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.

Stamos v. Muniz

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 14, 2017

JAMES GEORGE STAMOS, Petitioner,
v.
WILLIAM MUNIZ, Respondent.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          MICHAEL J. SENG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. William Muniz, Warden of Pleasant Valley State Prison, is hereby substituted as the proper named respondent pursuant to Rule 25(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Respondent is represented by Maria Chan of the Office of the California Attorney General.

         I. Procedural History

         Petitioner is currently in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation pursuant to a judgment of the Superior Court of California, County of Amador for vehicle theft. (See Pet. at 2, ECF No. 1.) He is serving a determinate seven year sentence. (Id.)

         On February 22, 2013, an incident occurred between Petitioner and Officer Cermeno at the food port of Petitioner's cell at Salinas Valley State Prison. As a result, Petitioner was issued a CDCR 115 Rules Violation Report charging him with Battery on a Peace Officer with a Weapon. (Pet. at 6; Answer, Exh. 5, ECF No. 31-2.) On March 31, 2013, Petitioner appeared before the Senior Hearing Officer for a hearing on the disciplinary charge. (Answer, Exh. 5, ECF No. 31-2 at 31.) The Senior Hearing Officer found Petitioner guilty of the charge of battery on a peace officer with a weapon based on Cermeno's report and description of the event in the initial charge. (Id. at 33.) Petitioner was assessed a 360 days forfeiture of credits. (Id at 31.) The Chief Disciplinary Officer subsequently reduced the charge to battery on a peace officer and reduced the credit forfeiture to 120 days. (Id. at 30.) Petitioner alleges that the disciplinary hearing was conducted in violation of his due process rights because he was denied witnesses. (Pet. at 6.)

         Petitioner filed a habeas petition in the Monterey County Superior Court, challenging the disciplinary violation on the ground that his due process rights were violated. (Answer, Ex. 1, ECF No. 31-1 at 2-7.) The petition was denied in a reasoned decision on February 11, 2015. (Answer, Ex. 2, ECF No. 31-1 at 9-10.)

         On March 13, 2015, Petitioner filed a habeas petition in the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth District. The appellate court denied the petition in a summary decision on May 29, 2015. (Answer, Exs. 3-4, ECF No. 31-1 at 13-30.)

         Petitioner filed a habeas petition to the California Supreme Court June 12, 2015. The petition was summarily denied on September 23, 2015. (Answer, Exs. 5 and 6, ECF No. 31-2.)

         Petitioner filed the instant federal habeas petition on October 13, 2015. Respondent filed an answer to the petition on April 13, 2016. (Answer, ECF No. 31.) Petitioner filed a traverse on May 9, 2016. (ECF No. 36.)

         II. Factual Background

         On February 22, 2013, an incident occurred between Petitioner and Officer Cermeno at the food port of Petitioner's cell at Salinas Valley State Prison. (Pet. at 6; Answer at 2, ECF No. 31.) According to Officer Cermeno, Petitioner pushed his food tray through the food port, striking Officer Cermeno and preventing him from securing the food port. (Answer, Ex. 5, ECF No. 31-2 at 30.) As a result, Cermeno utilized pepper spray against Petitioner. (Id. at 30.)

         Petitioner was issued a CDCR 115 Rules Violation Report charging him with Battery on a Peace Officer with a Weapon. (Id. at 30.) Petitioner was given a copy of the CDCR 115. (Id.) On March 8, 2013, Officer Garcia was assigned as an investigative employee to assist Petitioner. (Id. at 37.) Garcia took Petitioner's statement, a statement from Officer Cermeno, and statements from three staff witnesses. (Id. at 37.) Officer Celaya gave Petitioner a copy of Garcia's report on March 27, 2013. (Id.) At that time, Petitioner handed Celaya additional questions/statements. (Id. at 38.) Celaya documented the questions and noted that he “had them reviewed by the [Senior Hearing Officer] who deemed them all irrelevant.” (Id. at 38-39.) On March 29, 2013, Petitioner was given a copy of Celaya's report regarding Petitioner's questions. (Id.)

         On March 31, 2013, Petitioner appeared before the Senior Hearing Officer for a hearing on the disciplinary charge. (Id. at 31.) Petitioner pled not guilty and made the following statement: “On 02/22/2013, I asked Officer to give me soap so that I can birdbath. Officer refused, and I became mad because I was disrespected. During trash and tray pick-up Officer came to my door. I handed him my tray then heard Officer say he's holding his food port hostage. I got sprayed.” (Id. at 31.) The Senior Hearing Officer noted that Petitioner “did not request any witnesses for this hearing at the time he was issued a copy of the CDCR-115A.” (Id. at 32.) He later noted that “No witnesses were requested or Granted by the SHO at the time of RVR hearing.” (Id. at 33.)

         The Senior Hearing Officer found Petitioner guilty of the charge of battery on a peace officer with a weapon based on Cermeno's report and description of the event in the initial charge. (Id. at 33.) Petitioner was assessed a 360 days forfeiture of credits. ( Id. at 31.) The Chief Disciplinary Officer subsequently reduced the charge to battery on a peace officer and reduced the credit forfeiture to 120 days. (Id. at 30.)

         III. Discussion

         A. Jurisdiction

         Relief by way of a writ of habeas corpus extends to a prisoner under a judgment of a state court if the custody violates the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a); 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3); Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 375 n.7 (2000). Petitioner asserts that he suffered a violation of his right to due process as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The disciplinary proceeding occurred in and Petitioner remains housed in correctional facilities in the Eastern District of California. 28 U.S.C. § 2241(d); 2254(a). The Court concludes that it has jurisdiction over the action.

         B. Legal ...


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.