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Martinez v. Hardin

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division

March 22, 2018

JOSE MENDEZ MARTINEZ, Petitioner,
v.
SHERIFF DAVID HARDIN, THOMAS D. HOMAN, JUAN ACOSTA, ORESTE CRUZ, and MARC MOORE, Respondents.

          OPINION AND ORDER[1]

          SHERI POLSTER CHAPPELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Petitioner Jose Mendez Martinez a native citizen of Cuba, filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1) on January 24, 2018. The Petition has not been served on the Respondent and no response has been filed.

         BACKGROUND

         Petitioner was born in Cuba on November 26, 1963. He immigrated to the United States on August 5, 1980 as part of the Mariel boat lift. He was paroled, obtained legal status, and took up residence in Miami, Florida. Petitioner was subsequently convicted of a crime and was ordered deported on February 20, 1986. However, United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) authorities were unable to obtain the necessary travel documents to deport Petitioner to Cuba.

         Petitioner was in custody of INS from 1984 until 1987 and again from 1998 until 2000. Petitioner was again sought for deportation by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2017 and self-reported on July 14, 2017.[2] From that date forward, Petitioner was detained at Glades County Detention Center until he was recently transferred to Krome Service Processing Center Field Office (Krome). To date ICE has been unable to deport Petitioner because the United States does not have a formal or informal repatriation agreement with Cuba. On March 21, 2018, the Court was informed by Krome that Petitioner was released from ICE custody on January 17, 2018.

         DISCUSSION

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that this action must be dismissed as moot. “[A] case is moot when the issues presented are no longer live or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome.” Al Najjar v. Ashcroft, 273 F.3d 1330, 1335-36 (11th Cir. 2001)(internal punctuation omitted). “If events that occur subsequent to the filing of a lawsuit or an appeal deprive the court of the ability to give the plaintiff or appellant meaningful relief, then the case is moot and must be dismissed.” Id. at 1336.

         However, dismissal after release is not automatic; a habeas petition continues to present a live controversy after the petitioner's release or deportation when there is some remaining “collateral consequence” that may be redressed by success on the petition. See Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7-8 (1998) (“Once the convict's sentence has expired, however, some concrete and continuing injury other than the now-ended incarceration or parole-some ‘collateral consequence' of the conviction-must exist if the suit is to be maintained.”); Lopez v. Gonzales, 549 U.S. 47, 52 n.2 (2006) (case not mooted by petitioner's deportation because the petitioner could still benefit by pursuing his application for cancellation of removal). This exception to the mootness doctrine applies when: (1) the challenged action is too short in duration to be fully litigated prior to its cessation or expiration; and (2) there is a reasonable expectation that the same complaining party would be subjected to the same action again. Weinstein v. Bradford, 423 U.S. 147, 149 (1975); Carafas v. LaVallee, 391 U.S. 234, 237 (1968); Murphy v. Hunt, 455 U.S. 478, 482 (1982).

         Here, Petitioner does not challenge the underlying deportation order from 1986. Instead he only seeks release from ICE custody. Therefore, when Petitioner was released from ICE custody, his claim was resolved. Because Petitioner was released from custody pending removal from the United States, the chances of his extended detention happening again are too speculative to create a controversy sufficient to support a claim for relief, and the exception to the mootness doctrine does not apply. See Ijaoba v. Holder, No. 4:12-cv-3792-JHH-RRA, 2013 WL 1490927, at *1 (N.D. Ala. 2013) (holding “[s]ince the petitioner has been released pending his deportation to Nigeria, the circumstances of this case happening again are too speculative to create an actual controversy sufficient to support a claim for relief.”).

         Since the Court can no longer give Petitioner any meaningful relief, his § 2241 Petition is moot and “dismissal is required because mootness is jurisdictional.” See Al Najjar, 273 F.3d at 1336, 1253; Riley v. I.N.S., 310 F.3d 1253 (10th Cir. 2002) (release from detention under an order of supervision moots a petitioner's challenge to the legality of his extended detention); Nunes v. Decker, 480 Fed.Appx. 173, 175 (3d Cir. 2012) (release of alien under order of supervision who challenged only his extended detention mooted § 2241 habeas petition because the alien “achieved the result he sought in his habeas petition”).

         Accordingly, it is now

         ORDERED:

         The Petitioner Jose Mendez Martinez Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1) is DISMISSED as moot. The Clerk of the Court is directed to enter judgment accordingly, terminate any pending motions, and close the file.

         DONE and ORDERED in Fort Myers, Florida this 22nd ...


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