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Robinson v. Ryan

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

December 26, 2013

FRANCISCO ROBINSON, Plaintiff/Appellant,
v.
CHARLES RYAN, as Director, Arizona Department of Corrections; Regina Dorsey; Anna Gonzales; David Summers; Karyn Klausner, Defendants/Appellees.

Not for Publication – Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. LC2012-000049-001 The Honorable Joseph C. Kreamer, Judge.

COUNSEL

Francisco Robinson, Buckeye Plaintiff/Appellant, in propria persona.

Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By Michael E. Gottfried Counsel for Defendants/Appellees.

Presiding Judge Peter B. Swann delivered the decision of the Court, in which Judge Patricia K. Norris and Judge Donn Kessler joined.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

SWANN, Judge.

¶1 Francisco Robinson, an inmate in the Arizona Department of Corrections ("DOC"), appeals from the superior court's denial of special action relief against Director Charles Ryan and certain DOC employees (collectively "Defendants"). For the following reasons, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2 On August 7, 2011, Corrections Officer Butler searched Robinson's cell at the Buckley Unit of the Lewis Prison Complex and found a small block of what appeared to be black-tar heroin. Officer Butler observed Robinson remove the substance from the back of his pants immediately before the search, and "found the drugs in a plastic bag among the property on the lower bunk belonging to inmate Robinson." Robinson maintained that the drugs did not belong to him and that the lower bunk was assigned to his cell mate. The search also revealed a cutting device made from a razor blade, a cigarette lighter, and a list of names with dollar amounts next to them. Sergeant Schwartz put the suspected contraband in an evidence bag, completed the chain of custody, and orally placed Robinson on report. Robinson received written notification of his drug-possession charge two days later.

¶3 Robinson appeared for his disciplinary hearing on August 23 and pled not guilty. After reviewing written reports and photographs of physical evidence, Disciplinary Hearing Officer ("DHO") Summers found it more probably true than not that Robinson had committed the charged disciplinary violation. Accordingly, Summers imposed the following penalties: (1) loss of 60 days of earned release credits; (2) placement in Parole Class III for 60 days; (3) loss of inmate privileges for 30 days; and (4) loss of visitation for 30 days. Testing conducted shortly after the hearing confirmed that the substance was in fact heroin, and this fact was noted on Robinson's Result of Disciplinary Hearing ("conviction form").

¶4 Robinson exhausted DOCs administrative appeals process to no avail and in turn petitioned the superior court for special action relief based on alleged due process violations in the disciplinary proceedings. Defendants moved to dismiss and Robinson responded with a motion to "reply to Defendant's answer and motion to dismiss and to request limited discovery." The superior court accepted special action jurisdiction but denied relief.

¶5 Robinson timely appeals.


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