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Liban M. M. v. Secretary of Department of Homeland Security

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

April 11, 2019

Liban M. M., Petitioner,
Secretary of Department of Homeland Security; Attorney General William P. Barr[1]; Scott Banickie, ICE Field Office; and Kurt Frietag, Freeborn County Sheriff, Respondents.

          Liban M. M., (pro se Petitioner); [2] and

          Ana H. Voss, Ann M. Bildtsen, and Friedrich A. P. Siekert, Assistant United States Attorneys, United States Attorney's Office, (for Respondents Secretary of Department of Homeland Security, Attorney General William P. Bar, and Scott Banickie).




         This matter comes before the Court on Petitioner Liban M. M.'s Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (“Petition”). (Pet., ECF No. 1). This matter has been referred to the undersigned for a Report and Recommendation to the Honorable John R. Tunheim, Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and D. Minn. LR 72.1. For the reasons that follow, the Court recommends that the Petition be denied as moot and this action be dismissed.


         Petitioner is a native and citizen of Somalia. (ECF No. 1-1 at 22[3]). Petitioner was admitted to the United States as a refugee in 2013, and became a lawful permanent resident in 2016. (ECF Nos. 14-1 at 7; 17-1 at 13-14, 38). On March 27, 2017, Petitioner was convicted in South Dakota of attempted sexual contact with a person incapable of consent and sentenced to five years in prison. (ECF No. 14-1 at 4). On or about November 13, 2017, Petitioner was detained by the Department of Homeland Security. (ECF Nos. 1-1 at 22; 14-1 at 5). On April 20, 2018, Petitioner was ordered removed from the United States by an Immigration Judge. (ECF No. 1-1 at 1). On May 9, 2018, a South Dakota court simultaneously ordered that the judgment of conviction be vacated “based on procedural and substantive defects” and entered a new judgement of conviction. (ECF No. 1-1 at 14).

         In June 2018, Petitioner filed the instant Petition. Petitioner challenged his “prolonged detention, ” asserting that he “is being detained indefinitely in violation of his ‘Due Process Clause' 5th Amendment [rights].” (Pet. at 2, 7). Petitioner additionally asserted that “[h]is detention also violates the 8th Amendment” as “Cruel and Unusual Punishment” grounds. (Pet. at 7). Petitioner sought immediate release from custody because the criminal conviction upon which the order of removal was based had been vacated. (Pet. at 8; ECF No. 1-1 at 5-8, 14-15; Pet'r's Resp. at 1-3, ECF No. 16).

         On September 18, 2018, Petitioner was released pending resolution of his criminal case. (ECF No. 20-1 at 2). Respondents request that this matter be dismissed as moot in light of Petitioner's release. (See generally Resps.' Supp. Resp., ECF No. 19).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Mootness

         “Article III of the United States Constitution only allows federal courts to adjudicate actual, ongoing cases or controversies.” Potter v. Norwest Mortg., Inc., 329 F.3d 608, 611 (8th Cir. 2003); see U.S. CONST. art. III, § 2. The case-or-controversy requirement exists at all stages of federal judicial proceedings. Potter, 329 F.3d at 611. It is of no consequence that a claim was live at an earlier stage in the proceedings; a claim must be live when the court decides the issue. South Dakota v. Hazen, 914 F.2d 147, 150 (8th Cir. 1990). “When, during the course of litigation, the issues presented in a case ‘lose their life because of the passage of time or a change in circumstances . . . and a federal court can no longer grant effective relief,' the case is considered moot.” Haden v. Pelofsky, 212 F.3d 466, 469 (8th Cir. 2000) (alteration in original) (quoting Beck v. Mo. State High Sch. Activities Ass'n, 18 F.3d 604, 605 (8th Cir. 1994)). If there is no longer an active case or controversy, the action is moot and must be dismissed. Potter, 329 F.3d at 611; see Ali v. Cangemi, 419 F.3d 722, 724 (8th Cir. 2005) (“If an issue is moot in the Article III sense, we have no discretion and must dismiss the action for lack of jurisdiction.”).

         In his Petition, Petitioner seeks release from custody. Petitioner was released, however, on September 18, 2018. The Court can no longer order Petitioner's release because he has already been released. Since Petitioner was released from custody, nothing in his situation would change by granting the relief sought. “This is the very definition of mootness.” Kargbo v. Brott, No. 15-cv-2713 (PJS/LIB), 2016 WL 3676162, at *2 (D. Minn. July 6, 2016) (citing Already, LLC v. Nike, Inc., 133 S.Ct. 721, 726 (2013)).

         B. Application of the ...

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