LEAHY v. HOLLINGSWORTH
OPINION. Signed by Judge Noel L. Hillman on 6/15/2016. (tf,n.m.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
VINCENT T. LEAHY,
Civ. No. 15-7592 (NLH)
Vincent T. Leahy, # 85275-054
Community Correctional Center
2534 Creston Ave.
Bronx, NY 10468
Petitioner Pro se
HILLMAN, District Judge
Petitioner Vincent T. Leahy, a prisoner formerly confined
at the Federal Correctional Institution (“FCI”) in Fort Dix, New
Jersey, filed this writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241,
seeking immediate placement in a Residential Reentry Center
(“RRC”). (ECF No. 1).
This case was previously administratively
terminated due to Petitioner’s failure to satisfy the filing fee
requirement. (ECF No. 3).
On or about November 16, 2015,
Petitioner paid the filing fee and the case was reopened for
review by a judicial officer.
In an Order dated December 21,
2015, the Court directed Respondent to file an Answer. (ECF No.
On February 4, 2016, Counsel for Respondent submitted a
letter indicating that Petitioner was scheduled to be
transferred to a Community Correction Center. (ECF No. 9).
Respondent submitted a printout from Petitioner’s “inmate
profile” from the Bureau of Prison’s (“BOP”) records to confirm
this transfer. (ECF No. 9-1).
The Court has also reviewed the
BOP website 1, which indicates that Petitioner was released on
March 18, 2016.
Respondent contends that the Petition is moot in light of
the fact that Petitioner has received the relief he sought in
The Court agrees; therefore, the Petition will be
dismissed as moot.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c), habeas jurisdiction “shall not
extend to a prisoner unless . . . [h]e is in custody in
violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United
States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3).
A federal court has subject
matter jurisdiction under § 2241(c)(3) if two requirements are
satisfied: (1) the petitioner is “in custody” and (2) the
custody is “in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties
of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3); Maleng v. Cook,
490 U.S. 488, 490, 109 S. Ct. 1923, 1925, 104 L. Ed. 2d 540
The federal habeas statute requires that the petitioner
be in custody “under the conviction or sentence under attack at
the time his petition is filed.” Lee v. Stickman, 357 F.3d 338,
342 (3d Cir. 2004) (citing Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7, 118
S. Ct. 978, 140 L. Ed. 2d 43 (1998)).
This Court has subject matter jurisdiction under § 2241 to
consider the instant Petition because Petitioner challenges the
execution of his sentence, he was in custody in New Jersey at
the time he filed the Petition, and he filed his petition in the
district of confinement and named the Warden as respondent. See
Burkey v. Marberry, 556 F.3d 142, 145 (3d Cir. 2009); Woodall v.
Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 432 F.3d 235, 242–44 (3d Cir. 2005).
The issue before the Court, therefore, is whether the BOP's
placement of Petitioner in a Community Correctional Center
caused the Petition to become moot because it no longer presents
a “case or controversy” under Article III, § 2, of the United
States Constitution. See Spencer, 523 U.S. at 7.
“To invoke the
jurisdiction of a federal court, a litigant must have suffered,
or be threatened with, an actual injury traceable to the
defendant and likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial
decision.” Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 477,
110 S. Ct. 1249, 108 L.Ed.2d 400 (1990).
When a habeas petitioner challenges his underlying
conviction, and he is released during the pendency of his habeas
petition, federal courts presume that “a wrongful criminal
conviction has continuing collateral consequences” sufficient to
satisfy the injury requirement. Spencer, 523 U.S. at 8; see also
Burkey, 556 F.3d at 148.
However, when a petitioner does not
attack his conviction, the injury requirement is not presumed.
Chong v. District Director, INS, 264 F.3d 378, 384 (3d Cir.
The Supreme Court has suggested “that one may establish
collateral consequences only when there is a likelihood that a
favorable decision would redress the injury or wrong.” Contant
v. Lindsay, 473 F. App'x 109, 110 (3d Cir. 2012) (citing Burkey,
556 F.3d at 148).
In the absence of continuing collateral
consequences, a federal district court does not have
jurisdiction to review moot habeas claims. North Carolina v.
Rice, 404 U.S. 244, 246, 92 S. Ct. 402, 30 L.Ed.2d 413 (1971)
(“mootness is a jurisdictional question”); Chong, 264 F.3d at
The record before the Court reveals that Petitioner was
released on March 18, 2016 to a Community Correction Center in
Bronx, New York.
Because Petitioner has received precisely the
relief sought in the Petition, see (Pet. 14, ECF No. 1), the
Petition is moot because Petitioner is no longer threatened with
“an actual injury traceable to the [BOP] and likely to be
redressed by a favorable judicial decision.” Spencer, 523 U.S.
at 7; see also Burkey, 556 F.3d at 148 (federal inmate's
challenge to BOP determination that he is not eligible for early
release became moot when inmate was released from prison because
“[t]he possibility that the sentencing court will use its
discretion to modify the length of Burkey's term of supervised
release . . . is so speculative that any decision on the merits
by the District Court would be merely advisory and not in
keeping with Article III's restriction of power”); Perez v.
Zickefoose, No. 10-0198, 2010 WL 4362300, at *1 (D.N.J. Oct. 28,
2010) (holding that petitioner’s release into a community
corrections center caused his habeas petition to become moot
because it no longer presents a “case or controversy” under
Article III, § 2, of the United States Constitution).
For the foregoing reasons, the Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, will be dismissed as
An appropriate Order will be entered.
___s/ Noel L. Hillman_____
NOEL L. HILLMAN
United States District Judge
Dated: June 15, 2016
Camden, New Jersey
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