Focia v. United States of America et al (INMATE 2)
ORDERED that Mr. Focia's 9 Objection is OVERRULED, the 8 Recommendation is ADOPTED, and Mr. Focia's petition is DISMISSED without prejudice. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 7/15/2015. (wcl, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
MICHAEL ALBERT FOCIA,
UNITED STATES OF
AMERICA, et al.,
CASE NO. 2:15-CV-258-WKW
On June 17, 2015, the Magistrate Judge filed a Recommendation (Doc. # 8),
in which he concluded that Petitioner Michael Albert Focia’s petition for habeas
relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 should be dismissed without prejudice to allow Mr.
Focia to pursue an appropriate challenge to his pretrial detention. Mr. Focia
responded with a Writ of Error (Doc. # 9),1 which this court construes as an
Objection to the Magistrate Judge’s Recommendation.
Upon an independent
review of the file and upon consideration of the Recommendation, it is ORDERED
that the Objection (Doc. # 9) is due to be OVERRULED and the Recommendation
The Recommendation provided that Mr. Focia was afforded until July 1, 2015, to file a
timely objection. Mr. Focia’s Objection (Doc. # 9) was docketed on July 13, 2015 – thirteen
days after the deadline provided in the Recommendation. Pursuant to the prison mailbox rule,
however, the Objection is deemed “filed at the time [Mr. Focia] delivered it to the prison
authorities for forwarding to the court clerk.” Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 267 (1988). It will
be assumed that Mr. Focia delivered his filing to the prison authorities on the date he prepared
is due to be ADOPTED to the extent that the Magistrate Judge recommended that
Mr. Focia’s 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition be DISMISSED without prejudice.
In the Recommendation, the Magistrate Judge reviewed Mr. Focia’s habeas
petition and determined that Mr. Focia was required under the Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts to pursue his pretrial
release through an appeal of his order of detention and not through a writ of habeas
corpus. Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge recommended that Mr. Focia’s petition
be dismissed without prejudice to allow him to pursue appropriate remedies. Mr.
Focia has objected to the Magistrate Judge’s Recommendation, arguing that the
court is without jurisdiction to “issue any orders that are contrary to the wish of the
Sovereign American People” and that, regardless, “exceptional circumstances”
exist in this case to make habeas relief appropriate. (Doc. # 9.) While Mr. Focia
cites vindictive prosecution as the basis for his claim of exceptional circumstances,
Mr. Focia has failed to provide any argument as to why the appropriate pretrial
procedures, such as the filing of an appeal, would not have provided a sufficient
means of challenging his pretrial detention.
Furthermore, since the filing of the Recommendation, a jury found Mr.
Focia guilty as to all four counts of his superseding indictment, and Mr. Focia is
now being detained pending sentencing. As a result of his conviction and current
incarceration, a case or controversy no longer exists as to his pending petition for
pretrial release. That is, Petitioner does not present a “live” issue regarding the
challenges made to his pretrial detention, and the court should dismiss his petition
without prejudice for lack of jurisdiction. See Fassler v. United States, 858 F.2d
1016, 1018 (5th Cir. 1988) (“Because [petitioner] is now legally in . . . custody, we
must hold that his request for release from pretrial confinement is moot.”); see also
Murphy v. Hunt, 455 U.S. 478, 481–82 (1982) (holding that a conviction moots a
claim regarding pretrial bail); United States v. Taylor, 814 F.2d 172, 174 (5th Cir.
1987) (determining that a defendant’s claim of illegal pretrial detention failed after
defendant pleaded guilty). Because Mr. Focia’s case is now moot and a dismissal
without prejudice serves to protect any subsequent habeas filings Mr. Focia may
wish to make, it is ORDERED that Mr. Focia’s Objection (Doc. # 9) is
OVERRULED, the Recommendation (Doc. # 8) is ADOPTED, and Mr. Focia’s
petition is DISMISSED without prejudice.
A separate final judgment will be entered.
DONE this 15th day of July, 2015.
/s/ W. Keith Watkins
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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