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Chaziza v. Stammerjohn

United States District Court, D. Nevada

November 12, 2019

AHUD CHAZIZA, Plaintiff,
v.
STAMMERJOHN, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE WILLIAM G. COBB

          MIRANDA M. DU CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. SUMMARY

         Plaintiff Ahud Chaziza, who is an incarcerated person and represented by counsel, brought this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Before the Court is the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge William G. Cobb (“R&R”), recommending that the Court grant Defendants'[1] motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 29) and deny Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment (ECF No. 39). (ECF No. 44.) Plaintiff has filed an objection (“Objection”) (ECF No. 45) and Defendants responded (ECF No. 46). The Court overrules Plaintiff's Objection and adopts the R&R.[2]

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is an inmate in custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections (“NDOC”). The events giving rise to this case occurred while Plaintiff was housed at Lovelock Correctional Center (“LCC”). (ECF No. 9.)

         On screening Plaintiff was allowed to proceed on two claims (Counts I and II) for alleged violations of his due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. (ECF No. 8 at 7; see also ECF No. 9 at 4, 10.) Plaintiff's claims are precisely that Defendants failed to properly calculate his statutory credits under NRS § 209.4465, and the 2007 amendments-Assembly Bill (“A.B.”) 510-as well as case law interpreting the statute. (ECF No. 8 at 4-5; ECF No. 9 at 3-14.) His claims pertain to his underlying sentences. As to his first sentence, Plaintiff essentially contends that he should have received an additional 85 days of statutory credits under NRS § 209.4465 and thus his date of release was accordingly extended beyond expiration of his term in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment (Count I). (ECF No. 9 at 3, 9.) As to his second sentence, Plaintiff asserts that his parole eligibility deadline should have been advanced on the front-end resulting in an earlier parole eligibility date (Count II). (E.g., Id. at 14.) He seeks monetary damages. (Id. at 17.)

         Relevantly, it is undisputed that Plaintiff was arrested and has been in custody since October 18, 2006. (ECF No. 39 at 2.) In May 2009, Plaintiff was sentenced to 60 to 180 months for count 1-first degree kidnapping and a consecutive term of the same for count 2-robbery. (ECF No. 38-3 at 3.) On April 26, 2014, Plaintiff was discharged from the term imposed under count 1 and began serving his term under count 2. (Id.)

         In December 2015, Plaintiff obtained a copy of his “Credit History by Sentence” and noticed that he had been credited for 10 days of statutory credits from October 17, 2006 through June 30, 2007, for a total of 85 days, instead of 170 statutory credits to which he believed he was entitled under A.B. 510.[3] (ECF No. 39 at 3 (making statement about obtaining copy which is not disputed).) Plaintiff filed various grievances regarding the application of his statutory credits in 2016 and 2017 to which Defendants responded. (ECF No. 29-4; ECF No. 38 at 3-5.)

         Plaintiff first sought habeas relief in the Eleventh Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada in and for the County of Pershing (“State Court”) in June 2016 regarding the computation of his sentences. (ECF No. 38-3 at 2.) In the habeas proceedings, Plaintiff in gist stated the same two claims in this action. There, Plaintiff contended that NDOC violated, inter alia, his Fourteenth Amendment rights because it did not apply the full amount of statutory credits earned under NRS § 209.4465 to his first sentence. (ECF No. 38-3 at 2.) He additionally asserted that NDOC violated, inter alia, his Fourteenth Amendment rights because “it has not deducted the statutory credits earned from the minimums of his terms of imprisonment pursuant to NRS [§] 209.4465(7)(b).” (Id. at 3.) The State Court denied Plaintiff's habeas petition in its entirety on September 19, 2017. (See generally ECF No. 38-3.) The court concluded that there was no controversy as to count 1 because Plaintiff's term as to that count had expired. (Id. at 4 (also citing Johnson v. Dir. Dep't Prisons, 774 P.2d 1047, 1049 (Nev. 1989) for the proposition that “when [Petitioner] expired his sentence[], any question as to the method of computing th[at] sentence[] was rendered moot”).) The State Court also rejected Plaintiff's contention- which he makes in this case[4]-that pursuant to Garlotte v. Fordice, 515 U.S. 39 (1995), he is still in custody as to count 1 because he is serving consecutive terms. (Id. at 4-5.) Concerning count 2, the State Court concluded that Plaintiff was not entitled to the application of statutory credits towards his minimum term of incarceration under the version of NRS § 209.4465(7)(b) applicable at the time of his crime because he was convicted of a category B felony-robbery. (Id. at 5-6.)

         In February 2018, the State Court reconsidered its decision to deny Plaintiff's habeas petition in light of the Nevada Supreme Court's holding in Williams v. Nev. Dep't of Corr., et al., 402 P.3d 1260 (Nev. 2017).[5] (ECF No. 29-6.) Upon reconsideration, the State Court granted Plaintiff's petition in part and denied it in part. (Id.) The court maintained its holding regarding count 1-denied as moot. (Id. at 2.) As to count 2, the court found that Plaintiff was in fact entitled to statutory credits under NRS § 209.4465(7)(b) despite his robbery conviction and ordered that LCC recalculate Plaintiff's time served under count 2 within 30 days of its order. (Id. at 2-3.)

         Before Plaintiff's credits were recalculated he had a projected eligibility date of April 26, 2019, and a projected sentence expiration date of February 17, 2021. (ECF No. 38-9 at 2, 7.) After his credits were adjusted, Plaintiff's parole eligibility date was determined to be February 6, 2016. (Id. at 3, 9.) NDOC accordingly added Plaintiff to the next available date for parole consideration. (Id. at 3; ECF No. 29-7 at 2.) In June 2018, Plaintiff was ultimately denied parole until his mandatory parole release date. (ECF No. 29-8; ECF No. 38 at 6.)

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Review of Magistrate Judge's Recommendation

         This Court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Where a party timely objects to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, then the court is required to “make a de novo determination of those portions of ...


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