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Wall v. Kiser

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

March 5, 2018

GARY WALL, Petitioner,
v.
JEFFREY KISER, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Elizabeth K. Dillon United States District Judge.

         Gary Wall, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging the validity of a Wallens Ridge State Prison disciplinary hearing, alleging that he was deprived of liberty interests without due process. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss, and Wall responded, making the matter ripe for disposition. Having reviewed the record, the court concludes that the motion to dismiss must be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On August 14, 2015, Wall was involved in an incident at Red Onion State Prison that resulted in institutional charges of: being in an unauthorized area, disobeying an order, gathering around/approaching any person in a threatening/intimidating manner, and aggravated assault on a non-offender.[1] After several hearings, Wall was found guilty on each of the charges, losing a total of 270 earned good-time credits. He appealed, but the warden upheld his convictions.

         On January 26, 2016, Wall filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of Virginia. The court denied his petition, citing Carroll v. Johnson. 685 S.E.2d 647, 694 (Va. 2009) (“[D]isputes which only tangentially affect an inmate's confinement, such as prison classification issues concerning the rate at which a prisoner earns good conduct or sentence credits . . . are not proper matters for habeas corpus.”). Wall filed an additional habeas petition in the Supreme Court of Virginia, which the court denied based on the previous holding.

         II. CLAIMS

         On February 22, 2017, Wall filed the current petition, seeking the restoration of earned good-time credits. He appears to raise five claims:

         1. Wall is actually innocent in light of newly discovered reliable evidence;

         2. The disciplinary proceedings violated Wall's due process rights because he was not allowed to present evidence or call witnesses;

         3. The disciplinary proceedings violated Wall's due process rights because the hearing officer was not impartial;

         4. Wallens Ridge State Prison personnel did not have subject matter jurisdiction over Wall's alleged violations that occurred at Red Onion State Prison; and

         5. Wall's due process rights were violated when he was denied an advisor for two of his disciplinary hearings.

         III. DISCUSSION

         The Respondent argues that “Wall's federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus should be dismissed because it was already adjudicated on the merits by the Supreme Court of Virginia.” Resp't's Mot. to Dismiss 6. However, by ruling that “[t]he court's habeas corpus jurisdiction does not extend to [Wall's petition], ” the Supreme Court of Virginia did not adjudicate the merits of his claims. Wall v. Barksdale, No. 160145, slip op. at 1 (Va. Jun. 10, 2016); see Higdon v. Jarvis, 2012 WL 738731, at *4 (W.D. Va. Mar. 5, 2012) (“The Supreme Court of Virginia dismissed petitioner's state habeas petition because ‘[state] habeas corpus does not lie in this matter' pursuant to Carroll v. Johnson . . . . Therefore, the Supreme ...


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