Shelton v. Davis
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER denying 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. A Certificate of Appealability is denied. (Signed by Judge Sim Lake) Parties notified. (aboyd, 4)
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
July 21, 2017
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
LORIE DAVIS, Director,
Texas Department of Criminal
David J. Bradley, Clerk
CIVIL ACTION NO. H-17-2139
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
also known as Gregory James
Shelton (TDCJ #2056565), has filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas
Corpus By a
Person in State Custody
prison disciplinary conviction.
After considering the pleadings and the applicable law, the court
will dismiss this action for the reasons explained below.
Shelton is currently incarcerated at the McConnell Unit as the
result of a murder conviction that was entered against him in 2015,
in the 23rd District Court of Brazoria County,
received a life sentence, which was affirmed on direct appeal.
Petition, Docket Entry No. 1, p. 2.
Shelton v. State, No.
5 WL 5851899 (Tex. App. -
Houston [1st Dist.]
challenge that conviction in this
Shelton does not
Shelton seeks relief from a prison disciplinary conviction
that was entered against him at the McConnell Unit in late 2016. 2
In particular, Shelton challenges his conviction in disciplinary
case #20170089846 for possessing a weapon in violation of prison
As a result of this disciplinary conviction, Shelton spent
18 days in pre-hearing detention or solitary confinement. 4
filed grievances to challenge the conviction, but his appeals were
In two related claims for relief, Shelton contends that the
insufficient evidence to support his conviction beyond a reasonable
For reasons explained below,
the court concludes that
Shelton is not entitled to relief under the legal standard that
governs disciplinary proceedings in the state prison context.
Id. at 5.
Id. at 5-6.
Petition, Docket Entry No. 1, p. 5.
Id. at 5-6.
Id. at 6-7.
Prison Disciplinary Proceedings
in the prison disciplinary setting are
governed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to
the United States Constitution.
2963, 2974-75 (1974).
See Wolff v. McDonnell, 94 S. Ct.
Prisoners charged with institutional rules
violations are entitled to rights under the Due Process Clause only
when the disciplinary action may result in a sanction that will
infringe upon a constitutionally protected liberty interest.
Sandin v. Conner, 115 S. Ct. 2293, 2302 (1995).
emanate from either the Due Process Clause itself or from state
See Kentucky Dep't of Corrections v.
109 S. Ct.
To the extent that the
disciplinary conviction may affect the petitioner's eligibility for
early release from prison, the Due Process Clause does not include
a right to conditional release before the expiration of a valid
See Greenholtz v.
Inmates of the Nebraska Penal and
( 1979) .
circumstances the petitioner's claims depend on the existence of a
constitutionally protected liberty interest created by state law.
The Supreme Court has decided that only those state-created
substantive interests that "inevitably affect the duration of
sentence" may qualify for constitutional protection
under the Due Process Clause.
Sandin, 115 S. Ct. at 2302.
also Orellana v. Kyle, 65 F.3d 29, 31-32 (5th Cir. 1995).
only those inmates who are eligible for the form of parole known as
mandatory supervision have a
constitutional expectancy of early
See Malchi v. Thaler, 211 F.3d 953, 956 (5th Cir. 2000).
As a result, a Texas prisoner cannot demonstrate a constitutional
satisfying the following criteria:
he must be eligible for
early release on mandatory supervision; and (2)
conviction at issue must have resulted in a
earned good-time credit.
See id. at 957-58
loss of previously
(explaining that only
those Texas inmates who are eligible for early release on mandatory
supervision have a protected liberty interest in their previously
earned good-time credit) .
Shelton cannot demonstrate a constitutional violation in this
case because he admits that he did not lose any previously earned
good-time credit and that he is not otherwise eligible for mandatory
This is fatal to Shelton's due process claims.
211 F.3d at 957-58.
Under these circumstances,
cannot demonstrate a violation of the Due Process Clause, and his
pending federal habeas corpus Petition must be dismissed for failure
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Certificate of Appealability
Rule 11 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases now requires
a district court to issue or deny a certificate of appealability
Petition, Docket Entry No. 1, p. 5 ~~ 16, 18. See also Tex.
Gov't Code § 508.149(a) (2) (excluding Texas prisoners convicted of
murder from eligibility for mandatory supervision) .
when entering a final order that is adverse to the petitioner.
certificate of appealability will not issue unless the petitioner
"a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional
2253 (c) (2),
Tennard v. Dretke, 124 S. Ct. 2562, 2565 (2004)
controlling standard this
which requires a petitioner to
reasonable jurists could debate whether (or, for that matter, agree
that) the petition should have been resolved in a different manner
encouragement to proceed further.'"
Where denial of relief is based on
procedural grounds the petitioner must show not only that "jurists
of reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a
valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right," but also that
correct in its procedural ruling."
A district court may deny a
Slack, 120 S. Ct. at 1604.
certificate of appealability,
sua sponte, without requiring further briefing or argument.
211 F.3d 895,
reasons set forth above, the court concludes that jurists of reason
would not debate whether the petitioner states a valid claim or
Therefore, a certificate of appealability will not issue.
Conclusion and Order
Based on the foregoing, the court ORDERS as follows:
The Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus By a
Person in State Custody filed by Greg Shelton
(Docket Entry No. 1) is DENIED and this case will
be dismissed with prejudice.
A certificate of appealability is DENIED.
The Clerk shall provide a copy of this Memorandum Opinion and
Order to the parties.
SIGNED at Houston, Texas, on this the 21st day of July, 2017.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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?