Prisoners Must Resort to Habeas First before Settling Relief under the Privacy Act when Attacking a Prison Disciplinary Conviction that Involves the Loss of Good Time
Frank Skinner was convicted through a prison disciplinary process of possessing cocaine. Skinner lost 40 days of good time, among other sanctions. All along, Skinner insisted that the white powder substance guards had found was laundry detergent. After filing a Freedom of Information Act request, Skinner obtained a document from the BOP that indicated the powder was “actually laundry detergent.”
Skinner sued the United States, asserting violations of the Privacy Act. Skinner alleged, for instance, that the BOP had failed to maintain its records accurately, and that as a result, he was wrongly convicted of possessing cocaine.
The D.C. Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of relief, holding that Skinner had to first obtain relief through habeas corpus from his disciplinary conviction before suing under the Privacy Act. “[I]f Skinner were to win damages…he would necessarily have demonstrated the invalidity” of his disciplinary conviction, the court wrote.
See: Skinner v. United States Department of Justice, No. 05-5284 (D.C. Cir. 2009).
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Skinner v. United States Department of Justice
|Cite||No. 05-5284 (D.C. Cir. 2009)|