Nettles v. Grounds, No. 12-16935 [May 28, 2015]
“Applying Skinner v. Switzer, we conclude that a claim challenging prison disciplinary proceedings is cognizable in habeas only if it will ‘necessarily spell speedier release’ from custody, meaning that the relief sought will terminate custody, accelerate the future date of release from custody, or reduced the level of custody.” [Overruling prior Ninth Circuit case law] In this case, both petitioners challenged disciplinary violations, which the district court dismissed as concerning conditions of confinement and not duration. In Nettles' case, the court found his restoration of lost good-time credits would not necessarily affect the duration of his sentence and dismissed his petition. The court found that in Santos’s case, because if successful his claim would result in an immediate release from the SHU, but not from prison, it would result in a quantum change in his custody level, therefore, properly raised in a habeas petition.
UPDATED: On January 20, 2016 the Court ordered that this case be reheard en banc.