Song v. Sessions et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION Signed by Chief Judge Karon O Bowdre on 6/23/17. (SAC )
2017 Jun-23 PM 01:56
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
SONG, CHANG JIN,
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL,
Case No.: 4:17-cv-00798-KOB-JHE
On May 15, 2017, Petitioner Chang Jin Song (“Song”) 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, Song, a native
of China, was incarcerated at the Etowah County Detention Center, in the custody of the Bureau
of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). In his petition, Song alleged that he was
being illegally detained by ICE pending his deportation to China. On June 6, 2017, Song was
released from ICE custody pursuant to an Order of Supervision. (Doc. 4, 4-1). Respondents have
filed a motion to dismiss the action as moot, because Song is no longer in ICE custody. (Doc. 4).
For the reasons stated below, Respondents’ motion will be granted and the action be dismissed as
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). Song’s release from ICE
custody rendered his petition moot.
The relief sought by Song in his petition is to be released from ICE custody. Because
Song 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 (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 Song 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 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 (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 Song, his petition is due to be dismissed as moot.
Based on the foregoing, the Respondents’ motion to dismiss, (doc. 4), is GRANTED. A
separate order will be entered.
DONE and ORDERED this 23rd day of June, 2017.
KARON OWEN BOWDRE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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