Vaughan v. Jones, Case No. 3:18cv141-LC/CAS

CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Florida
Writing for the CourtCHARLES A. STAMPELOS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
PartiesTROY C. VAUGHAN, Petitioner, v. JULIE L. JONES, Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections, Respondent.
Docket NumberCase No. 3:18cv141-LC/CAS
Decision Date20 September 2018

TROY C. VAUGHAN, Petitioner,
v.
JULIE L. JONES, Secretary,
Florida Department of Corrections, Respondent.

Case No. 3:18cv141-LC/CAS

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA PENSACOLA DIVISION

September 20, 2018


REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

On January 16, 2018, Petitioner Troy C. Vaughan, a state inmate proceeding pro se, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. ECF No. 1. On April 24, 2018, Respondent filed an answer, with attachments. ECF No. 6. On May 23, 2018, Petitioner filed a reply. ECF No. 20.

The matter was referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for report and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Northern District of Florida Local Rule 72.2(B). After careful consideration, the undersigned has determined no evidentiary hearing is required for the disposition of this matter. See Rule 8(a), R. Gov. § 2254 Cases. The pleadings and attachments before the Court show Petitioner is not entitled to federal habeas relief, and this § 2254 petition should be denied.

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Procedural Background

Petitioner Vaughan is an inmate housed in the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC), serving sentences imposed by the Broward County Circuit Court in case numbers 91-3245 and 91-5987, for offenses committed February 19, 1991, and February 18, 1991, respectively, as well as sentences imposed by the St. Lucie County Circuit Court in case number 91-352, for offenses committed February 13, 1991. ECF No. 6 at 3-4. On October 23, 2007, DOC released Vaughan on conditional release. Id. at 5; see ECF No. 6-1 at 5.

On March 28, 2008, the Florida Parole Commission (FPC) (now known as the Florida Commission on Offender Review (FCOR)) issued a Warrant for Retaking of the Conditional Releasee. ECF No. 6-2 at 1-2. The FPC determined Vaughan's conditional release should not be revoked and restored him to conditional release supervision by order on June 18, 2008. ECF No. 6-2 at 5.

On May 11, 2010, FCOR issued another Warrant for Retaking of the Conditional Releasee. ECF No. 6-2 at 20. Vaughan returned to DOC custody on May 20, 2010. Id.; see ECF No. 6 at 7. Vaughan's conditional release supervision was revoked effective April 5, 2010. ECF No. 6-2 at 21, 22. Based on the revocation and pursuant to section 944.28(1), Florida

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Statutes, DOC forfeited all the gain time Vaughan had earned prior to his conditional release. ECF No. 6-1 at 8.

On or about May 26, 2015, Vaughan filed an Inmate Request regarding the application of sections 944.28, 947.141, and 944.275, Florida Statutes, "to permit the forfeiture of a prisoner's grant of basic gain-time due to violations of conditional release." ECF No. 6-2 at 44. His complaint was denied as was his request for administrative remedy or appeal. See id. at 37-46.

Thereafter, on October 29, 2015, Vaughn filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Jackson County Circuit Court, challenging the forfeiture of his gain time. ECF No. 6-2 at 23-35. In an order dated August 16, 2016, the circuit court denied the petition on the merits. Id. at 67-72. Vaughan then filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the First District Court of Appeal (First DCA), assigned case number 1D16-4188. Id. at 73-93. The DOC filed a response. Id. at 94-111. On February 20, 2017, the First DCA denied the petition on the merits, without a written opinion. Id. at 112.

In his § 2241 petition, filed January 16, 2018, Petitioner Vaughan raises one ground: "The Florida Department of Corrections violated the Petitioner's right to due process guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by forfeiting his basic gain time, which

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does not meet the definition of being 'earned' as provided for in section 944.275, Florida Statutes, as being 'earned' gain time under sections 944.28 and 947.141, Florida Statutes." ECF No. 1 at 5. Respondent has filed an answer, with attachments. ECF No. 6. Vaughn has filed a reply. ECF No. 10.

Analysis

The Judiciary Act of 1789 granted federal courts the power to issue the writ of habeas corpus. See United States v. Hayman, 342 U.S. 205 (1952). The habeas remedy is now codified in 28 U.S.C. § 2241, subsection (c)(3) of which provides that the writ of habeas corpus shall not extend to a prisoner unless the prisoner is "in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." As noted in Hayman, prisoners must bring habeas corpus applications in the district of confinement. 342 U.S. at 213.

A state prisoner may seek federal habeas review of the loss of gain time. See, e.g., Smith v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., 432 F. App'x 843 (11th Cir. 2011). Although Petitioner Vaughan filed this habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, his petition is governed by both § 2241 and § 2254. See Medberry v. Crosby, 351 F.3d 1049, 1063 (11th Cir. 2003) (holding that both § 2241 and § 2254 apply to habeas corpus petitions filed under

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§ 2241 where petitioner "is in custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court" and a § 2241 petition is governed by the restrictions in 28 U.S.C. § 2254); Smith, 432 F. App'x at 844-45 (citing Medberry and involving § 2241 petition challenging disciplinary reports that resulted in loss of gain time).

Petitioner Vaughan is not entitled to federal habeas relief in this case. First, as Respondent points out, Vaughan's petition is untimely. See ECF No. 6 at 15-17. Second, even considering the petition as timely, under the deferential federal habeas review standard, habeas relief may not be granted with respect to a claim adjudicated on the merits in state court unless the adjudication of the claim:

(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or

(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); see Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 181-82 (2011). Petitioner Vaughan has not made this showing, as explained in detail below.

Untimely Petition

Under the AEDPA, there is a one-year limitations period for filing a

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federal habeas corpus petition. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). In particular, the statute provides:

A 1-year period of limitations shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The limitation period shall run from the latest of -

(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review;

(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such State action;

(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or

(D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.

Id. The limitations period is tolled for the time during which a "properly filed" application for relief is pending in state court. Id. § 2244(d)(2). The time may be equitably tolled, but "only if a petitioner establishes both extraordinary circumstances and due diligence." Diaz v. Sec'y for Dep't of Corr., 362 F.3d 698, 702 (11th Cir. 2004).

As Respondent indicates, Vaughn challenges the DOC's forfeiture of his "basic" gain-time upon revocation of his conditional release effective

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April 5, 2010. Thus, in this case, section 2244(d)(1)(D) appears applicable, with the factual predicate involving the date Vaughan knew or shown have known his gain-time would be forfeited following the revocation of his conditional release supervision. Vaughn alleges he did not know about the gain-time forfeiture until April 2015. Nevertheless, at all relevant times, the statute, section 944.28(1), Florida Statutes, provided for the forfeiture of all gain-time as a consequence of the revocation of conditional release. Accordingly, Vaughn's 2015 challenge to his 2010 gain-time forfeiture is untimely and this § 2241 petition may be dismissed on this basis.

No Relief Warranted on Merits

If the merits of the case are considered, the § 2241 petition should be denied. The state trial court denied Vaughan's petition for writ of habeas corpus. ECF No. 6-2 at 67-72. The court made detailed findings concerning gain time and Vaughan's incarceration history:

Gain-time is generally
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