt, 455 U.S. 478, 481, 102 S.Ct. 1181, 1183 (1982) (per curiam) (internal citations omitted). Federal courts are "without power to decide questions that cannot affect the rights of the litigants before them." North Carolina v. Rice, 404 U.S. 244, 246, 92 S.Ct. 402, 404 (1971) (per curiam). A petition for writ of habeas corpus is moot where a petitioner's claim for relief cannot be redressed by a favourable decision of the court issuing a writ of habeas corpus. Burnett v. Lampert, 432 F.3d 996, 1000-01 (9th Cir. 2005) (quoting Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7, 118 S.Ct. 978, 140 L.Ed.2d 43 (1998)).

Here, documentation submitted by Respondent in support of the motion to dismiss demonstrates that the credits which Petitioner forfeited as a result of the challenged disciplinary conviction were restored to him. (ECF No. 14-1 at 2). However, Petitioner argues that the Court still has jurisdiction over the instant petition because as a result of the disciplinary decision he was ineligible for credit restoration on an unrelated, prior disciplinary conviction, and he could not accrue credits for the 180 days that he was in workgroup C.

When, because of intervening events, a court cannot give any effectual relief in favor of the petitioner, the proceeding should be dismissed as moot. See Calderon v. Moore, 518 U.S. 149, 150, 116 S.Ct. 2066, 135 L.Ed.2d 453 (1996). In general, a habeas petition challenging a prison disciplinary action no longer presents such a case or controversy, and therefore, becomes moot, when the punishment for the action has been withdrawn or completed at the time of the petition. See Wilson v. Terhune, 319 F.3d 477, 479, 481-82 (9th Cir. 2003). Where the petitioner can show that "collateral consequences" flow from the disciplinary action (i.e., circumstances beyond the punishment imposed that constitute an actual injury), however, the case remains justiciable. Id. at 479-80. The mootness inquiry requires a ...


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