Friday, December 3, 2010

Government's violation of state law provides no federal habeas relief

Boger v. Young, No. 7:10cv175, 2010 WL 4861616 (W.D. Va. Nov. 23, 2010):

A state inmate challenging his conviction as a violation of state law is not entitled to federal habeas relief.  This extends to petitioners who challenge not only their original conviction or incarceration, but also revocation of good-time credits.

In this case, Boger challenged the Virginia Department of Corrections's administrative policy that requires inmates to pay $12 to cover the cost of obtaining their birth certificates as a part of reentry planning and preparation.  According to Boger's interpretation of Virginia law, the VDOC is responsible for paying all fees that are necessary to obtain the required documents.  He refused to pay the fee even in the face of losing good-time credit and having his good-time classification level unfavorably increased.  Boger was charged with refusal to participate in reentry planning or preparation and was found guilty following a hearing, which resulted in a less advantageous good-time classification level and the loss of 90 days of accumulated good-time credit.

Boger's federal habeas claim was nothing more than a claim that the revocation of his good-time credit and the increase of his good-time classification level was in violation of Virginia law.  Accordingly, his petition was dismissed.

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