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Cook v. Ryan - 6/18/2020

Arizona Court of Appeals Division One holds that prison disciplinary proceeding comported with due process where prisoner had advanced written notice of disciplinary charges and had opportunity to present written witness statements.

A prisoner was charged with several disciplinary violations, and found guilty, resulting in a loss of earned release credits.  He received at least 24 hours written notice of each charge and had the opportunity to present witness statements.  The prisoner filed a special action in superior court, arguing he was denied due process.  The prisoner alleged one of the cases was dismissed, and that in some of the cases he was denied notice and/or the opportunity to call live witnesses.  The superior court accepted jurisdiction and entered a final judgment against the prisoner.  The prisoner appealed.

The Court of Appeals affirmed.  Under United States Supreme Court precedent, prisoner disciplinary proceedings comport with due process if the prisoner receives (1) advance written notice of the disciplinary charges; (2) an opportunity, when consistent with institutional safety and correctional goals, to call witnesses and present documentary evidence in his defense; and (3) a written statement by the factfinder of the evidence relied on and the reasons for the disciplinary action. The prisoner received written notice at least 24 hours in advance and had the opportunity to present witness statements.  While the prisoner was not given the opportunity to call live witnesses, due process does not require that.

Judge Cruz delivered the unanimous opinion of the court.  Presiding Judge Winthrop and Judge Gass joined.

Posted by: Emma J. Cone-Roddy

Posted On: 7/2/2020