United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a state prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed a petition for
a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Currently before the court is respondent's motion to
dismiss. ECF No. 10.
presents seven grounds for relief from twenty-one rules
violations for refusing to submit to random urinalysis
testing. ECF No. 1 at 7-37. In Grounds One, Two, and Three,
petitioner alleges that the required random urinalysis
testing, and punishment for refusing that testing, violates
his Fourth Amendment rights. Id. at 12-22. In Ground
Four, petitioner states that his due process rights have been
violated because random urinalysis testing requires him to
prove that he is not using drugs or alcohol when it is the
prison's burden to prove he has committed an offense.
Id. at 23-25. In Ground Five petitioner argues that
random testing constitutes an ex-post facto law and violates
due process and the right to a fair warning because he has
been punished in excess of the regulations. Id. at
25-30. Ground Six claims that petitioner's multiple
disciplinary findings violate the prohibition against double
jeopardy because he has been punished multiple times for the
same offense. Id. at 30-32. Finally, in Ground
Seven, petitioner alleges that random testing is
unconstitutional because its purpose is to punish prisoners
who suffer from the disease of addiction in violation of the
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Id. at 33-37.
Petitioner seeks to have the twenty-one rules violations
expunged, reinstatement of 630 days of credits, and removal
of eighty classification points. Id. at 37-38.
Motion to Dismiss
Respondent's Motion to Dismiss
argues that petitioner fails to state a prima facie claim for
habeas relief because he does not allege that the prison
disciplinary violations at issue necessarily affect the
duration of his confinement. ECF No. 10 at 2. Respondent
further argues that petitioner's opposition to the motion
to dismiss fails to establish that his claims fall within the
parameters of federal habeas jurisdiction and the petition
must therefore be dismissed. ECF No. 12. In the alternative,
respondent argues that petitioner has failed to demonstrate
that the state court's decisions were contrary to or an
unreasonable application of clearly established federal law.
ECF No. 10 at 3-4.
opposition to respondent's motion to dismiss, petitioner
argues that federal habeas jurisdiction is proper because he
is seeking expungement of rules violation reports;
restoration of forfeited good time credits; and cancellation
of classification points, which led to his transfer to a
maximum-level security institution. ECF No. 11 at 4-5.
Petitioner claims that if the rule violations are expunged
and his credits are restored, his release from prison will be
advanced. Id. at 6-8. Additionally, petitioner
argues that the habeas corpus statute authorizes federal
courts to order relief to reduce an inmate's level of
custody. Id. at 5. Alternatively, petitioner
requests that the court treat this action as a claim for
relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 if the court determines it
is not cognizable in habeas. Id. at 9.
Legal Standard for Habeas Jurisdiction
federal habeas corpus statute, 28 U.S.C. § 2254,
provides that the federal courts “shall entertain an
application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person
in custody pursuant to the judgement of a State court only on
the ground that he is in custody in violation of the
Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.”
28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). The courts have interpreted this
statute to provide relief only where a successful challenge
will shorten an inmate's sentence. Ramirez v.
Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 859 (9th Cir. 2003). Notably, the
Ninth Circuit has held that federal courts lack habeas
jurisdiction over claims for constitutional violations that
do not challenge the validity of the conviction or do not
necessarily spell speedier release. Blair v. Martel,
645 F.3d 1151, 1157-58 (9th Cir. 2011). Instead, such claims
must be brought, if at all, in a § 1983 civil rights
complaint. Id. With respect to disciplinary
proceedings, habeas relief cannot be granted unless those
proceedings necessarily affect the duration of time to be
served. Muhammed v. Close, 540 U.S. 749, 754-55
(2004). Most recently, the Ninth Circuit has articulated that
habeas relief is only available if success on the merits of a
petitioner's challenged disciplinary proceeding would
necessarily impact the fact or duration of his
confinement. Nettles v. Grounds, 830 F.3d. 922,
934-35 (9th Cir. 2016) (en banc).
the courts have also concluded that habeas relief may be
available “[w]hen a prisoner is put under additional
and unconstitutional restraints during his lawful
custody.” Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475,
499 (1973). For example, the Seventh Circuit has held that if
a prisoner is seeking a “quantum change in the level of
custody” then habeas corpus is the appropriate remedy.
Graham v. Broglin, 922 F.2d 379, 381 (7th Cir.
1991). Similarly, the Ninth Circuit has permitted prisoners
to request habeas corpus relief where the prisoner was placed
in disciplinary segregation due to validation as a gang
member and would obtain immediate release from segregation if
he successfully challenged his validation. Nettles v.
Grounds (“Santos”), 788 F.3d 992, 1004-05
(9th Cir. 2015) (finding the holding in Bostic v.
Carlson, 884 F.2d 1267, 1269 (9th Cir. 1989), was not
“clearly irreconcilable” with the Supreme
Court's case law on speedier release), reheard en
banc, Nettles v. Grounds, 830 F.3d 922 (9th