United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Ashland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. Wllholt, Jr. United States District Judge.
inmate Ricardo Larios has filed an amended pro se petition for a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
challenging the imposition of prison disciplinary sanctions.
[D. E. No. 9] This matter is before the Court to conduct an
initial screening of Harris's petition. 28 U.S.C. §
2243; Alexander v. Northern Bureau of Prisons, 419
Fed.Appx. 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011).
April 2, 2014, Larios provided a urine sample to prison
officials. An outside laboratory tested the sample, which
came back positive for the presence of barbiturates. Prison
medical staff reviewed Larios's medical records and
determined that he was not prescribed any medication that
would cause a positive test. Therefore, on April 25, 2014, an
Incident Report was issued charging Larios with Using
Narcotics Not Prescribed by Medical Staff, a Code 112
was provided with advanced notice of the charges, but chose
not to request staff representation or the presentation of
witness testimony at the upcoming hearing. A Disciplinary
Hearing Officer ("DHO") conducted a hearing on May
5, 2014. At the hearing, Larios denied the charges and stated
that he takes Phenytoin, an anti-seizure medication sold
under the trade name Dilantin, which can cause a false
positive test for barbiturates. However, Larios provided
neither testimony nor documentation in support of this claim
at the hearing. Based upon the report from the prison's
medical department that Larios was not prescribed any
medication that would have caused any false positive, the DHO
found Larios guilty of the disciplinary offense in a report
dated May 12, 2014. The DHO imposed various sanctions,
including the forfeiture or disallowance of 231 days of good
conduct time. [D.E. No. 9-2 at 11-13]
petition, Larios characterizes the DHO's decision as an
abuse of process because, he believes, the BOP gains
financially by incarcerating inmates longer. He also claims
that the sanctions violate his criminal judgment, which he
characterizes as a contract between the federal court that
imposed it and the BOP. Finally, Larios suggests that the DHO
lacked sufficient evidence to find him guilty of the offense
in light of his assertion that Phenytoin is known to cause
false positives for barbiturates in lab tests. [D. E. No. 9
prison disciplinary board takes action that results in the
loss of good time credits in which the prisoner has a vested
liberty interest, the Due Process Clause requires prison
officials to observe certain protections for the prisoner.
Specifically, the prisoner is entitled to advanced notice of
the charges, the opportunity to present evidence in his or
her defense, whether through live testimony or documents, and
a written decision explaining the grounds used to determine
guilt or innocence of the offense. Wolff v.
McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563-66 (1974). Further, the
findings used as a basis to revoke good time credits must be
supported by some evidence in the record. Superintendent
v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985); Selby v.
Caruso, 734 F.3d 554, 559 (6th Cir. 2013).
challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence is without
merit. This Court's review of whether there was
"some evidence" to support the DHO's factual
determinations is extraordinarily deferential:
"[ascertaining whether this standard is satisfied does
not require examination of the entire record, independent
assessment of the credibility of witnesses, or weighing of
the evidence. Instead, the relevant question is whether there
is any evidence in the record that could support the
conclusion reached by the disciplinary board."
Hill, 472 U.S. at 455-56 (emphasis added). Here, the
prison medical department provided the DHO with an
unequivocal statement that Larios was not prescribed any
medication that would cause a false positive test for
barbiturates, and he did not provide any evidence to the
contrary at the hearing. Larios has submitted documents in
this case that appear to show that he was prescribed
Phenytoin in 2012 and 2017, but those documents do not show
that he was prescribed the drug in 2014 when it was detected
in his urine and the charges were filed. [D. E. No. 4-2 at 3,
5] Based upon the evidence before the DHO at the time his
report was issued, the DHO's conclusion was amply
supported by "some evidence" and his decision
comports with the requirements of due process.
"abuse of process" claim does not warrant
discussion save to note that there is no evidence whatsoever
in the record to suggest that the DHO was biased in his
decisionmaking. And Larios's assertion that the criminal
judgment against him precluded the BOP from disallowing good
time credits is both factually and legally baseless. The
judgment itself contains no provision at all for good time
credits; those are provided for by a federal statute that by
its terms states that such credits are conditioned upon
compliance with prison rules and are subject to forfeiture.
18 U.S.C. § 3624(b)(1); 28 C.F.R. § 523.20(e)
("The amount of good conduct time awarded for the year
is also subject to disciplinary disallowance (see tables 3
through 6 in § 541.13 of this chapter)."). For each
of these reasons, Larios's petition must be denied.
it is ORDERED as follows:
Clerk of the Court shall modify the docket to identify the
petitioner as "Ricardo Larios a/k/a Richard
Larios-Trujillo." 2. Larios's petition for a writ of
habeas corpus [D. E. No. 9] is DENIED.
Court will enter a judgment contemporaneously with this
matter is DISMISSED and
STRICKEN from the docket.