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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Bruce Wayne Houser seeks a certificate of appealability. His habeas corpus petition was dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The district court’s ruling was based on the court’s determination that Houser did not first file a “Step 1″ grievance in a timely manner, and that he had failed to file a “Step 2″ grievance altogether. In his petition, Houser complained of good-time credit revocations. HOLDING:Denied. The court rules that the district court was wrong in its procedural determinations, as the “Step 1″ grievance was timely, and the “Step 2″ grievance had been initiated. “The district court’s determination of failure to exhaust is at best suspect,” the court finds. Therefore, the court rules that Houser proved that reasonable jurists could debate whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling. Nonetheless, a COA should not be issued because Houser did not prove that reasonable jurists could find it debatable that his petition states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right. Where an appellate court disagrees with a district court’s dismissal of a habeas petition on procedural grounds, it may look at the merits, the court finds, and announces an approach for analysis in such situations. “Assume that petitioner has stated a”debatable’ issue concerning the correctness of the district court’s procedural denial of habeas relief. Then, if the district court pleadings, the record, and the COA application demonstrate that reasonable jurists could debate whether the petitioner has made a valid claim of a constitutional deprivation, a COA will issue. If those same materials make it clear that reasonable jurists could not debate whether the petitioner has made a valid claim of a constitutional deprivation, the COA will be denied. . . . If those materials are unclear or incomplete, then COA should be granted, and the appellate panel, if it decides the procedural issue favorably to the petitioner, may have to remand the case for further proceedings.” Houser received 24 hours advance notice of his hearing to revoke his good-time credits. His only due process claim would be whether he had the opportunity to call witnesses and present documentary evidence. Houser did not offer any documentary evidence at the hearing. He also failed to offer the names of the witnesses he proposed to call at the hearing. Even if he had done so, prison officials were not required to permit the testimony or offer reasons for prohibiting the testimony. Though Houser now identifies the other prisoners whose affidavits he claims he wanted to introduce, he never presented those affidavits to the prison officials at the hearing. His lone constitutional claim, therefore, is that his witnesses were not permitted to testify. No reasonable jurist could find debatable the absence of a constitutional claim on these facts. OPINION:Edith H. Jones, J.; Jones, Barksdale and Prado, JJ.

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