Thomas Stiger v. Warden, FCC Medium, Beaumont,

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Thomas Stiger v. Warden, FCC Medium, Beaumont, Doc. 0 Case: 09-41100 Document: 00511184899 Page: 1 Date Filed: 07/26/2010 IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS United States Court of Appeals FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT Fifth Circuit FILED N o . 09-41100 S u m m a r y Calendar July 26, 2010 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk T H O M A S HAROLD STIGER, P e titio n e r-A p p e lla n t, versu s W A R D E N , Federal Correctional Center Medium, Beaumont, Texas, R e s p o n d e n t -A p p e lle e . A p p e a l from the United States District Court fo r the Eastern District of Texas N o . 1:07-CV-316 B e fo r e SMITH, CLEMENT, and SOUTHWICK, Circuit Judges. P E R CURIAM:* T h o m a s Stiger, federal prisoner # 39053-115, appeals the denial of his 28 U .S .C . 2241 petition challenging a prison disciplinary proceeding in which he Pursuant to 5TH CIR. R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH CIR. R. 47.5.4. * Dockets.Justia.com Case: 09-41100 Document: 00511184899 Page: 2 No. 09-41100 Date Filed: 07/26/2010 w a s found guilty of possessing a weapon (i.e, an altered razor blade) and was d is a llo w e d forty days of good-credit time. Stiger argues that he was not afforded t h e proper due process protections in connection with the disciplinary proceeding a n d that there was insufficient evidence to support the finding that he committ e d a disciplinary violation. He also contends that the disciplinary action was in retaliation for his filing a motion for a temporary restraining order ("TRO"). T h e record demonstrates that Stiger was afforded at least the minimal p r o c e d u r a l requirements to satisfy due process. He specifically was provided (1 ) written notice of the charges at least twenty-four hours before the proceedin g s , (2) an opportunity to call witnesses and present evidence in his defense, a n d (3) a written statement by the factfinder of the evidence relied on and the r e a s o n s for the disciplinary action. See Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563-70 (1 9 7 4 ). Although Stiger suggests that he was not advised that he could call witn e s s e s , the record belies that assertion, and, in any event, there is no record evid e n c e that Stiger desired to have witnesses testify at the hearing. To the extent that Stiger argues that prison officials violated prison regula t io n s by, inter alia, not securing his written signature on particular documents d e lin e a t in g his rights, he has not alleged a constitutional violation that would e n tit le him to habeas relief. See Jackson v. Cain, 864 F.2d 1235, 1251-52 (5th C ir . 1989). Even if he was not advised of the rights that would be afforded to h im at the disciplinary hearing, he has not established that he was prejudiced b y any purported omission. See Hallmark v. Johnson, 118 F.3d 1073, 1080 (5th C ir . 1997). Stiger also has not demonstrated that there was insufficient evidence that h e committed a disciplinary violation. The disciplinary hearing officer was pres e n t e d with an incident report detailing that an officer found an altered razor b la d e in a coffee cup in Stiger's cell; the incident report was accompanied by a p h o to g r a p h of the blade. Although Stiger disavowed knowledge of it and alleged t h a t it had been planted in his cell by another inmate or a staff member, the dis2 Case: 09-41100 Document: 00511184899 Page: 3 No. 09-41100 Date Filed: 07/26/2010 c ip lin a r y officer concluded that the incident report was entitled to more weight t h a n was Stiger's refutation of the report. The written incident report and the supporting photograph were sufficient t o provide some evidence of Stiger's guilt. See Hudson v. Johnson, 242 F.3d 534, 5 3 6 -3 7 (5th Cir. 2001). We need not reconsider the hearing officer's evaluation o f the credibility of the competing statements or his rejection of Stiger's theories c o n c e r n in g the razor blade. See Sup't, Mass. Corr. Inst., Walpole v. Hill, 472 U .S . 445, 455-56 (1985). Finally, Stiger has not shown that the district court wrongly found that he w a s not retaliated against for filing a motion for a TRO. Although Stiger was c it e d for possessing an altered razor blade within one week of moving for a TRO, he has not set forth any additional facts to suggest a causal relationship between h is filing of the motion and the initiation of disciplinary proceedings. See Woods v . Smith, 60 F.3d 1161, 1166 (5th Cir. 1995) (42 U.S.C. 1983 case). Stiger has p r e s e n t e d no direct evidence of the officer's motive for drafting the incident rep o r t and has not alleged facts suggesting that the officer, who was not mentioned in or implicated by the motion for a TRO, was in any way prompted to initiate d is c ip lin a r y proceedings against Stiger because of the motion for a TRO. See id. Thus, Stiger has failed to allege facts showing that, but for a retaliatory motive, h e would not have been disciplined for possessing an altered razor blade. See id. A c c o r d in g ly , the judgment is AFFIRMED. 3

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