Wal v. Holder et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge C Lynwood Smith, Jr on 1/31/2014. (AHI)
2014 Jan-31 PM 02:58
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
BUAY T. WAL,
ERIC HOLDER, JR. et al.,
Case No: 4:13-cv-01214-CLS-JHE
On June 28, 2013, Petitioner Buay T. Wal (“Wal”) filed a petition for a writ
of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Doc. 1. At the time he filed his
petition, Wal, a native of Ethiopia, was incarcerated at the Etowah County
Detention Center, in the custody of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (“ICE”). In his petition, Wal alleged that he was being illegally
detained by ICE pending his deportation to Ethiopia. On July 11, 2013, Wal was
from ICE custody pursuant to an arrest warrant.
Doc. 5, 5-1.
Respondents have filed a motion to dismiss the action as moot, since Wal is no
longer in ICE custody. Doc. 5. For the reasons stated below, Respondents’ motion
will be granted and the action be dismissed as moot.
Article III of the Constitution limits the jurisdiction of federal courts to the
consideration of “cases or controversies.” U.S. CONST. art. III, § 2. The doctrine
of mootness is derived from this limitation because “an action that is moot cannot
be characterized as an active case or controversy.” Adler v. Duval Cnty. Sch. Bd.,
112 F.3d 1475, 1477 (11th Cir. 1997). A case is moot and must be dismissed if the
court can no longer provide “meaningful relief.” Nyaga v. Ashcroft, 323 F.3d 906,
913 (11th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted). Wal’s release from ICE custody rendered
his petition moot.
The relief sought by Wal in his petition is to be released from ICE custody.
Because Wal is no longer in ICE custody, his petition has been rendered moot,
unless an exception to the mootness doctrine applies. There are two exceptions to
the mootness doctrine: (1) collateral consequences and (2) “capable of repetition
yet evading review.” Carafas v. LaVallee, 391 U.S. 234, 237, 88 S. Ct. 1556, 1559
(1968); Murphy v. Hunt, 455 U.S. 478, 482, 102 S. Ct. 1181, 1183-84 (1982).
Neither exception applies here. The collateral consequences exception does not
apply because there are no “disabilities or burdens which may flow” from the
custody that Wal challenges. See Carafas, 391 U.S. at 237, 88 S. Ct. at 1559. The
exception for events “capable of repetition, yet evading review” does not apply
here either. Petitioner has been released from custody, and the potential
circumstances of this case happening again are too speculative to create an actual
controversy sufficient to support a claim for relief. See Weinstein v. Bradford, 423
U.S. 147, 149, 96 S. Ct. 347, 348-49 (1975) (holding that the “capable of
repetition, yet evading review” exception 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.). Because there is no longer any relief that can
be granted to Wal, his petition is due to be dismissed as moot.
Based on the foregoing, the Respondents’ motion to dismiss, doc. 8, is
GRANTED. A separate order will be entered.
DONE this 31st day of January, 2014.
United States District Judge
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