Arancibia v. Benov

Filing 19

FINDINGS and RECOMMENDATIONS to Grant Respondent's 18 Motion to Dismiss the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Dismiss the 1 Petition as Moot, and Direct the Clerk to Close the Case signed by Magistrate Judge Barbara A. McAuliffe on 10/06/2014. Referred to Judge Ishii; Objections to F&R due by 11/10/2014. (Flores, E)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 10 11 JOSE ARANCIBIA, Case No. 1:14-cv-00535-AWI-BAM-HC 12 FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO GRANT RESPONDENT’S MOTION TO DISMISS THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS (DOC. 18), DISMISS THE PETITION AS MOOT (DOC. 1), AND DIRECT THE CLERK TO CLOSE THE CASE 13 14 15 Petitioner, v. MICHAEL L. BENOV, Respondent. 16 17 OBJECTIONS DEADLINE: THIRTY (30) DAYS Petitioner is a federal prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma 18 pauperis with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 19 U.S.C. § 2241. The matter has been referred to the Magistrate Judge 20 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rules 302 through 304. 21 Pending before the Court is the Respondent’s motion to dismiss the 22 petition as moot, which was filed and served on August 22, 2014. 23 Although the time for filing opposition has passed, no opposition 24 has been filed. 25 I. 26 Petitioner, an inmate of the Taft Correctional Institution Background 27 (TCI), challenges the disallowance of twenty-seven days of good 28 conduct time credit that Petitioner suffered as a result of prison 1 1 disciplinary findings, initially made at TCI on or about March 7, 2 2014, that he engaged in prohibited conduct by possessing stolen 3 property (food) on or about February 6, 2014. 4 12.) (Pet., doc. 1 at 1- Petitioner seeks invalidation of the sanction. 5 raises the following claims in the petition: Petitioner 1) because the 6 disciplinary hearing officer (DHO) was not an employee of the 7 Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and thus lacked the authority to 8 conduct the disciplinary hearing and make findings resulting in 9 punishment, including disallowance of good time credit, Petitioner 10 suffered a violation of his right to due process of law; and 2) 11 because the hearing officer was not an employee of the BOP but 12 rather was an employee of a private entity with a financial interest 13 in the disallowance of good time credits, Petitioner’s due process 14 right to an independent and impartial decision maker at the 15 disciplinary hearing was violated. 16 (Id. at 3.) Respondent moves for dismissal of the petition for mootness 17 because the disciplinary charges were reheard via teleconference on 18 June 17, 2014, by a certified disciplinary hearing officer of the 19 BOP. At the rehearing, Petitioner admitted taking from the chow 20 hall food that had been given to him by others. The BOP DHO found 21 that Petitioner had committed the prohibited misconduct of 22 possessing unauthorized property, and Petitioner was assessed a 23 three-month loss of commissary privileges without any loss of good 24 conduct time credit. (Doc. 18-1 at 1-3, 13-15.) 25 II. Mootness 26 Federal courts lack jurisdiction to decide cases that are moot 27 because the courts= constitutional authority extends to only actual 28 cases or controversies. Iron Arrow Honor Society v. Heckler, 464 2 1 U.S. 67, 70-71 (1983). Article III requires a case or controversy 2 in which a litigant has a personal stake in the outcome of the suit 3 throughout all stages of federal judicial proceedings and has 4 suffered some actual injury that can be redressed by a favorable 5 judicial decision. Id. A petition for writ of habeas corpus 6 becomes moot when it no longer presents a case or controversy under 7 Article III, ' 2 of the Constitution. 8 477, 479 (9th Cir. 2003). Wilson v. Terhune, 319 F.3d A petition for writ of habeas corpus is 9 moot where a petitioner=s claim for relief cannot be redressed by a 10 favorable decision of the court issuing a writ of habeas corpus. 11 Burnett v. Lampert, 432 F.3d 996, 1000-01 (9th Cir. 2005) (quoting 12 Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998)). 13 jurisdictional. Mootness is See, Cole v. Oroville Union High School District, 14 228 F.3d 1092, 1098-99 (9th Cir. 2000). Thus, a moot petition must 15 be dismissed because nothing remains before the Court to be 16 remedied. 17 Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 18. Here, documentation submitted by Respondent in support of the 18 motion to dismiss demonstrates that the claims initially alleged by 19 Petitioner are no longer in controversy. The charges were reheard 20 by an officer who had the very qualifications that Petitioner had 21 alleged were required by principles of due process of law and the 22 pertinent regulations. It is undisputed that the findings and 23 sanctions that constituted the object of Petitioner’s challenges in 24 the petition have now been superseded by the findings and sanctions 25 of the certified BOP DHO. 26 When, because of intervening events, a court cannot give any 27 effectual relief in favor of the petitioner, the proceeding should 28 be dismissed as moot. Calderon v. Moore, 518 U.S. 149, 150 (1996). 3 1 In the present case, it appears that the only relief that Petitioner 2 sought was invalidation of the findings and associated sanctions. 3 It appears that the rehearing of the reported rules violation by an 4 indisputably qualified DHO has effectuated the relief sought by 5 Petitioner. Thus, it is no longer possible for this Court to issue 6 a decision redressing the injury. To the extent that any claim concerning Petitioner’s loss of 7 8 commissary privileges remains before the Court, the claim lacks any 9 relationship to the legality or duration of Petitioner’s confinement 10 and thus would not lie within the core of habeas corpus 11 jurisdiction. A federal court may not entertain an action over 12 which it has no jurisdiction. 13 865 (9th Cir. 2000). Hernandez v. Campbell, 204 F.3d 861, Relief by way of a writ of habeas corpus 14 extends to a person in custody under the authority of the United 15 States if the petitioner can show that he is “in custody in 16 violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United 17 States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(1) & (3). A habeas corpus action is 18 the proper mechanism for a prisoner to challenge the fact or 19 duration of his confinement. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 20 485 (1973); Tucker v. Carlson, 925 F.2d 330, 332 (9th Cir. 1990) 1 21 (holding in a Bivens action that a claim that time spent serving a 22 state sentence should have been credited against a federal sentence 23 concerned the fact or duration of confinement and thus should have 24 been construed as a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to ' 25 28 U.S.C. ' 2241, but that to the extent that the complaint sought 26 damages for civil rights violations, it should be construed as a 27 28 1 The reference is to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). 4 1 Bivens action); Crawford v. Bell, 599 F.2d 890, 891B892 (9th Cir. 2 1979) (upholding dismissal of a petition challenging conditions of 3 confinement and noting that the writ of habeas corpus has 4 traditionally been limited to attacks upon the legality or duration 5 of confinement); see, Greenhill v. Lappin, 376 Fed. Appx. 757, 6 757-58 (9th Cir. 2010) (unpublished) (holding that the appropriate 7 remedy for a federal prisoner's claim that relates to the conditions 8 of his confinement is a civil rights action under Bivens); but see 9 Bostic v. Carlson, 884 F.2d 1267, 1269 (9th Cir. 1989) (holding that 10 habeas corpus is available pursuant to § 2241 for claims concerning 11 denial of good time credits and subjection to greater restrictions 12 of liberty, such as disciplinary segregation, without due process of 13 law); Cardenas v. Adler, no. 1:09-cv-00831-AWI-JLT-HC, 2010 WL 14 2180378 (E.D.Cal., May 28, 2010) (holding that a petitioner's 15 challenge to the constitutionality of the sanction of disciplinary 16 segregation and his claim that the disciplinary proceedings were the 17 product of retaliation by prison staff were cognizable in a habeas 18 proceeding pursuant to ' 2241). 19 Claims concerning various prison conditions that have been 20 brought pursuant to ' 2241 have been dismissed in this district for 21 lack of subject matter jurisdiction with indications that an action 22 pursuant to Bivens is appropriate. See, e.g., Dyson v. Rios, no. 23 1:10–cv–00382–DLB(HC), 2010 WL 3516358, *3 (E.D.Cal. Sept. 2, 2010) 24 (a claim challenging placement in a special management housing unit 25 in connection with a disciplinary violation); Burnette v. Smith, no. 26 CIV S–08–2178 DAD P, 2009 WL 667199 at *1 (E.D.Cal. Mar. 13, 2009) 27 (a petition seeking a transfer and prevention of retaliation by 28 prison staff); Evans v. U.S. Penitentiary, no. 1:07-CV-01611 OWW GSA 5 1 HC, 2007 WL 4212339 at *1 (E.D.Cal. Nov. 27, 2007) (claims brought 2 pursuant to ' 2241 regarding a transfer and inadequate medical 3 care). 4 Here, to the extent that any claim remains before the Court, 5 the claim concerns conditions of confinement that do not bear a 6 relationship to, or have any effect on, the legality or duration of 7 Petitioner’s confinement. It has long been established that habeas 8 corpus should be used as a vehicle to determine the lawfulness of 9 custody and not as a writ of error. 10 Samuels, 329 U.S. 304, 311-12 (1946). See Eagles v. U.S. ex rel. Habeas corpus proceedings are 11 not an appropriate forum for claims regarding disciplinary 12 procedures if the effect of the procedures on the length of the 13 inmate’s sentence is only speculative or incidental. 14 Branch, 974 F.2d 116, 117-118 (9th Cir. 1992). Sisk v. The Court concludes 15 that if any claims remain before the Court, the claims are not 16 within the core of habeas corpus jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 17 § 2241. 18 In summary, Petitioner has not asserted any factual or legal 19 basis that would preclude a finding of mootness. The Court thus 20 concludes that the matter is moot because the Court may no longer 21 grant any effective relief. See, Badea v. Cox, 931 F.2d 573, 574 22 (9th Cir. 1991) (holding that a habeas claim was moot where a former 23 inmate sought placement in a community treatment center but was 24 subsequently released on parole and no longer sought such a 25 transfer); Kittel v. Thomas, 620 F.3d 949 (9th Cir. 2010) 26 (dismissing as moot a petition seeking early release where the 27 petitioner was released and where there was no live, justiciable 28 question on which the parties disagreed). 6 Accordingly, it will be recommended that the Court grant the 1 2 motion to dismiss the petition as moot. 3 III. Recommendations 4 Accordingly, it is RECOMMENDED that: 5 1) Respondent’s motion to dismiss the petition be GRANTED; and 6 2) The petition for writ of habeas corpus be DISMISSED as moot; 7 and 2) The Clerk be DIRECTED to close the action. 8 These findings and recommendations are submitted to the United 9 States District Court Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the 10 provisions of 28 U.S.C. ' 636 (b)(1)(B) and Rule 304 of the Local 11 Rules of Practice for the United States District Court, Eastern 12 District of California. Within thirty (30) days after being served 13 with a copy, any party may file written objections with the Court 14 and serve a copy on all parties. Such a document should be 15 captioned AObjections to Magistrate Judge=s Findings and 16 Recommendations.@ Replies to the objections shall be served and 17 filed within fourteen (14) days (plus three (3) days if served by 18 mail) after service of the objections. The Court will then review 19 the Magistrate Judge=s ruling pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 636 (b)(1)(C). 20 The parties are advised that failure to file objections within the 21 specified time may waive the right to appeal the District Court=s 22 order. Martinez v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1991). 23 IT IS SO ORDERED. 24 25 Dated: /s/ Barbara October 6, 2014 A. McAuliffe _ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 26 27 28 7

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?