Banks v. Jones, No. 1D15–0330.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtB.L. THOMAS, J.
Citation197 So.3d 1152
Parties Robert E. BANKS, Petitioner, v. Julie L. JONES, Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections, Respondent.
Decision Date12 July 2016
Docket NumberNo. 1D15–0330.

197 So.3d 1152

Robert E. BANKS, Petitioner,
v.
Julie L. JONES, Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections, Respondent.

No. 1D15–0330.

District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District.

July 12, 2016.


Michael Ufferman of Michael Ufferman Law Firm, P.A., Tallahassee, for Petitioner.

Kenneth S. Steely, General Counsel, Department of Corrections, Tallahassee; Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Susan A. Maher, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Lance Eric Neff, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Sean W. Gellis and Daniel A. Johnson, Assistant Attorneys General, Tallahassee, for Respondent.

197 So.3d 1155

EN BANC

B.L. THOMAS, J.

Petitioner is a state prisoner assigned to Close Management residential status for spitting in the face of a psychiatrist attempting to interview him. The Department form reporting the incident stated that Petitioner repeatedly cursed the doctor and staff, and when ordered to leave the doctor's office, Petitioner then stood up and spat in the doctor's face, requiring Department security staff to escort Petitioner out of the office and place him in confinement pending resolution of the incident. Based on the incident, a disciplinary report was filed against Petitioner, and a referral for Close Management assignment was issued. Close Management is a prison classification imposing more restrictive conditions promulgated to ensure institutional order and safety in Department of Corrections' facilities. Petitioner challenged his assignment to Close Management by filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus.

Claims filed by state prisoners challenging Close Management classification do not assert that the inmate is entitled to release from incarceration but only assert a right to remain in the prison's general population; therefore, such claims do not implicate a constitutionally-protected liberty interest. Because our prior decisions holding to the contrary relied on an analytical foundation built on Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 103 S.Ct. 864, 74 L.Ed.2d 675 (1983), rejected more than 20 years ago by the United States Supreme Court in Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 115 S.Ct. 2293, 132 L.Ed.2d 418 (1995), and because habeas corpus review of such claims does not accord the proper deference due the Executive Branch, which must carry out the daunting and dangerous task of ensuring the safety of state prisons, we recede from prior decisions of this court which hold that challenges to Close Management housing assignments may be asserted by petition for writ of habeas corpus. See Magwood v. Tucker, 98 So.3d 725 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012) (holding that prisoner's challenge to Close Management classification, based on disciplinary report which was challenged by petition for writ of mandamus in the Circuit Court for Leon County, must be considered by petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Circuit Court for Santa Rosa County in which prisoner was incarcerated); Kendrick v. McNeil, 6 So.3d 657 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009) (citing precedent dating back to 1987 holding that circuit court improperly treated claims challenging Close Management classification as arising in mandamus rather than habeas corpus, and ordering that liens placed on inmate's account be refunded, as no fee could be charged for filing petition for writ of habeas corpus, but otherwise denying certiorari relief); Thompson v. Dugger, 509 So.2d 391, 392 (Fla. 1st DCA 1987) (“Although an inmate has no constitutional due process right to notice and a hearing before his confinement status is changed, such right may be created by state law.”).

We now hold that a prisoner's claim that he has been improperly assigned to Close Management classification does not state a claim for relief by writ of habeas corpus under Article I, section 13 of the Florida Constitution or under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Thus, we hold that such a claim can only be considered by petition for writ of mandamus, asserting that the Department has not complied with its own Close Management procedures and filed in the Second Circuit Court in Leon County, as are other claims challenging disciplinary reports issued in state prisons. See generally

197 So.3d 1156

Holcomb v. Dep't of Corrections, 609 So.2d 751 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992) (holding that circuit court must first evaluate a prisoner's petition to determine sufficiency of allegations, and if insufficient, court may deny relief or dismiss insufficient claims; where petition alleges sufficient claims, court must issue order to show cause why requested relief should not be granted, and once issued, order to show cause “becomes in all respects the complaint,” and response must admit or deny factual allegations); see, e.g., State ex. rel. Haley v. Groose, 873 S.W.2d 221, 223 (Mo.1994) (treating petition for writ of habeas corpus challenging placement in protective custody for refusing to submit to DNA testing as petition for writ of mandamus, ordering prison to conduct review hearing, and noting that because prisoner's claim failed to allege cruel and unusual punishment, “habeas corpus is not available to attack the conditions of his confinement”). Further review of circuit court orders in cases involving challenges to Close Management assignment shall be by second-tier certiorari review in this court. Sheley v. Fla. Parole Comm'n, 720 So.2d 216 (Fla.1998) ; Plymel v. Moore, 770 So.2d 242 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000). In addition to our holding today, we also certify conflict with the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Holland v. State, 791 So.2d 1256 (Fla. 5th DCA 2001), which cites prior decisions of this court from which we now recede.

Background

Petitioner is serving a 30–year prison sentence for his conviction of robbery. While serving his prison sentence, he received a disciplinary report for the actions noted above. The Department of Corrections (the Department) found Petitioner guilty of Department rules, placed him in disciplinary confinement, and revoked 364 days of gain time. In addition, the Department issued a referral which reassigned Petitioner to Close Management I housing classification and removed him from the general population, based on committing an act “causing injury or an act which could have resulted in injury to another.” After Petitioner challenged the referral, asserting that the reassignment did not comply with Department rules, the Department conducted a multi-step review, first considering Petitioner's arguments at the institutional level and culminating in final review by the State Classification Officer in Department headquarters. Affirming the institutional staff's referral, the State Classification Officer upheld the decision which assigned Petitioner to Close Management I housing, based on Petitioner's act “which could have resulted in injury to another.”

In his petition for writ of habeas corpus filed in the Eighth Judicial Circuit, Petitioner essentially argued that he could not be assigned to Close Management I housing, citing Johnson v. State, 858 So.2d 1071 (Fla. 3d DCA 2003), which held that spitting in a law enforcement officer's face was not a forcible felony involving violence as defined under the Prison Releasee Reoffender Act. Petitioner never denied the underlying act of spitting in the victim's face. Petitioner cited authorities from the United States Supreme Court and this court, asserting that because he had a liberty interest in remaining in the general prison population, due process required the circuit court to overturn the Department's administrative action assigning him to Close Management I housing by issuing a writ of habeas corpus, ordering that Petitioner be “released” back into the general population of the prison.

The circuit court denied relief without requiring a responsive pleading from the Department, stating in its order:

... Petitioner has failed to demonstrate that he is entitled to due process protection in regard to the Department's
197 So.3d 1157
decision to place him ... in [Close Management]. Nothing in the record demonstrates that Petitioner has a protected liberty interest in remaining free from a [Close Management] custody classification. [The Department's] decision to place Petitioner in a particular confinement classification is a discretionary one that is necessary to maintain the order of the institution and the safety of the inmates and staff. The conditions of confinement in [Close Management] fall within the expected parameters of Petitioner's court-imposed prison sentence, and do not impose an “atypical or significant hardship” on Petitioner “in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.” See Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 483–86, 115 S.Ct. 2293, 132 L.Ed.2d 418 (1995).

Moreover, [Close Management] supervision is not the same as disciplinary confinement and is not imposed as a penalty for a disciplinary infraction. Close management is a tool utilized by corrections personnel to maintain security and order in the institution and to facilitate effective management of the institution. See F.A.C. 33–601.800(3)(a). Petitioner has failed to demonstrate that [the Department] abused its discretion in finding that his current [Close Management] classification status appropriately addressed potential security concerns stemming from his
...

To continue reading

Request your trial
5 practice notes
  • Banks v. Jones, No. SC16–1478
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • December 21, 2017
    ...Respondent QUINCE, J.This case is before the Court for review of the decision of the First District Court of Appeal in Banks v. Jones, 197 So.3d 1152 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016). The district court certified that its decision is in direct conflict with the decision of the Fifth District Court of Ap......
  • Hickmon v. Jones, No. 1D15–3742.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • August 9, 2016
    ...is entitled to a broader scope of review by the courts than provided for in this court's en banc 197 So.3d 633 opinion in Banks v. Jones, 197 So.3d 1152, 41 Fla. L. Weekly D1584, 2016 WL 3678287 (Fla. 1st DCA July 12, 2016). Being bound by Banks, I...
  • Coleman v. Jones, No. 1D15–4270.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • November 14, 2016
    ...Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Respondent.PER CURIAM.The petition for writ of certiorari is denied on the merits. See Banks v. Jones, 197 So.3d 1152 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016) (holding that habeas corpus is not available to challenge an inmate's assignment to close management). The petitioner ......
  • Padilla v. Jones, No. 1D16–0051.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • August 25, 2016
    ...Attorney General, and Holly N. Simcox, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.PER CURIAM.AFFIRMED. See Banks v. Jones, 197 So.3d 1152, 41 Fla. L. Weekly D1584, 2016 WL 3678287 (Fla. 1st DCA July 12, 2016).B.L. THOMAS and OSTERHAUS, JJ., concur; WOLF, J., concurs with opinion.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Banks v. Jones, No. SC16–1478
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • December 21, 2017
    ...Respondent QUINCE, J.This case is before the Court for review of the decision of the First District Court of Appeal in Banks v. Jones, 197 So.3d 1152 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016). The district court certified that its decision is in direct conflict with the decision of the Fifth District Court of Ap......
  • Hickmon v. Jones, No. 1D15–3742.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • August 9, 2016
    ...is entitled to a broader scope of review by the courts than provided for in this court's en banc 197 So.3d 633 opinion in Banks v. Jones, 197 So.3d 1152, 41 Fla. L. Weekly D1584, 2016 WL 3678287 (Fla. 1st DCA July 12, 2016). Being bound by Banks, I...
  • Coleman v. Jones, No. 1D15–4270.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • November 14, 2016
    ...Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Respondent.PER CURIAM.The petition for writ of certiorari is denied on the merits. See Banks v. Jones, 197 So.3d 1152 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016) (holding that habeas corpus is not available to challenge an inmate's assignment to close management). The petitioner ......
  • Padilla v. Jones, No. 1D16–0051.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • August 25, 2016
    ...Attorney General, and Holly N. Simcox, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.PER CURIAM.AFFIRMED. See Banks v. Jones, 197 So.3d 1152, 41 Fla. L. Weekly D1584, 2016 WL 3678287 (Fla. 1st DCA July 12, 2016).B.L. THOMAS and OSTERHAUS, JJ., concur; WOLF, J., concurs with opinion.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT