United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Tyler Division
MEMORANDUM ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE AND ENTERING FINAL
CLARK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Petitioner DeMaria Woods, proceeding pro se, filed
this application for the writ of habeas corpus under 28
U.S.C. §2254 complaining of the legality of his
conviction. This Court ordered that the matter be referred to
the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§636(b)(1) and (3) and the Amended Order for the
Adoption of Local Rules for the Assignment of Duties to
United States Magistrate Judges.
challenges two convictions for credit card abuse from Panola
County which were rendered on December 27, 2013. No appeal
was taken and so Woods' conviction became final on
January 26, 2014.
January 7, 2015, Woods filed a federal habeas corpus petition
challenging a prison disciplinary proceeding. Woods v.
Director, TDCJ-CID, civil action no. 6:15cv52 (E.D.Tex.,
dismissed March 4, 2015, no appeal taken). The Court
determined that Woods failed to show the infringement of a
constitutionally protected liberty interest and dismissed the
petition with prejudice on March 4, 2015. Woods signed the
present habeas petition, challenging his credit card abuse
convictions, on July 25, 2017.
The Report of the Magistrate Judge
review of the pleadings, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report
recommending that the petition be dismissed as successive,
citing Propes v. Quarterman, 573 F.3d 225, 227 (5th
Cir. 2009). In that case, the petitioner Johnnie Propes
received an 18-year sentence for murder in June of 2003. In
February of 2005, Propes filed a federal habeas corpus
petition challenging a prison disciplinary case. This
petition was dismissed with prejudice in March of 2006 upon a
finding that Propes failed to assert the deprivation of any
right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
November of 2005, while the previous habeas petition was
pending, Propes filed a state habeas application challenging
his conviction. This state application was denied in February
of 2007, and Propes filed a federal habeas petition
challenging his conviction in March of 2007.
district court dismissed this petition as successive and
Propes appealed. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit stated that a
petition is “successive” when it “either
presents a challenge to the petitioner's conviction or
sentence that could have been presented in an earlier
petition or can be said to be an abuse of the writ.”
The appellate court went on to explain as follows:
The alleged errors in Propes' conviction, which are the
targets of the challenge he now presents in a second habeas
filing, occurred before Propes made his first habeas filing.
That fact makes the second habeas petition successive under
the AEDPA. United States v. Orozco-Ramirez, 211 F.3d
862, 869 (5th Cir.2000). It is true that Propes had not yet
exhausted his claims to the conviction in state court at the
time he filed his initial petition for habeas relief. Under
Crone [v. Cockrell, 324 F.3d 833, 836 (5th
Cir. 2003)], he still was required to join his claims.
Propes also argues that the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice's disciplinary action against him was a separate
ruling by a separate court. We have already held that the
Texas Department of Criminal Justice is not a “state
court” and that its disciplinary decisions are not
judgments. See Story v. Collins, 920 F.2d 1247, 1251
(5th Cir.1991). Instead, a challenge to a disciplinary
proceeding is considered a challenge to the administration of
the sentence for the underlying conviction. Id.
Next, Propes finds support from our earlier decision that a
petitioner may, but is not required to, challenge separate
convictions from the same court in a single habeas
application. Hardemon [v. Quarterman, 516
F.3d 272, 275-76 (5th Cir. 2008)]. That rule is inapplicable
because as we stated in the just-discussed Collins decision,
disciplinary proceedings do not result in separate judgments.
There is one judgment that has placed Propes in prison.
Included within the results of that judgment are disciplinary
proceedings that occur while he is subject to the conviction.
There is, of course, still a requirement that the claims
could actually have been brought together. Disciplinary
actions that occur after a petition for habeas relief on the
conviction has been presented and resolved could not have
been brought in the earlier petition and would not be subject
to this bar. The AEDPA concerns for abuse of the writ lead to
stringent requirements for the bringing of claims, but not
We therefore conclude that when Propes challenged his state
court conviction, he filed a successive petition that would
be barred under the AEDPA absent some ...