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Parish v. Marques

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

September 13, 2019

Philip Luther Parish, Petitioner,
R. Marques, Warden, Respondent.

          Philip Luther Parish, Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program, (pro se Petitioner); [1] and

          Ana H. Voss, Ann M. Bildtsen, and Chad A. Blumenfield, Assistant United States Attorneys, (for Respondent).


          Tony N. Leung United States Magistrate Judge


         This matter is before the Court on pro se Petitioner Philip Luther Parish's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (“Petition”) (ECF No. 1). The Petition has been referred to the undersigned for a report and recommendation to the district court, the Honorable Nancy E. Brasel, District Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, under 28 U.S.C. § 636 and D. Minn. LR 72.1.

         Based upon the record, memoranda, and proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that the Petition be DISMISSED AS MOOT.


         Petitioner is serving an 18-month sentence following a supervised-release violation in connection with his conviction for attempted manufacture of less than 50 grams of methamphetamine. See 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C), 846. (Decl. of Lance Molis ¶ 4, ECF No. 9; Ex. A at 2 to Molis Decl., ECF No. 9-1.) Petitioner has a projected release date of September 25, 2019, via good conduct time.[2] (Second Decl. of Shannon Boldt ¶ 6, ECF No. 13; Ex. A at 1 to Second Boldt Decl., ECF No. 13-1.) At the time the Petition was filed, Petitioner was confined at FCI Sandstone.

         Under the Second Chance Act of 2007, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) “shall, to the extent practicable, ensure that a prisoner serving a term of imprisonment” serve up to the last 12 months of his sentence “under conditions that will afford that prisoner a reasonable opportunity to adjust to and prepare for the reentry of that prisoner into the community.” 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(1); see Miller v. Whitehead, 527 F.3d 752, 756 (8th Cir. 2008). Appropriate conditions may include a community correctional facility or home confinement. 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(1), (2).

         Petitioner was reviewed for pre-release placement in a residential reentry center (“RRC”) in or around October 2018, and it was ultimately recommended that he be placed into an RRC on August, 8, 2019, a total of roughly 60 days. (Molis Decl. ¶¶ 12-13; see generally Ex. B to Molis Decl., ECF No. 9-2.) In considering the amount of time to recommend for Petitioner's pre-release placement, it was noted that Petitioner “was participating in educational programs, . . . making financial responsibility payments, and . . . participating in the release preparation program.” (Molis Decl. ¶ 12; see Molis Ex. B at 3-5.) It was also noted that Petitioner intended to live with his girlfriend. (Molis Decl. ¶ 12; Molis Ex. B at 5.)

         In or around the end of February or early March 2019, Petitioner made the BOP aware that he was no longer able to reside with his girlfriend upon release. (Ex. C to Mem. in Supp., ECF No. 3 at 22; Molis Decl. ¶ 14.) Based on this change in Petitioner's release plans, it was recommended that Petitioner receive an additional 30 days of pre-release RRC placement. (Ex. E to Mem. in Supp., ECF No. 3 at 27; Molis Decl. ¶ 14.) Petitioner was added to a waiting list to have his placement date moved up. (Molis Decl. ¶ 14; see Mem. in Supp. at 2.)

         Petitioner filed the instant Petition, requesting that the Court order the BOP to reconsider the amount of his pre-release RRC placement because the BOP did not properly consider and apply the required factors. The Court ordered expedited briefing on this matter. (See generally Order, May 24, 2019, ECF No. 5.) On June 14, 2019, Respondent R. Marques filed a Response. (See generally Resp., ECF No. 7.) Any reply by Petitioner was due within 14 days of the Response, and none was received. (May 24 Order at 2.)

         According to the online federal inmate locator tool maintained by the BOP, it appeared that, at least as of July 8, 2019, Petitioner had been placed in an RRC managed by the RRM Detroit field office in Michigan. (Order at 3, July 17, 2019, ECF No. 11.) On July 17, 2019, the Court ordered supplemental briefing on the apparent change in circumstances and “what effect, if any, Petitioner's placement ha[d] on these proceedings.” (July 17 Order at 3.)

         Respondent filed a Supplemental Response on August 1, 2019. (See generally Suppl. Resp.) In the Supplemental Response, Respondent requested that this matter be dismissed as moot because Petitioner was transferred from FCI Sandstone to an RRC in Michigan on or about July 2, 2019. (Suppl. Resp. at 2; see Second Boldt Decl. ¶ 7; Ex. C at 1 to Second Boldt Decl., ECF No. 13-3.) Any reply by Petitioner was due by August 16, 2019, and none was received. (See July 17 Order at 3.)

         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).

         “The ‘case or controversy' requirement is not met if ‘the question sought to be adjudicated has been mooted by subsequent developments.'” Roberts v. Norris, 415 F.3d 816, 819 (8th Cir. 2005) (quoting Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 95 (1968)). “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 the Petition, Petitioner requests that the Court order the BOP to reconsider his pre-release RRC placement for earlier release. Petitioner has since, however, been transferred out of FCI Sandstone and placed in an RRC. “[Petitioner's] placement in an RRC . . . leaves nothing for the Court to grant by way of relief, even if it determined that [his] claims had merit.” Buckles v. Wilson, No. 14-cv-648, 2014 WL 5438495, at *4 (D. Minn. Oct. 22, 2014). Since Petitioner has received the relief sought, nothing in Petitioner's situation would change by granting the Petition. “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)).

         Nevertheless, Petitioner's pre-release RRC placement does not automatically render the Petition moot. Mootness also requires analysis of potentially applicable exceptions to the mootness doctrine. Sayonkon v. Beniecke, No. 12-cv-27 (MJD/JJK), 2012 WL 1621149, at *2 (D. Minn. Apr. 17, 2012) (citing Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998)), adopting report and recommendation, 2012 WL 1622545 (D. Minn. May 9, 2012); see, e.g., Jefferson v. Jett, No. 15-cv-3308 (PJS/BRT), 2016 WL 4196824, at *2 n.1 (D. Minn. July 1, 2016), adopting report and recommendation, 2016 WL 4186943 (D. Minn. Aug. 8, 2016); Buckles, 2014 WL 5438495, at *4-5. Under these exceptions, the Petition should not be dismissed as moot if: “(1) secondary or ‘collateral' injuries survive after resolution of the primary injury; (2) the issue is deemed a wrong capable of repetition yet evading review; (3) the defendant voluntarily ceases an allegedly illegal practice but is free to resume it at any time; or (4) it is a properly certified class action suit.” Sayonkon, 2012 WL 1621149, at *2 (quotation omitted). The Court afforded Petitioner a reasonable opportunity ...

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