« Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 2 today (and 3 NFP) | Main | Ind. Decisions - "Marion Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg today dismissed a lawsuit filed by Sup. Glenda Ritz against the state board of education" »

Friday, November 08, 2013

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decided one Indiana case Nov. 5th

In ERIC GRANDBERRY v. STEVE KEEVER (SD Ind., Lawrence), a 6-page opinion, Judge Hamilton writes:

Eric Grandberry petitioned for habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. §2254. His petition did not seek relief from his criminal conviction, but from a disciplinary sanction that a state prison had imposed against him. The sanction was a loss of “good-time” credits that will extend by 30 days the time he spends in custody. He has alleged that the Indiana prison’s disciplinary proceedings failed to provide him with the minimal due process protections required under the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court exercised jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §2254(a) and denied Grandberry’s petition on the merits. Grandberry has appealed.

We address here a preliminary question of appellate procedure for appeals from denial of habeas corpus relief from state prison disciplinary actions. Under the governing statute, appeals from denials of habeas relief under §2254 require a certificate of appealability if “the detention complained of arises out of process issued by a State court.” 28 U.S.C. §2253(c)(1)(A). In Walker v. O’Brien, 216 F.3d 626, 638 (7th Cir. 2000), and many later cases, we have held that when a habeas petitioner challenges a prison disciplinary action rather than his or her underlying conviction, the certificate of appealability requirement of §2253(c)(1)(A) does not apply. In accord with those precedents, Grandberry filed a notice of appeal without first obtaining a certificate of appealability. We have jurisdiction over his appeal under 28 U.S.C. §2253(a).

Our reasoning has not changed, the reasoning of our colleagues in other circuits has not changed, and our respectful disagreement with our colleagues on this issue has not changed. We could go on at considerable length rehearsing the arguments for and against the Walker holding. The panel opinion in Walker and the dissent from denial of rehearing en banc have already done so ably, as have the Ninth Circuit majority and dissent in Hayward, among a number of other published opinions. We would add little to the debate by further repetition. We hold that Walker v. O’Brien is still good law in this circuit. In this matter, because petitioner Grandberry seeks to challenge a prison disciplinary decision and not his underlying conviction, he was not required to obtain a certificate of appealability under 28 U.S.C. §2253(c)(1)(A). Walker, 216 F.3d at 637–39.

Petitioner Grandberry’s appeal will proceed without a certificate of appealability. By separate order, we will establish a new schedule for briefing on the merits of his appeal.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 8, 2013 11:31 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions