Powell v. Hassell
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala on 3/20/2017. (KEK)
2017 Mar-20 AM 09:06
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
) Case Number: 4:16-cv-00894-MHH-JHE
On May 31, 2016, petitioner Rickey Powell filed a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 1). When he filed his petition,
Mr. Powell, a native of Jamaica, was incarcerated at the Etowah County Detention
Center, in the custody of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(“ICE”). In his petition, Mr. Powell alleged that he was being illegally detained by
ICE pending his deportation to Jamaica. On September 29, 2016, Powell was
deported from the United States. (Docs. 9 & 9-1). Respondent has filed a motion
to dismiss the action as moot because Mr. Powell no longer is in ICE custody.
(Doc. 9). For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant Respondent’s motion
and dismiss the action 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). Mr. Powell’s release from ICE custody
renders his petition moot.
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 (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 Mr. Powell challenged. See Carafas, 391 U.S. at 237. The exception
for events “capable of repetition, yet evading review” does not apply either. Mr.
Powell has been released from custody, and the potential for the circumstances of
this case to happen 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 relief that a court may grant to Powell, his petition is moot.
Based on the foregoing, the Court grants the Respondent’s motion to
dismiss. (Doc. 9). A separate order will be entered.
DONE and ORDERED this March 20, 2017.
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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