Alvarez v. Holder et al
MEMORANDUM (Order to follow as separate docket entry) re 10 Notice filed by Thomas R. Decker, Eric H. Holder, Jr. and 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Sonia Alvarez. Signed by Honorable John E. Jones, III on 1/12/15. (pw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
SONIA LIZETH ALVAREZ,
ERIC HOLDER, et al.,
Hon. John E. Jones III
January 12, 2015
On September 12, 2014, Petitioner, Sonia Lizeth Alvarez, a native and
citizen of El Salvador, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241 challenging her continued detention by the United States
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) and seeking release from
confinement. (Doc. 1). At the time her petition was filed, Petitioner was detained
at the York County Prison, in York, Pennsylvania. (Id.).
On January 9, 2015, Respondents filed a suggestion of mootness stating that
Petitioner was released from custody on October 7, 2014, pursuant to an order of
supervision, and will be residing in Houston, Texas. (Doc. 10, p. 1; Doc. 10,
Attach. 1). Respondents argue that the habeas petition is therefore moot. (Doc.
10, pp. 1-2), citing Blanciak v. Allegheny Ludlum Corp., 77 F.3d 690, 698-99 (3d
Cir. 1996) (“If developments occur during the course of adjudication that
eliminate a plaintiff’s personal stake in the outcome of a suit or prevent a court
from being able to grant the requested relief, the case must be dismissed as
moot.”); Rose v. Hodges, 423 U.S. 19, 21 (1975); DeFoy v. McCullough, 393 F.3d
439, 441 (3d Cir. 2005). For the reasons set forth below, the habeas petition will
be dismissed as moot.
Article III of the Constitution dictates that a federal court may adjudicate
“only actual, ongoing cases or controversies.” Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp.,
494 U.S. 472, 477 (1990); Burkey v. Marberry, 556 F.3d 142, 147 (3d Cir. 2009).
“[A] petition for habeas corpus relief generally becomes moot when a prisoner is
released from custody before the court has addressed the merits of the petition.”
Green v. Decker, et al., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82974, *2 (M.D. Pa. 2013) (Kane,
J.) (quoting Lane v. Williams, 455 U.S. 624, 631 (1982)). Thus, when a petitioner,
who challenges only her ICE detention pending removal and not the validity of the
removal order itself, is released from custody, the petition becomes moot because
the petitioner has achieved the relief sought. See Tahic v. Holder, 2011 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 49782, *3-4 (M.D. Pa. 2011) (Nealon, J.); Nguijol v. Mukasey, 2008 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 95464, *1-2 (M.D. Pa. 2008) (Conner, J.) (dismissing the habeas
petition as moot); Buczek v. Werlinger, 513 Fed. Appx. 126 (3d Cir. 2013)
(dismissing appellant’s appeal of the District Court’s denial of his habeas petition
as moot because appellant was released from custody to serve his term of
In the present case, the habeas petition only challenges Petitioner’s
continued detention pending removal. See (Doc. 1). For relief, Petitioner requests
that this Court issue an Order directing Respondents “to [i]mmediately release
petitioner from custody.” (Doc. 1, p. 7). Because Petitioner has since been
released from custody pursuant to an order of supervision, the petition no longer
presents an existing case or controversy. See Novas v. ICE, 303 Fed. Appx. 115,
118 n. 3 (3d Cir. 2008) (release from ICE custody moots habeas petition solely
addressing the detention issue). Further, Petitioner has received the habeas relief
she sought, namely, to be released from ICE custody. See Sanchez v. Attorney
General, 146 Fed. Appx. 547, 549 (3d Cir. 2005) (holding that the habeas petition
challenging the petitioner’s continued detention by ICE was rendered moot once
the petitioner was released); Green, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82974 (concluding
that the petitioner’s removal to Jamaica rendered the habeas petition moot because
he received the only relief sought, his release on supervision from ICE custody);
Williams v. Sherman, 214 Fed. Appx. 264, 265 (3d Cir. 2007) (petitioner’s
challenge is mooted when he is granted supervised release). Accordingly, the
instant habeas corpus petition will be dismissed as moot.
A separate Order will be issued.
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