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Name: In re Banks (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 463
Case #: C098247
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/27/2023
Summary

Trial court properly granted habeas relief to inmate because there was insufficient evidence to support disciplinary finding that he conspired with another person to have a controlled substance mailed to him in prison. Someone mailed Banks, an inmate in prison, two large manilla envelopes with a controlled substance (Suboxone) hidden inside. The envelopes were intercepted in the mailroom and a disciplinary hearing officer ultimately found Banks guilty of conspiring to introduce a controlled substance into prison for distribution or sale. Banks exhausted his administrative remedies and filed a habeas petition in the trial court. The trial court granted the petition, determining that the hearing officer’s finding was not supported by some evidence. CDCR appealed. Held: Affirmed. Applying the “some evidence” standard of review, the Court of Appeal concluded that the evidence did not demonstrate a conspiratorial agreement existed between Banks and the sender of the drugs. “[N]o evidence suggested inmate Banks knew about the concealed strips, solicited the envelopes, communicated with anyone about the envelopes, or had any conduct consistent with the illegal purpose of introducing the Suboxone into the prison. Nor was there any evidence about the sender or the sender’s relationship with inmate Banks such that it would be reasonable to infer an agreement between the two.”