Chinzewe v. United States Attorney General
MEMORANDUM OPINION Signed by Chief Judge Karon O Bowdre on 3/6/18. (SAC )
2018 Mar-06 AM 10:34
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL,
Case No.: 4:17-cv-02081-KOB-JHE
On December 13, 2017, Petitioner Kasalwe Chinzewe (“Chinzewe”) 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,
Chinzewe, a native of Zambia, was incarcerated at the Etowah County Detention Center, in the
custody of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). In his petition,
Chinzewe alleged that he was being illegally detained by ICE pending his deportation to Zambia.
On February 21, 2018, Chinzewe was deported from the United States. (Doc. 8, 8-1).
Respondents have filed a motion to dismiss the action as moot, because Chinzewe is no longer in
ICE custody. (Doc. 8). 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). Chinzewe’s release from ICE
custody has rendered his petition moot.
The relief sought by Chinzewe in his petition is to be released from ICE custody.
Because Chinzewe 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 Chinzewe 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 Chinzewe,
his petition is due to be dismissed as moot.
Based on the foregoing, the Respondents’ motion to dismiss, (doc. 8), is due to be
The court will enter a separate Final Order.
DONE and ORDERED this 6th day of March, 2018.
KARON OWEN BOWDRE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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