United States District Court, D. Nevada
R. HICKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
an inmate in the custody of the Nevada Department of
Corrections (NDOC), has filed a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 to challenge his
forfeiture of 90 days of good-time credit. ECF No. 2. The
State filed an Answer. ECF No. 11. Morris filed a Reply. ECF
No. 31. For the reasons below, the court shall deny
Morris' petition for a writ of habeas corpus, dismiss
this action with prejudice, and deny a certificate of
9, 2013, Morris was notified that he was being charged in a
prison disciplinary proceeding with the unauthorized use of
equipment or mail and charging fees for legal services. ECF
No. 12-12. On July 21, 2013, a disciplinary hearing officer
found Morris guilty of both, and recommended that he forfeit
90 days of good-time credits. ECF No 12-14. That
recommendation was accepted by the NDOC. ECF No. 12-15.
November 8, 2013, Morris filed a pro se habeas petition in
state court challenging the forfeiture of good-time credit.
ECF No. 12-2. The state court denied his petition on December
19, 2013. ECF No. 13-1. When Morris appealed, the Supreme
Court of Nevada affirmed. ECF No. 13-17.
filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in federal court
on May 29, 2015. ECF No.2. The State filed an Answer. ECF No.
11. Morris filed a Reply. ECF No. 31.
Habeas Review Standards
state court has adjudicated a claim on the merits, the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) imposes
a “highly deferential” standard for evaluating
the state court ruling; that standard is “difficult to
meet” and “demands that state-court decisions be
given the benefit of the doubt.” Cullen v.
Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170 (2011). Under this highly
deferential standard of review, a federal court may not grant
habeas relief merely because it might conclude that the state
court decision was incorrect. Id. at 202. Instead,
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), the court may grant relief
only if the state court decision: (1) was either contrary to
or involved an unreasonable application of clearly
established law as determined by the United States Supreme
Court or (2) was based on an unreasonable determination of
the facts in light of the evidence presented at the state
court proceeding. Id. at 181-88. The petitioner
bears the burden of proof. Id. at 181.
court decision is “contrary to” law clearly
established by the Supreme Court only if it applies a rule
that contradicts the governing law set forth in Supreme Court
case law or if the decision confronts a set of facts that are
materially indistinguishable from a Supreme Court decision
and nevertheless arrives at a different result. See,
e.g., Mitchell v. Esparza, 540 U.S. 12, 15-16
(2003). A state court decision is not contrary to established
federal law merely because it does not cite the Supreme
Court's opinions. Id. The Supreme Court has held
that a state court need not even be aware of its precedents,
so long as neither the reasoning nor the result of its
decision contradicts them. Id. And “a federal
court may not overrule a state court for simply holding a
view different from its own, when the precedent from [the
Supreme] Court is, at best, ambiguous.” Id. at
16. A decision that does not conflict with the reasoning or
holdings of Supreme Court precedent is not contrary to
clearly established federal law.
court decision constitutes an “unreasonable
application” of clearly established federal law only if
it is demonstrated that the state court's application of
Supreme Court precedent to the facts of the case was not only
incorrect but “objectively unreasonable.”
See, e.g., id. at 18; Davis v.
Woodford, 384 F.3d 628, 638 (9th Cir. 2004). When a
state court's factual findings based on the record before
it are challenged, the “unreasonable determination of
fact” clause of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2) controls,
which requires federal courts to be “particularly
deferential” to state court factual determinations.
See, e.g., Lambert v. Blodgett, 393 F.3d
943, 972 (9th Cir. 2004). This standard is not satisfied by a
mere showing that the state court finding was “clearly
erroneous.” Id. at 973. Rather, as the Ninth
Circuit explained, AEDPA requires substantially more
[I]n concluding that a state-court finding is unsupported by
substantial evidence in the state-court record, it is not
enough that we would reverse in similar circumstances if this
were an appeal from a district court decision. Rather, we
must be convinced that an appellate panel, applying the
normal standards of appellate review, could not reasonably
conclude that the finding is supported by the record.
Taylor v. Maddox, 366 F.3d 992, 1000 (9th Cir.
2004); see also Lambert, 393 F.3d at 972.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1), a state court's factual
findings are presumed to be correct and the petitioner must
rebut that presumption by “clear and convincing
evidence.” In this inquiry, federal courts may not look
to any factual basis not developed before the state court
unless the petitioner shows that the claim relies on either
(a) “a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive
to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court, that was
previously unavailable” or (b) “a factual
predicate that could not have been previously discovered
through the exercise of due diligence, ” and also shows
that “the facts underlying the claim would be
sufficient to establish by clear and convincing evidence that
but for constitutional error, no reasonable factfinder would
have found the applicant guilty of the underlying
offense.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2).
state court summarily rejects a claim, it is the
petitioner's burden to show that “there was no
reasonable basis for the state court to deny relief.”
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 98 (2011).
argues that “his due process rights were violated when
the NDOC failed to timely serve him with the notice of
charges.” ECF No. 2 at 3. Morris contends that, under
NDOC procedures, “the 10-day limit in which to file the
[notice of charges] began to run on March 12, 2013, when the
alleged incident had occurred.” ECF No. 2 at 6;
see ECF No. 12-12. The Supreme Court of Nevada