Cruzeta-Bueno v. Aviles et al
OPINION & ORDER: Accordingly, the Court grants Cruzeta-Bueno's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. If DHS wishes to continue detaining Cruzeta-Bueno during his removal proceedings, it shall provide him with a bond hearing, consistent with $ 1226(a), by May 15, 2015. The Clerk of Court is respectfully directed to terminate all pending motions, and to close this case. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 5/5/2015) (kl)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
? I zOIâ
15 Civ. 1640 (PAE)
OPINION & ORDER
OSCAR AVILES, et al.,
PAUL A. ENGELMAYER, District Judge:
On March 5,2015, Brine Cruzeta-Bueno, a native and citizen of the Dominican Republic
who has lived in the United States since 1997, petitioned this Court for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S,C . ç 2241, challenging his detention by the U,S. Department of Homeland
Security ("DHS"). Dkt.
I ("Petition").' In his Petition, Cruzeta-Bueno
explained that DHS was
detaining him under the asserted authority of 8 U.S.C , $ 1226(c), which provides for the
mandatory detention of certain aliens during removal proceedings. Cruzeta-Bueno argues that
$ 1226(c) does not apply to him
for an enumerated offense,
because he was not detained
"when . . . released" from custody
as the statute requires.
t This Court has jurisdiction over the Petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C . ç 2241, Although CtuzetaBueno is presently detained in New Jersey, Petition fl 1, venue is proper in New York because the
removal proceedings against him are pending in this District, and he filed the Petition while
temporarily detained at20l Varick Street in Manhattan, id. I6. See Young v. Aviles, No. 14 Civ'
9531 (JMF),2015WL1,402311, at *11n,2 (S.D.N.Y. Mar.26,2015) ("fJ]urisdiction andvenue
are proper, as Young was present in this District at the time that the petition was actually filed.");
Mendozav, Muller,No. 11 Civ,7857 (RJS), 2012WL252188, at *2 (S.D,N.Y. Jan. 25,2012)
("Although Petitioner is being held in New Jersey, jurisdiction is proper in this Court because he
filed the petition while detained in New York in connection with his immigration proceedings,").
Contrary to the Government's objection, Oscar Aviles-the warden of the New Jersey facility
where Cruzeta-Bueno is detained-is a proper respondent because he is Cruzeta-Bueno's
"immediate custodian." See Khemlal v. Shanahan, No. 14 Civ. 5186 (AJP),2014WL 5020596, at
*2 n.3 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 8, 2014) (citing, inter alia, Rumsfeld v. Padilla,542 U.S. 426, 435 (2004))'
On March 25,2015, Cruzeta-Bueno filed a memorandum of law in support of his
Petition. Dkt. 3 ("Pet. Br."). On April 2,2015, after the Government was served and appeared
in this action, the Court set a briefing schedule, Dkt. 6. That same day, however, the
Government submitted a letter in response to Cruzeta-Bueno's Petition. Dkt.7 ("Resp. Br.")'
On April 8, 2015, Cruzeta-Bueno submitted a letter reply. Dkt. 8 ("Pet. Reply").
In its letter, the Government, commendably, acknowledged that"Cruzeta-Bueno's
petition raises essentially the same legal arguments on similar facts" as two cases this Court has
decided previously: Straker v. Jones,986 F. Supp. 2d345 (S.D.N.Y. 2013), and Vigniero v. Tay-
Taylor,No, l4 Civ. 1571, Dkt, 13. Resp. Br., at 3. Instraker, the Court engaged in athorough
analysis of $ 1226(c) and concluded, inter alia, that DHS acquires the duty and authority to
subject an alien there defined to mandatory detention "when," as the statute says, "the alien is
released," Straker,986 F. Supp. 2d at352-56. The Court further concluded that an alien is
"released" within the meaning of the statute when he or she is discharged from "physical
restraint," such as imprisonment, that was imposed pursuant to a conviction for an enumerated
offense. Id. at356-63. Because the petitioner, Straker, had never been imprisoned or otherwise
subjected to physical restraint pursuant to a conviction, the mandatory detention statute,
$ 1226(c), did not apply to him, and DHS could only continue to detain him during his removal
proceedings under 8 U.S,C. g I226(a), which requires a bond hearing. Straker,986 F. Supp. 2d
at362-63. The Court, accordingly, granted Straker's petition for
writ of habeas corpus and
directed DHS to provide him with a bond hearing within 10 days, Id. at363. In Vigniero,the
Government similarly conceded that the facts before the Court were materially indistinguishable
reason to revisit its considered decision,"
from the facts in Straker. Because the Court found
it granted Vigniero's petition for
writ of habeas corpus. No. 14 Civ. 1571, Dkt. 13, at3,
Cruzeta-Bueno, like Straker and Vigniero, was never in physical custody following
conviction for a removable offense. Rather, for various violations of New York criminal law, he
has been sentenced to probation, license suspension, and a
14-16, 18,23. Accordingly,
fine. Petition fl 9; Pet. Br., Ex. A,
this Court explained in Straker, $ 1226(c) does not apply to
Cruzeta-Bueno, and DHS cannot detain him without a bond hearing. See Straker, 986 F. Supp'
2d at356-63, the reasoning of which is incorporated herein,2 Although the Government
expressed its disagreement with Straker's holding that termination of a non-custodial sentence
does not satisfy the 'orelease" requirement of the mandatory detention statute,
it stated that,
the Court is inclined to follow its prior decisions, the Government recognizes that in the interests
of conserving judicial and party resources, additional briefing may not be desired." Resp. Ft.4.
The Court thanks the Government for its candor and professionalism. The Government's
concession saves valuable time for the Court and the parties and, most importantly,
Cruzeta-Bueno to have his bond hearing sooner. The Court agrees with the Government that the
facts of this case are materially indistinguishable from the facts in Straker and Vigniero, and sees
no reason to reconsider its prior decisions. Indeed, although the Second Circuit has yet to
resolve this issue, see Lora v. Shanahan, No. 14-2343 (oral argument held in pending appeal on
April 20, 2015),the emerging consensus in this District, following Straker, is that $ 1226(c)
applies only to aliens who were incarcerated or otherwise subjected to physical restraint pursuant
to a conviction for an enumerated offense, see Esuogin v. Tay-Taylor, No. 14 Civ, 2856 (RJS),
V/L 509666,at*3-6 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 5, 2015); Figueroav. Aviles,No.
2015 WL 464168,at*2-3 (S.D.N.Y. Jan.29,2015);Martinez-Donev, McConnell,No. 14Civ.
Because the Court grants Cruzeta-Bueno's Petition on this ground,
arguments. See Pet. Br. 7-20, 24-26.
it does not reach his other
3071 (SAS),2014WL 5032438, at *4-5 (S.D.N.Y. Oct, 8,2014); Masihv. Aviles,No. 14 Civ.
0923 (JCF),2014WL2106497,at*2-4 (S.D.N.Y, May 20,2014);Lorav. Shanahan,15F'
Supp. 3d 478,491-93 (S.D.N.Y, 2014). These decisions provide further basis for the Court to
adhere to its holdings in Straker and Vigniero.
Accordingly, the Court grants Cruzeta-Bueno's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
DHS wishes to continue detaining Cruzeta-Bueno during his removal proceedings, it shall
provide him with a bond hearing, consistent with $ 1226(a), by May 15,2015. The Clerk of
Court is respectfully directed to terminate all pending motions, and to close this case.
Paul A. Engelmayer
United States District Judge
Dated: May 5,2015
New York, New York
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