United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Elizabeth K. Dillon United States District Judge.
Canada, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, filed a
petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241, challenging a disciplinary conviction that
resulted in, inter alia, loss of good conduct time.
Respondent filed a motion for summary judgment, and this
matter is ripe for disposition. The court finds that Canada is
not entitled to habeas relief and grants respondent's
motion for summary judgment.
December 16, 2014, while housed at the United States
Penitentiary in Lee County, Virginia, Canada received an
incident report charging him with violating prison rules
against fighting and possessing a weapon. The next day,
Canada appeared before the prison's Unit Discipline
Committee, which referred the incident report to the
Disciplinary Hearing Officer (“DHO”) for a
hearing. On December 19, 2014, Canada and his requested staff
representative appeared before the DHO. The DHO found Canada
guilty of the charged offenses and sanctioned him to,
inter alia, 68 days loss of good conduct time.
Canada did not receive a DHO report of that hearing.
December 22, 2014, Canada received a re-written incident
report, still charging him with the same violations but
reciting an amended description of the
incident. On December 24, 2014, Canada received
another re-written incident report, again charging him with
the same violations and again amending the description of the
incident. On January 16, 2015, Canada and his staff
representative appeared before the same DHO. The DHO then
made the same findings and imposed the same sanctions as he
did at the December 19, 2014 hearing.
alleges that the DHO “advised/aided” the Unicor
Factory Repair Supervisor who wrote all three incident
reports on “how to better rewrite the incident report
to support a finding of guilt at [the] DHO hearing and
prevail on any attack by petition via administrative remedy
filed a habeas petition pursuant to § 2241, alleging
that the January 16, 2015 rehearing was collaterally estopped
and that he was denied due process because the DHO was not
impartial. Canada seeks expungement of the disciplinary
convictions, restoration of his good conduct time, and more
training for the DHO.
avers in his declaration attached to respondent's motion
for summary judgment that he sent the first and second
incident reports back to be rewritten because he did not
believe the earlier versions gave Canada sufficient notice of
the charges against him. He also declares that he did not
rewrite the incident report or instruct other staff members
on what the recited facts should be. The DHO avers that he
was not predisposed to finding Canada guilty of the charged
violations and he was an “objective and impartial
argues that the rehearing was barred by the doctrine of
collateral estoppel. Collateral estoppel, or issue
preclusion, bars subsequent litigation of legal and factual
issues common to an earlier action that were “actually
and necessarily determined” in the first litigation.
Montana v. United States, 440 U.S. 147, 153 (1979);
Combs v. Richardson, 838 F.2d 112, 114 (4th Cir.
1988). Thus, “collateral estoppel forecloses the
relitigation of issues of fact or law that are identical to
issues which have been actually determined and necessarily
decided in prior litigation in which the party against whom
[collateral estoppel] is asserted had a full and fair
opportunity to litigate.” Sedlack v. Braswell
Servs. Group, Inc., 134 F.3d 219, 224 (4th Cir. 1998)
(internal quotation marks omitted). To apply collateral
estoppel to an issue or fact, the proponent must demonstrate
that: 1) the issue or fact is identical to the one previously
litigated; 2) the issue or fact was actually resolved in the
prior proceeding; 3) the issue or fact was critical and
necessary to the judgment in the prior proceeding; 4) the
judgment in the prior proceeding is final and valid; and 5)
the party to be foreclosed by the prior resolution of the
issue or fact had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the
issue or fact in the prior proceeding. Id.
has not shown that the doctrine of collateral estoppel
applies in the context of a prison disciplinary hearing.
Also, there was no final judgment or determination in regard
to Canada's first disciplinary hearing. A DHO report was
only produced after the rehearing. Accordingly, the court
concludes that Canada's claim that the rehearing was
barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel fails and will
grant respondent's motion for summary judgment as to this
alleges that he was denied due process at the rehearing. The
Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides that
no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty or
property without due process of law.” U.S. Const.
amend. XIV § 1. “An inmate has a liberty interest
in good time credit and no state may constitutionally deprive
him of that good time credit without due process of
law.” Moses v. Bledsoe, No. 1:03cv149, 2004
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28924, at *6, 2004 WL 3317657, at *2 (N.D.
W.Va. 2004). Certain procedural safeguards apply when loss of
statutory good time credit is at issue. Wolff v.
McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 557 (1974). These due process
protections include: 1) advance written notice of the
charges; 2) a hearing before an impartial decision maker; 3)
the opportunity to call witnesses and present evidence when
doing so is not inconsistent with institutional safety and
correctional concerns; 4) an opportunity for non-attorney
representation if the inmate is illiterate or the
disciplinary hearing is complex; and 5) a written decision
setting forth the evidence relied upon and the reasons for
the disciplinary action. Id. at 563-71.
alleges that he was not provided a fair and impartial
disciplinary hearing because the DHO “aided”
prison staff in rewriting the incident report and then
conducted the disciplinary rehearing. While facts and inferences
must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party not
moving for summary judgment, the non-moving party may not
rely on beliefs, conjecture, speculation, or conclusory
allegations that are not based on personal knowledge to
create a dispute of material fact. Barber v. Hosp. Corp.
of Am., 977 F.2d 874-75 (4th Cir. 1992); Shealyv. Winston, 929 F.2d 1009, 1011 (4th Cir. 1991);
see Mitchell v. Data General Corp., 12 F.3d ...