On February 14, 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a habeas corpus petition that sought restoration of good time credits forfeited after a prison disciplinary hearing.
The appeal was brought by federal prisoner Oscar Arredondo-Virula (Arredondo) after a California federal district court denied the petition. Arredondo was docked 27 days good time credit, ordered to serve 15 days administrative segregation, and lost visitation privileges after he was found guilty of violating a prison rule.
Curtis Logan, an employee of Management and Training Corporation (MTC), the private contractor operating the federal prison Arredondo was held at, found Arredondo guilty based on an incident report and imposed the sanctions.
Logan was not an employee of the Bureau of Prisons or Federal Prison Industries, Inc. Arredondo argued that under 28 C.F.R. §541.10(b)(1)(2010), “only institution staff may take disciplinary action.” Staff was defined as “any employee of the Bureau of Prisons or Federal Prison Industries, Inc.”
The Ninth Circuit wrote that a significant difference exists between employees and independent contractors. It held the plain meaning of the law prohibited Logan from disciplining Arredondo. It reversed the district court, and ordered it to promptly grant the petition. The Court also noted that 28 C.F.R. § 541.10(b)(1) is no longer in force. See: Arredondo-Virula v. Adler, 510 Fed. Appx. 581 (9th Cir. 2013). Following remand, the district court granted the habeas petition and ordered reinstatement of the 27 days of good time credit.
(Published by Prison Legal News; used by permission)