United States District Court, D. Minnesota
H., Freeborn (pro se Petitioner); and
Voss, Ann M. Bildtsen, and Gregory G. Booker, Assistant
United States Attorneys, (for Respondents Barr and Berg).
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
N. Leung United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court, United States Magistrate Judge
Tony N. Leung, on Petitioner Fekadu H.'s Petition for
Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (ECF No.
1). This action has been referred to the undersigned for a
Report and Recommendation to the Honorable David S. Doty,
United States District Judge for the District of Minnesota,
under 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 72.1. For the
reasons set forth below, this Court recommends that the
petition be denied as moot and this action be dismissed.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
is a native and citizen of Ethiopia. (ECF No. 7, p. 2).
Petitioner entered the United States as a lawful permanent
resident and recipient of a Diversity Immigrant visa in 2001.
(Id.). In 2018, following his arrest and conviction
for a criminal offense in New York, Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (“ICE”) detained and commenced
removal proceedings against him. (Id.).
January 2, 2019, an Immigration Judge ordered Petitioner
removed to Ethiopia. (ECF No. 7-1, p. 29). Petitioner
appealed. (ECF No. 7, p. 3). The Board of Immigration Appeals
dismissed the appeal on June 12, 2019. (Id.).
Approximately one week later, ICE requested travel documents
from the Ethiopian Embassy on Petitioner's behalf.
(Id., p. 4).
8, 2019, Petitioner filed this petition for a writ of habeas
corpus. (ECF No. 1). He alleges that “there is no
likelihood of removal in the reasonably foreseeable
future” and that his continued detention violates his
due process rights. (Id.). Respondents answered the
petition on August 21, 2019. (ECF No. 6).
was subsequently deported on September 10, 2019. (ECF No.
10). Respondents filed a supplemental response to the the
Petition on October 3, 2019. (ECF No. 9). Respondents argued
that Petitioner's deportation renders this matter moot
and requested that the petition be dismissed. (ECF No. 9).
United States Constitution limits the jurisdiction of the
federal courts to ongoing cases and controversies. Haden
v. Pelofsky, 212 F.3d 466, 469 (8th Cir. 2000);
see U.S. Const. art. III, § 2. The
case-or-controversy requirement exists at all stages of
federal judicial proceedings. Potter v. Norwest Mortg.,
Inc., 329 F.3d 608, 611 (8th Cir. 2003). 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
issues. 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, 212 F.3d at 469 (alteration in original)
(quoting Beck v. Mo. State High Sch. Activities
Ass'n, 18 F.3d 604, 605 (8th Cir. 1994)). Federal
courts lack jurisdiction to hear moot cases. Minn. Humane
Soc'y v. Clark, 184 F.3d 795, 797 (8th Cir. 1999).
Thus, when an action is moot because it no longer satisfies
the case-or-controversy requirement, “a federal court
must dismiss the action.” Potter, 329 F.3d at
611 (citing Minn. Humane Soc'y, 184 F.3d at
case, Petitioner seeks release from ICE custody. Petitioner
is no longer in ICE custody, however, because he has been
removed from the United States. There is no longer an
on-going controversy because Petitioner is no longer being
detained. As Petitioner has been removed and is no longer in
ICE custody, any order of release from the Court would be
ineffectual. Because the Court cannot grant Petitioner
effective relief, Petitioner's challenge to his continued
detention pending removal is moot. See, e.g., Ahmed v.
Sessions, No. 16-cv-2124 (DSD/HB), 2017 WL 3267738, at
*2 (D. Minn. July 11, 2017) (habeas petition was moot because
petitioner's removal from the United States left
“nothing for the [c]ourt to grant by way of habeas
relief” as petitioner was no longer in ICE custody),
adopting report and recommendation, 2017 WL 3268176
(D. Minn. July 31, 2017); Estrada-Heredia v. Holder,
No. 12-cv-1157 (SRN/SER), 2012 WL 4839113, at *2 (D. Minn.
Sept. 25, 2012) (habeas petition moot where petitioner was
already repatriated to Mexico), adopting report and
recommendation, 2012 WL 4839019 (D. Minn. Oct. 11,
2012); Mhanna v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec.
Citizenship & Immigration Servs., No. 10-cv-292
(JRT/LIB), 2010 WL 5141803, at *12 (D. Minn. Dec. 13, 2010)
(determining that petitioner's removal from the United
States rendered habeas claim relating to ICE detention moot).