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WILLIAMS v. IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE

United States District Court, S.D. New York


August 18, 2005.

ANTHONY T. WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE, Respondent.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: GABRIEL GORENSTEIN, Magistrate Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

Background

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 accordingly. Id.

  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.

  Discussion

  "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.

  Conclusion

  For the foregoing reasons, Williams' petition should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

 

PROCEDURE FOR FILING OBJECTIONS TO THIS REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
  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 (1985).

20050818

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