United States District Court, S.D. California
(1) OVERRULING PETITIONER’S OBJECTIONS; (2) ADOPTING
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION IN ITS ENTIRETY (Doc. No. 19); (3)
DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS; (4) DENYING AS
MOOT MOTION TO DISMISS (Doc. No. 8); AND (5) DECLINING TO
ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
ANTHONY J. BATTAGLIA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
August 31, 2015, Petitioner Justin Lucas, a state prisoner
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed a petition for
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
(Doc. No. 1.) Petitioner challenges a decision of the
prison’s disciplinary hearing officer that found
Petitioner guilty of distributing a controlled substance. As
a result, Petitioner received a 180-day forfeiture of credits
and other penalties. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the
Petition on December 18, 2015. (Doc. No. 8.) The motion to
dismiss asserts Petitioner’s claims are procedurally
defaulted because Petitioner failed to exhaust his
administrative appeals. On January 12, 2016, Petitioner filed
a traverse and an opposition to the motion to dismiss. (Doc.
Nos. 9-11.) During the briefing process, the Court ordered
the parties to address the merits of the Petition. (Doc. No.
completion of briefing on the procedural default and merits
of the Petition, Magistrate Judge Barbara Major issued a
report and recommendation (“R&R”). (Doc. No.
19.) The R&R recommends the Court deny the Petition on
the merits and that Respondent’s motion to dismiss be
denied as moot. Petitioner filed objections to the R&R
on July 1, 2016. (Doc. No. 20.) Respondent has not filed a
before the Court are the Petition, the R&R,
Petitioner’s objections to the R&R, and
Respondent’s motion to dismiss. For the reasons stated
below, the Court OVERRULES
Petitioner’s objections to the R&R,
ADOPTS the R&R in its entirety, and
DENIES the Petition for habeas corpus.
January 22, 2013, Petitioner was asleep in his cell at the
Calipatria State Prison when his cellmate, Johnson, woke him
up and stated that correctional officers wanted to conduct a
random search of their cell. (Doc. No. 1 at 5-6, 11.) During
the subsequent search of their cell, a correctional officer
discovered four bindles containing unknown substances wrapped
in clear plastic inside a detergent box. (Id. at 6.)
Additionally, the correctional officer discovered a cell
phone hidden in Johnson’s shoe. (Id.) The
bindles containing the unknown substance tested positive for
controlled substances. (Id.) Petitioner was charged
with a rules violation for distribution of a controlled
substance. (Id. at 5.)
February 27, 2013, a rules violation hearing was conducted.
Petitioner’s cellmate testified that contraband found
in their cell belonged to him and that Petitioner had no
knowledge it was there. (Id. at 6-7.) Petitioner was
found guilty of “introduction of a controlled substance
for distribution” and was assessed a 180 day forfeiture
credit, and other penalties. (Id. at 39.) Petitioner
now challenges whether sufficient evidence underlies his
forfeiture of credits, as Petitioner maintains he was unaware
the controlled substances were located within his cell.
(See Doc. No. 20.)
duties of the district court in connection with a Report and
Recommendation of a magistrate judge are set forth in Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b).
When a party objects to a Report and Recommendation,
“[a] judge of the [district] court shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the [Report and
Recommendation] to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1). A district court may “accept, reject,
or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate judge.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); see also 28 U.S.C. §
case, review of the Petition is governed by the framework of
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”) because the Petition was filed in 2010,
well after the Act’s effective date. See Woodford
v. Garceau, 538 U.S. 202, 210 (2003). As amended by
AEDPA, 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) states:
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;
(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 ...