United States District Court, S.D. New York
August 18, 2005.
ANTHONY T. WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE, Respondent.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: GABRIEL GORENSTEIN, Magistrate Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
On July 31, 2001, Anthony T. Williams executed a pro se
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
seeking his release from detention by the Immigration and
Naturalization Service ("INS"), now the Bureau of Immigration and
Customs Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security
("ICE"). The petition was received by the Pro Se Office on August
2, 2001, and filed with the Court on May 17, 2002.
At the time Williams executed his petition, he was detained at
an INS detention center located at 201 Varick Street, New York,
New York apparently pursuant to an order of removal. See
Habeas Corpus in pursuant [sic] to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, filed May
17, 2002 (Docket #1) ("Petition"), at 2, 10. By letter dated
October 26, 2001, Williams notified the court of his change of
address to Wicomico County Corrections located at 411 Haylor Mill
Road, Salisbury, Maryland. See Pro Se Memorandum re: Change of
Address, filed May 17, 2002 (Docket #2).
On March 16, 2005, Judge Daniels referred the petition to the
undersigned. After this Court directed respondent to answer the
petition, respondent asserted that the petition should be transferred to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second
Circuit under the Real ID Act of 2005, Pub.L. No. 109-13, § 106,
119 Stat. 231. See Order, filed June 3, 2005 (Docket #5), at 1.
This Court noted, however, that Williams did not appear to
challenge any order of removal, as required by that statute, but
instead challenged only his continued detention. Id. at 1, 6.
The Court therefore directed respondent to determine whether
Williams had been removed and to respond to the petition
By letter dated June 30, 2005, respondent informed the Court
that Williams had been removed to Nigeria on June 5, 2002. See
Letter from Assistant United States Attorney Michael James to
Judge Gorenstein, dated June 30, 2005. Respondent has informed
the Court that it has no contact information for Williams and
contends that his "habeas petition must be dismissed as moot
because Williams is no longer in ICE's custody." Id. at 1-2.
"A case is moot when the issues presented are no longer live or
the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome."
Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486, 496 (1969) (internal
quotations omitted). "When a case becomes moot, the federal
courts `lack? subject matter jurisdiction over the action.'"
Fox v. Bd. of Trustees of the State Univ. of N.Y., 42 F.3d 135,
140 (2d Cir. 1994) (quoting New York City Employees' Retirement
Sys. v. Dole Food Co., 969 F.2d 1430, 1433 (2d Cir. 1992)),
cert. denied, 515 U.S. 1169 (1995). The prohibition on the
review of moot cases arises from the requirement in Article III
of the United States Constitution that federal courts adjudicate
a "Case or Controversy." See U.S. Const. art. III, § 2;
DeFunis v. Odegaard, 416 U.S. 312, 316 (1974) (per curiam);
accord In re Kurtzman, 194 F.3d 54, 58 (2d Cir. 1999). For a
federal court to have subject matter jurisdiction over a case,
"it is not enough that a dispute was very much alive when suit was filed. . . . The
parties must continue to have a personal stake in the outcome of
the lawsuit." Knaust v. City of Kingston, 157 F.3d 86, 88 (2d
Cir. 1998) (quoting Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp.,
494 U.S. 472, 477-78 (1990)) (internal citation and quotations omitted),
cert. denied, 526 U.S. 1131 (1999). "As with other defects in
subject matter jurisdiction, mootness may be raised at any stage
of the litigation." Kurtzman, 194 F.3d at 58 (citing Fox,
42 F.3d at 140).
Here, Williams lacks any interest in the outcome of this suit
inasmuch as the relief he has requested release from detention
has already been afforded to him. His petition is therefore
moot. See, e.g., Sango v. Reno, 2001 WL 1223427, at *3
(S.D.N.Y. Oct. 15, 2001) ("Because [petitioner's] deportation
proceedings have become administratively final and he has been
deported, the claim on which [petitioner's § 2241 habeas]
petition is based, namely, that his detention without a bond
hearing pending the completion of his deportation proceedings was
illegal, is moot."). Because Williams' petition is moot, this
Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate it. See,
e.g., Fox, 42 F.3d at 140.
For the foregoing reasons, Williams' petition should be
dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
PROCEDURE FOR FILING OBJECTIONS TO THIS REPORT AND
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Rule 72(b) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, the parties have ten (10) days from
service of this Report and Recommendation to serve and file any
objections. See also Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(a), (e). Such
objections (and any responses to objections) shall be filed with the Clerk of the Court, with
copies sent to the Hon. George B. Daniels, 40 Centre Street, New
York, New York 10007, and to the undersigned at the same address.
Any request for an extension of time to file objections must be
directed to Judge Daniels. If a party fails to file timely
objections, that party will not be permitted to raise any
objections to this Report and Recommendation on appeal. See
Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140
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