United States District Court, E.D. California
RAUL F. GARCIA, Petitioner,
DAVID BAUGHMAN, Respondent.
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
KENDALL J. NEWMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner, proceeding without counsel. Petitioner
challenges a 2016 prison disciplinary. Respondent moves to
dismiss for failure to state a cognizable habeas claim.
Petitioner filed an opposition. No. reply was filed. As set
forth below, the undersigned recommends that the motion to
dismiss be granted, and this action be dismissed without
is serving an indeterminate sentence of 25 years to life in
state prison. (ECF No. 1 at 2.) On May 13, 2016,
petitioner was found guilty of a prison disciplinary
violation, constructive possession of a cell phone, and
assessed a 90-day loss of custody credit. (ECF No. 2 at
33-40.) Petitioner challenged the prison disciplinary
conviction through all three levels of administrative review.
(ECF No. 10-4 at 37-45.)
petitioner filed petitions for writs of habeas corpus in the
Sacramento County Superior Court, the California Court of
Appeal, and the California Supreme Court; all of these
petitions were denied. (ECF No. 2 at 50-56.) See
also In re Raul Garcia on Habeas Corpus, No. C084256
(Cal. Ct. Appeal, 3rd Dist. April 3, 2017); Garcia (Raul)
on Habeas Corpus, No. S242055 (Cal. Aug. 9,
December 1, 2017, petitioner filed the instant petition,
arguing that the disciplinary hearing officer failed to
conduct the hearing using the “constructive
possession” test, violating petitioner's due
process rights, and there was not “some evidence”
to support the guilty finding. (ECF No. 2 at 21-26.)
Motion to Dismiss
of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases allows a district
court to dismiss a petition if it “plainly appears from
the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that
the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district
court. . . .” Id. The Court of Appeals for the
Ninth Circuit has referred to a respondent's motion to
dismiss as a request for the court to dismiss under Rule 4 of
the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases. See, e.g.,
O'Bremski v. Maass, 915 F.2d 418, 420 (1991).
Accordingly, the court reviews respondent's motion to
dismiss pursuant to its authority under Rule 4.
light of petitioner's challenges to a prison disciplinary
conviction, the following legal standards are also
well established that prisoners subjected to disciplinary
action are entitled to certain procedural protections under
the Due Process Clause, although they are not entitled to the
full panoply of rights afforded to criminal defendants.
See Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 556 (1974);
see also Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445,
455-56 (1985); United States v. Segal, 549 F.2d
1293, 1296-99 (9th Cir.) (observing that prison disciplinary
proceedings command the least amount of due process along the
prosecution continuum), cert. denied, 431 U.S. 919
prisoner is entitled to advance written notice of the charges
against him as well as a written statement of the evidence
relied on by prison officials and the reasons for the
disciplinary action. See Wolff, 418 U.S. at 563. A
prisoner also has a right to a hearing at which he may
“call witnesses and present documentary evidence in his
defense when permitting him to do so will not be unduly
hazardous to institutional safety or correctional
goals.” Id. at 566; see also Ponte v.
Real, 471 U.S. 491, 495 (1985). An investigative officer
may be required to assist prisoners who are illiterate or
whose case is particularly complex. Wolff, 418 U.S.
at 570. The disciplinary hearing must be conducted by a
person or body that is “sufficiently impartial to
satisfy the Due Process Clause.” Id. at 571.
Finally, the decision rendered on a disciplinary charge must
be supported by “some evidence” in the record.
Hill, 472 U.S. at 455.
Nettles, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held
that “if a state prisoner's claim does not lie at
‘the core of habeas corpus, ' it may not be brought
in habeas corpus but must be brought, ‘if at all, '
under § 1983[.]” Nettles, 830 F.3d at
931, 934 (citations omitted). In Nettles, the court
found that success on the merits of the petitioner's
challenged disciplinary proceeding would not necessarily
impact the fact or duration of his confinement, and therefore
his challenge did not fall within “the core of habeas
corpus.” Id. The court reasoned that
“[s]uccess on the merits of Nettles' claim would
not necessarily lead to immediate or speedier release because
the expungement of the challenged disciplinary violation
would not ...