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Ali v. Hooks

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

March 18, 2019

ABDULKADIR SHARIF ALI, Petitioner,
v.
ERIK HOOKS, Respondent.

          ORDER

          LOUISE W. FLANAGAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the court on respondent's motion for summary judgment (DE 7), filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. The issues raised have been fully briefed and are ripe for decision. For the following reasons, the court grants respondent's motion.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         On September 20, 2017, petitioner, a state inmate proceeding pro se, filed the instant habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C.§ 2254. Petitioner challenges his disciplinary convictions for substance possession, possession of cell phone, and unauthorized tobacco use, which he received at Caledonia Correctional Institution (“Caledonia C.I.”) on March 15, 2017. The court conducted its initial review of the petition on May 3, 2018, and allowed the matter to proceed.

         On June 1, 2018, respondent filed the instant motion for summary judgment, arguing that petitioner's disciplinary proceedings and convictions did not violate petitioner's constitutional rights. Alternatively, respondent asserts that the petition should be dismissed because petitioner failed to exhaust his state court remedies prior to bringing this action. In support of the motion, respondent filed memorandum of law, statement of material facts, and appendix. Respondent's appendix included disciplinary hearing and appeal record, as well as pertinent North Carolina Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) policies and procedures. Petitioner filed response in opposition on August 21, 2018, which included memorandum of law, statement of material facts, and appendix. Petitioner's appendix included additional records from his disciplinary proceedings and excerpts from pertinent DPS policies and procedures.

         STATEMENT OF FACTS

         On February 22, 2017, Caledonia C.I. officials searched respondent's single-occupancy cell and found a package containing 96 Suboxone strips, 30 Ecocet pills, one ounce of marijuana, a small amount of tobacco, and a cell phone. (Resp't's App., Ex. 1 (DE 10-1) at 18).[1] Petitioner was charged with the following offenses: 1) A-12 disciplinary offense for substance possession; 2) A-16 disciplinary offense for possess audio/image device; and 3) B-16 disciplinary offense for unauthorized tobacco use. (Id. at 15). Caledonia C.I. officials held petitioner's disciplinary hearing on March 15, 2017. (Id. at 12). The summary of the record developed at the disciplinary hearing is as follows:

C/O DEON FLOOD STATED ON 2/22/17 AT APPROXIMATELY 1445 HRS, HE WAS CONDUCTING A ROUTINE SEARCH IN UNIT 2B BLOC, CELL # ASSIGNED TO ABDULKADIR ALI #1431404. DURING HIS SEARCH HE FOUND (96) HITS OF [SUBOXONE], (30) [ECOCET] PILLS, LARGE AMOUNT [OF] TOBACCO & A LARGE AMOUNT OF MARIJUANA AND A CELL PHONE. INMATE ALI IS CHARGED WITH AN A12, A16 AND A B16.
. . .
THE DHO EXPLAINED THE CHARGES, DISCIPLINARY AND APPEAL RIGHTS TO I/M ALI. I/M PLED NOT GUILTY TO THE A12, A16 AND B16 OFFENSE[S]. THE INMATE WAS AFFORDED HIS RIGHTS DURING THE DISCIPLINARY PROCESS. THE DHO EXPLAINED THE EVIDENCE TO THE INMATE. INMATE STATED DURING THE HEARING NONE OF THE ITEMS WAS HIS. INMATE MADE A WRITTEN STATEMENT.
INMATE ABDULKADIR ALI STATED THAT ON 2-22-17 OFFICER FLOOD[, ] UNIT MANAGER II CHRIS JONES[, ] AND UNIT MANAGER I RIOS DID A CELL SEARCH OF INMATE'S ASSIGNED CELL. THERE WERE NO CAMERAS IN SEGREGATION NOR [DID] THE STAFF VIDEO RECORD THEIR ALLEGED FINDINGS & [THE INMATE] WAS NOT WITNESS TO THIS SEARCH BECAUSE HE WAS DETAINED IN THE SHOWER. THESE CONTRABAND ITEMS DON'T BELONG TO HIM & [HE] WAS NEVER ISSUED A PROPER CELL INSPECTION WITH ITS PROPER FORM, TO WHICH HE NEVER SIGNED ANYTHING [WITH] RESPECT TO THE STATUS OF THIS CELL PRIOR TO BEING PLACED IN SEGREGATION. INMATE[‘S PRIOR] BUNK WAS 2C8 & HIS BED WAS IN A VERY COMMON AREA ACCESSIBLE TO ALL INMATES. IF HE SAID [CONTRABAND] WAS IN MY PROPERTY, THEN WHY DID SGT. PITTMAN NOT DO A THOROUGH INVENTORY OF MY PROPERTY. SURELY HE SHOULD & WOULD HAVE FOUND THE ITEMS IN QUESTION. I/M REQUEST THAT ALL HIS PHONE RECORDS & LOGS BE CHECKED & MATCHED TO HIS PHONE PIN ALL CALLS MADE THROUGH GLOBAL TEL LINK. INMATE CHECKED YES FOR A STATEMENT FROM SGT. PITTMAN.
SGT PITTMAN STATED ON 2/20/17 DID A SEARCH OF INMATE ALI'[S] PROPERTY. AT THE TIME SHE WAS WORKING 3 BLOCKS & [INVENTORYING] OTHER PROPERTY AS WELL DUE TO STAFF SHORTAGE. C/O PITTMAN STATED SHE CHECKED IT AS THOROUGHLY [AS POSSIBLE], BUT IT'S STILL [POSSIBLE] THAT SHE COULD HAVE MISSED SOME THINGS DUE TO HER WATCHING THREE OTHER BLOCKS @ THE SAME TIME. THE PROPERTY WAS SECURE IN THE SGT.'S OFFICE ON AREA 1 SIDE. INMATE CHECKED YES FOR LIVE WITNESS FROM SGT PITTMAN. THE DHO DENIED LIVE WITNESS DUE TO OFFICER PITTMAN HAS A STATEMENT IN THE DISCIPLINARY PACKAGE. OFFICER PITTMAN'S STATEMENT WAS REFERENCES TO [sic]. INMATE CHECKED YES FOR PHYSICAL EVIDENCE VIA CELL [INSPECTION] SHEET AND VIDEO OF FINDINGS. ATTACHED TO THE DISCIPLINARY PACKAGE IS A COPY OF THE CELL CONDITION SHEET. THERE WAS NO VIDEO RECORDING OF THE INVENTORY THAT WAS CONDUCTED. INMATE CHECKED NO FOR STAFF ASSISTANCE. A STATEMENT WAS OBTAINED FROM OFFICER PITT, U/M II CHRIS JONES AND U/M I RAFAEL SANTORIOS.
C/O W. PITT STATED 2/22/17 @ APPROX. 1425 HRS, WHILE [ASSISTING] DURING A SINGLE CELL SEARCH OF 4B2, ASSIGNED TO INMATE ALI, HE FOUND A BLACK S.V.P. TOUCH SCREEN CELL PHONE WATCH WITH (5) SIM CARDS & (1) S.D. MEMORY CARD HIDDEN INSIDE INMATE ALI'S LEGAL MAIL. THESE ITEMS [ARE] CONSIDERED CONTRABAND & WERE TURNED OVER TO THE OIC.
MR. JONES STATES, ON 2/22/17, OFC.'S FLOOD & PITT . . . SEARCHED INMATE ALI & HIS CELL, 4B2. DURING THEIR []SEARCH THEY DISCOVERED A CELLPHONE, 96 [SUBOXONE] STRIPS, 30 ECOCET PILLS, MARIJUANA & TOBACCO. THE CONTRABAND WAS ...

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