United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Galveston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JEFFREY VINCENT BROWN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Charles Ray Bailey is an inmate in the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice-Correctional Institutions Division
(“TDCJ”). He filed a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 to challenge a
prison disciplinary proceeding (Dkt. 1). Respondent has filed
an answer (Dkt. 11) and a copy of the state court records
(Dkt. 12). Petitioner did not file a reply to the answer, but
has filed a motion for discovery (Dkt. 8). Having now
considered the petition, the answer, all matters of record,
and the applicable legal authorities, the Court determines
that the petition should be dismissed.
is serving a life sentence for capital murder, Case Number
956856, 176th District Court of Harris County. His petition
does not challenge his conviction or sentence. Rather, he
seeks relief from a conviction for fighting without a weapon
at the Clemens Unit on July 23, 2018, in disciplinary case
number 20180304925 (Dkt. 12-2, at 3; Dkt. 1, at 5). TDCJ held
a disciplinary hearing and Respondent has submitted the
hearing's written records (Dkt. 12-2) and audio recording
(Dkt. 12-3). At the hearing, Bailey was convicted and
punished by forty-five days recreation restriction,
forty-five days commissary restriction, forty-five days cell
restriction, forty-five days offender telephone use
restriction, and reduction in line class from S3 to L1, but
he did not lose good-time days (Dkt. 12-2, at 3). He
unsuccessfully appealed the conviction through TDCJ's
two-step administrative grievance procedure (Dkt. 12-1).
Bailey acknowledges that he is not eligible for release on
mandatory supervision and that he did not lose good-time days
(Dkt. 1, at 5).
PRISON DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS
preliminary matter, this Court may hear Bailey's petition
because, at the time he filed his petition, he was
incarcerated at the Clemens Unit in Brazoria County, which is
within the boundaries of the Galveston Division of the
Southern District of Texas. See 28 U.S.C. §
2241(d); 28 U.S.C. § 124(b)(1); Wadsworth v.
Johnson, 235 F.3d 959, 961 (5th Cir. 2000).
claims in his petition that he was denied due process during
the disciplinary proceedings and that racial disparities in
TDCJ discipline violate his rights under the Equal Protection
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, 418 U.S. 539, 557 (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, 515 U.S. 472 (1995); Driggers v.
Cruz, 740 F.3d 333, 338 (5th Cir. 2014). 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).
case, Bailey's life sentence renders him ineligible for
release on mandatory supervision. See Arnold v.
Cockrell, 306 F.3d 277, 279 & n.7 (5th Cir. 2002)
(citing Ex parte Franks, 71 S.W.3d 327 (Tex. Crim.
App. 2001)). Moreover, his disciplinary conviction did not
result in any lost good-time credits. He therefore fails to
demonstrate a due process violation. See Malchi, 211
F.3d at 957-58. Although Bailey's disciplinary conviction
resulted in a sanctions affecting his privileges, such as
those for recreation or commissary, the Fifth Circuit has
held that such sanctions are “merely changes in the
conditions of [an inmate's] confinement” and do not
implicate due process concerns. Madison v. Parker,
104 F.3d 765, 768 (5th Cir. 1997).
due process claim will be dismissed.
claims that his right to equal protection of the laws was
violated during the disciplinary hearing process because of
“racial disparities in discipline” (Dkt. 1, at
6). He alleges that he was disciplined for a fight with a
white inmate and that he, a black male, received the maximum
disciplinary sanction while the white inmate received
“light or no sanctions for the same offense”
(id.). He seeks injunctive relief ordering an audit
of statistical disparities, among other relief (id.
argues that Bailey failed to exhaust his equal protection
claim during administrative grievance procedures. The Court
need not address the exhaustion issue because the claim fails
on the merits. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(2)
(“An application for a writ of habeas corpus may be
denied on the merits, notwithstanding the ...