United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
LAKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
inmate Byron Keith Harmon has filed a Petition for a Writ of
Habeas Corpus By a Person in State Custody
("Petition") (Docket Entry No. 1), seeking relief
from a prison disciplinary conviction. After considering the
pleadings and the applicable law, the court will dismiss this
action for the reasons explained below.
is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence in the Texas
Department of Criminal Justice - Correctional Institutions
Division ("TDCJ") as the result of a conviction
that was entered against him in Harris County,
Texas. Although Harmon does not specify the
offense, public records reflect that Harmon received that
sentence after a jury in the 351st District Court for Harris
County, Texas, found him guilty of aggravated robbery in
Cause No. 1355981. See Harmon v. State, No.
14-12-00713-CR, 2014 WL 1852172 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th
Dist.] May 6, 2014, no pet.).
now seeks relief in the form of a federal writ of habeas
corpus to challenge a prison disciplinary conviction that was
entered against him at the Stiles Unit, where he is currently
confined. In particular, Harmon challenges a
conviction entered against him on January 4, 2018, in
disciplinary case number 20180114334, for sexual
misconduct. As a result of this disciplinary
conviction, Harmon lost 3 0 days of previously earned
argues that he was denied due process at his disciplinary
hearing because he was not allowed to confront and
cross-examine the charging officer. Harmon also argues that
there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction,
that he was excluded from a portion of the proceedings and
not allowed to testify on his own behalf.
Prison Disciplinary Proceedings
inmate's rights in the prison disciplinary setting are
governed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment to the United States Constitution. See Wolff v.
McDonnell, 94 S.Ct. 2963, 2974-75 (1974). 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.
See Sandin v. Conner, 115 S.Ct. 2293, 2302 (1995). A
Texas prisoner cannot demonstrate a Due Process violation in
the prison disciplinary context without first satisfying the
following criteria: (1) he must be eligible for early release
on the form of parole known as mandatory supervision; and (2)
the disciplinary conviction at issue must have resulted in a
loss of previously earned good-time credit. See Malchi v.
Thaler, 211 F.3d 953, 957-58 (5th Cir. 2000) .
Harmon lost previously earned good-time credit, he admits
that he is not eligible for mandatory
supervision. Because Harmon cannot establish a
violation of constitutional proportion under these
circumstances, his Petition will be dismissed for failure to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Certificate of Appealability
of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases requires a district
court to issue or deny a certificate of appealability when
entering a final order that is adverse to the petitioner. A
certificate of appealability will not issue unless the
petitioner makes "a substantial showing of the denial of
a constitutional right, " 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2),
which requires a petitioner to demonstrate that
"reasonable jurists would find the district court's
assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or
wrong." Tennard v. Dretke, 124 S.Ct. 2562, 2565
(2004) (quoting Slack v. McDaniel, 120 S.Ct. 1595,
1604 (2000)). The court concludes that jurists of reason
would not debate the assessment of the petitioner's
claims or whether the petitioner has demonstrated the
violation of a constitutional right. Therefore, a certificate
of appealability will not issue.
Conclusion and Order
on the foregoing, the court ORDERS as follows:
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus By a Person in State