United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Carlos A. G. G., Petitioner,
Mathew Whitaker et al., Respondents.
Wilhelmina M. Wright United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the June 17, 2019 Report and
Recommendation (R&R) of United States Magistrate Judge
Leo I. Brisbois. (Dkt. 9.) The R&R recommends granting
Petitioner Carlos A. G. G.'s petition for a writ of
habeas corpus and granting Petitioner's immediate release
from detention. Respondents filed timely objections. For the
reasons addressed below, the Court rejects the R&R,
denies the habeas petition as moot, and dismisses this case
a native and citizen of Honduras, was taken into ICE custody
pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1226, which provides for
mandatory detention of any alien deportable by reason of
having committed certain criminal offenses. Petitioner was
convicted in Iowa state court of delivering a controlled
substance. On April 19, 2018, an immigration judge found that
Petitioner's Iowa conviction was not a controlled
substance offense for the purpose of the Immigration and
Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.,
and therefore Petitioner was not removable. The United States
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) subsequently appealed
the immigration judge's decision to the Board of
Immigration Appeals (BIA). Petitioner filed the instant
habeas petition while DHS's appeal was pending.
the R&R issued, the record did not establish whether or
how the BIA ruled on DHS's appeal. But in a supplemental
declaration submitted with Respondents' objections to the
R&R, ICE deportation officer Andrew Perez declares that
the BIA dismissed DHS's appeal on May 10, 2019, and
Petitioner was released from ICE custody on May 16, 2019. The
BIA's decision is included as an exhibit to Perez's
object to the R&R solely on the ground that, as
Petitioner has been released from ICE custody, his habeas
petition is now moot. A district court reviews de novo those
portions of the R&R to which specific objections are
made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). In doing so, the
district court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole
or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate judge.” Id.; accord Fed.
R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3); LR 72.2(b)(3).
federal court's authority is limited to deciding the case
or controversy before it. Lewis v. Cont'l Bank
Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 477-78 (1990). A court cannot grant
relief when an event occurs while a case is pending that
would prevent the requested relief from addressing the
allegations. Church of Scientology of Cal. v. United
States, 506 U.S. 9, 12 (1992). A habeas petitioner's
release from custody moots the habeas petition when a court
can no longer grant effective relief. See Ali v.
Cangemi, 419 F.3d 722, 724 (8th Cir. 2005).
mootness doctrine is subject to certain exceptions, however.
See Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7-8 (1998). Under
these exceptions, the Court will not deny the habeas petition
as moot if (1) any secondary or “collateral”
injury survives; (2) Petitioner's injury is caused by a
wrong capable of repetition yet evading review; (3)
Respondents have ceased but are free to resume their
allegedly illegal practice at any time; or (4) the case is a
properly certified class action. Riley v. INS, 310
F.3d 1253, 1257 (10th Cir. 2002) (quoting Chong v. Dist.
Dir., INS, 264 F.3d 378, 384 (3d Cir. 2001)). Based on
the record before the Court, none of these exceptions
applies. Petitioner challenges only the lawfulness of his
detention. Because his detention has ended, no secondary or
collateral injury survives. Petitioner's allegedly
unlawful detention is not capable of repetition nor are
Respondents free to resume the alleged illegal activity by
taking Petitioner into ICE custody again under these facts
and circumstances because the BIA has affirmed that
Petitioner is not removable. Finally, this case is not a
class action. For these reasons, the Court concludes that
Petitioner's habeas petition is moot and rejects the
R&R on that basis.
on the R&R, the foregoing analysis and all the files,
records and proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY
1. The June 17, 2019 R&R, (Dkt. 9), is
2. Petitioner Carlos A. G. G.'s petition for a writ of
habeas corpus, (Dkt. 1), is DENIE ...