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Contreras v. Apker

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 11, 2017

JUAN CONTRERAS, Petitioner,
v.
CRAIG APKER, Warden Respondent.

          ORDER DIRECTING CLERK'S OFFICE TO ASSIGN A DISTRICT JUDGE TO THIS MATTER FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO DENY PETITIONER'S REQUEST FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF AND TO GRANT RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS (ECF NOS. 8, 9)

          Michael J. Seng UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Petitioner is a former federal prisoner proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus under the authority of 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Respondent Craig Apker is represented by Roger Yang of the United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California.

         Petitioner filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus on March 3, 2016. (Pet., ECF No. 1.) He contends that private contractors employed at Taft Correctional Institution - rather than Bureau of Prisons employees - conducted his prison disciplinary proceedings, in violation of 28 C.F.R. §§ 500.1(b) and 541.10. Plaintiff alleges that, as a result of this defect, he was assessed a loss of good time credits in violation of his due process rights.

         On May 2, 2016, Petitioner filed an “opposition” to the results of a later disciplinary hearing and sought to enjoin the results of that hearing. (ECF No. 8.)

         On May 3, 2016, Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the petition on mootness grounds. (Motion, ECF No. 9.) On May 23, 2016, Petitioner filed a response. (ECF No. 10.) Respondent filed no reply and the time for doing so has passed. The matter stands ready for adjudication.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         Petitioner was sentenced on March 7, 2007 to a determinate 135-month term of imprisonment for the offense of conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine. (Motion, Exh. 1, Attachment 1; ECF No. 9-1 at 7.) At the time he filed his petition, Petitioner was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Taft, California. (ECF No. 1.)

         On June 16, 2012, Petitioner was accused of engaging in a sexual act. (Motion, Exh. 1, Attachment 2; ECF No. 9-1 at 10.) A hearing on the disciplinary charge was conducted on July 19, 2012. (Id.) The hearing was conducted by Discipline Hearing Officer (“DHO”) Curtis Logan, an employee of Management & Training Corporation (“MTC”), the private company contracted to operate Taft. (Id.; ECF No. 1.) DHO Logan found the allegations true, disallowed 27 days of good conduct time, and imposed 60 days of disciplinary segregation. (Motion, Exh. 1, Attachment 2; ECF No. 9-1 at 11.)

         Subsequently, in 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided Arrendondo-Virula v. Adler, 510 F.Appx. 581 (9th Cir. 2013). In this unpublished opinion, the Ninth Circuit invalidated a disciplinary determination made by Mr. Logan, as an employee of MTC, on the ground that he was not authorized to discipline a prisoner pursuant to the then-current version of 28 C.F.R. § 541.10(b)(1) (2010) because he was not an “employee of the Bureau of Prisons or Federal Prison Industries, Inc.” Id. at 582 (citing 28 C.F.R. § 500.1(b)).

         Petitioner underwent a new disciplinary hearing on April 19, 2016 with DHO Richard Deveraux, an employee of the Bureau of Prisons. (Motion, Exh. 1, Attachment 2; ECF No. 9-1 at 2, 14-16.) The new disciplinary hearing was conducted “based upon pending litigation filed by [Petitioner] with the courts, ” presumably a reference to the instant petition. (Id. at 15.) Deveraux found the allegation against Petitioner to be true and reimposed the sanctions. (Id. at 16.)

         At the time Respondent filed his motion to dismiss, Petitioner's projected release date was June 21, 2016. (Id. at 7.) On June 23, 2016, Petitioner filed a notice of change of address with the Court, listing a non-custodial address. (ECF No. 11.)

         II. Discussion

         The petition seeks the reinstatement of good time credits based on defects in Petitioner's initial, July 19, 2012, disciplinary hearing. (ECF No. 1.) Respondent contends that the petition is moot because the defects in the initial disciplinary hearing were remedied when the matter was reheard by DHO Devereaux, a BOP employee.[1](ECF No. 9.) Petitioner contends that the petition is not moot because the rehearing was “infected” by the conduct of MTC employees and there is insufficient evidence to support the decision by DHO Devereaux.

         A. ...


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