Watson v. Hassel et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION Signed by Chief Judge Karon O Bowdre on 9/7/16. (SAC )
2016 Sep-07 AM 09:23
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
HERMAN DELROY WATSON,
SCOTT HASSEL, et al.,
Case No. 4:15-cv-01839-KOB-JHE
On October 20, 2015, Petitioner Herman Delroy Watson 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, Watson,
a native of Jamaica, was incarcerated at the Etowah County Detention Center, in the custody of
the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In his petition, Watson alleged that he
was being illegally detained by ICE pending his deportation to Jamaica. On August 25, 2016,
Watson was deported from the United States. (Doc. 16 & 16-1). Respondents have filed a
motion to dismiss the action as moot because Watson is no longer in ICE custody. (Doc. 16). For
the reasons stated below, Respondents’ motion will be granted and the action 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). Watson’s release from ICE
custody rendered his petition moot.
Watson seeks in his petition is to be released from ICE custody. Because Watson is no
longer in ICE custody, his petition is moot, unless an exception to the mootness doctrine applies.
Two exceptions to the mootness doctrine exist: (1) collateral consequences, and (2) “capable of
repetition yet evading review.” Carafas v. LaVallee, 391 U.S. 234, 237 (1968); Murphy v. Hunt,
455 U.S. 478, 482 (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 Watson challenges. See Carafas, 391 U.S. at
237. The exception for events “capable of repetition, yet evading review” does not apply here
either. Petitioner has been deported and is no longer in 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 (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 Watson, his petition is due to
be dismissed as moot.
Based on the foregoing, the court GRANTS the Respondents’ Motion to Dismiss. (Doc.
16). A separate order will be entered.
DONE this 7th day of September, 2016.
KARON OWEN BOWDRE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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