This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).







Daniel M. Hendrickson,






Daniel Ferrise, Warden,




Filed December 26, 2006

Klaphake, Judge


Washington County District Court

File No. C2-05-04



Daniel Mark Hendrickson, OID 110880, MCF-Oak Park Heights, 5329 Osgood Avenue North, Stillwater, MN  55082-1117 (pro se appellant)


Joan Fabian, Commissioner of Corrections, Brent D. Wartner, Associate Legal Counsel, 1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 200, St. Paul, MN  55108-5219 (for respondent)


            Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Ross, Judge, and Harten, Judge.*

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Appellant Daniel M. Hendrickson, an inmate at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater, challenges an order denying his petition for writ of habeas corpus.  He claims that the punishment he received for sending a letter to another inmate violated his due process and First Amendment rights.  He further claims that the prison hearing officer improperly applied a “some evidence” standard at his disciplinary hearing.  Because appellant failed to establish a prima facie constitutional violation and because the hearing officer did not erroneously apply a “some evidence” standard, we affirm.


            A writ of habeas corpus is a statutory remedy that allows an imprisoned person to petition for “relief from imprisonment or restraint.”  Minn. Stat. § 589.01 (2004).  “The scope of inquiry in habeas corpus proceedings is limited to constitutional issues, jurisdictional challenges, claims that confinement constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, and claims that confinement violates applicable statutes.”  Loyd v. Fabian, 682 N.W.2d 688, 690 (Minn. App. 2004), review denied (Minn. Oct. 19, 2004); see Kelsey v. State ex rel. Erickson, 349 N.W.2d 613, 613 (Minn. App. 1984) (“The question whether cruel and unusual punishment occurs may be litigated in habeas corpus proceedings.”).  In habeas corpus proceedings, the district court may decline to order an evidentiary hearing “unless facts are alleged which, if proved, would entitle a petitioner to the requested relief.”  Fratzke v. State, 450 N.W.2d 101, 102 (Minn. 1990); see Seifert v. Erickson, 420 N.W.2d 917, 920 (Minn. App. 1988) (“petitioner is entitled to an evidentiary hearing only if a factual dispute is shown by the petition”), review denied (Minn. May 18, 1988).

            The district court here dismissed appellant’s petition, concluding that it “has no arguable basis in law or fact, and it is clear from the pleadings and attachments that due process was followed.”  The letter, which appellant admits to sending, contains strong language and veiled threats, refers to prison staff in crude and abusive terms, encourages the inmate to whom the letter was addressed to assault two other inmates, and advises that appellant will also assault those inmates.  Appellant’s petition claims that the disciplinary hearing officer had no evidence from which to find that appellant violated prison regulations, that he was unconstitutionally punished for asserting his First Amendment rights as expressed in the letter, and that his placement in segregation and addition of 60 days to his sentence constituted cruel and unusual punishment.  Appellant also claims that the hearing officer improperly applied the “some evidence” standard in concluding that he had violated prison regulations. 

            Minnesota courts have dismissed habeas corpus petitions for failure to establish a prima facie case of cruel and unusual punishment on facts that were much more egregious than those presented here.  See, e.g., State ex. rel. Crosby v. Wood, 265 N.W.2d 638, 639 (Minn. 1978) (affirming summary denial of petitions for habeas corpus relief where petitioner claimed severe and unjustifiable beating by prison guards violated his Eighth Amendment rights; appellate court concluded beating was not part of course of mistreatment or likely to reoccur); Kelsey, 349 N.W.2d at 613-14 (affirming denial of evidentiary hearing on petitioner’s claim of Eighth Amendment violation based on generalized claims of unfair special treatment of prisoners and claims of failure to enforce rules against assault and disorderly prison conduct).  The disposition that the hearing officer imposed on appellant is significantly less severe than the punishments imposed in these habeas corpus cases, and appellant has offered no facts to show that he was denied due process before the disposition was imposed.  We agree with the district court that appellant failed to establish a prima facie case.   

            Further, appellant’s claim that the discipline he received for expressing himself in a letter violated his First Amendment rights is without merit.  The First Amendment does not protect speech that is intended to adversely affect the safety or security of another person.  See Dunham v. Roer, 708 N.W.2d 552, 567 (Minn. App. 2006) (rejecting First Amendment overbreadth challenge to state criminal harassment statute), review denied (Minn. Mar. 28, 2006).  The Commissioner of Corrections has broad statutory authority to “prescribe reasonable conditions and rules for [inmate’s] employment, conduct, instruction, and discipline.”  Minn. Stat. § 241.01, subd. 3a(b) (2004).  Appellant has not demonstrated a prima facie First Amendment claim.

            Finally, there is no evidence in the record to support appellant’s claim that the hearing officer improperly applied the “some evidence” standard in his disciplinary hearing.  See Carrillo v. Fabian, 701 N.W.2d 763, 777 (Minn. 2005) (holding that preponderance of the evidence standard is proper standard of proof to apply in prison disciplinary proceedings; the “some evidence” standard is proper standard of appellate review when examining administrative record).  The letter which formed the basis for appellant’s disciplinary proceedings provided direct evidence of appellant’s misconduct and met the preponderance of the evidence standard.


* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.