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Ruddy v. Bocaud

December 14, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lawrence E. Kahn Senior, United States District Judge


I. Background

Petitioner pro se Aaron P. Ruddy commenced this action by filing a Petition for a writ of habeas corpus in this District on December 8, 2008. See Dkt. No. 1. This Court thereafter directed Ruddy to file an Amended Petition if he wished to proceed with this action. See Dkt. No. 3. On January 7, 2009 Ruddy filed such an amended pleading in accordance with this Court's directive. See Dkt. No. 4 ("Am. Pet.").

Therein, Ruddy claims that in July of 2005, he pleaded guilty in Saratoga County Court to the charge of third degree burglary and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of time-served, a five year period of probation, and a requirement that Ruddy comply with the terms imposed on him by the Saratoga County drug treatment court. See Am. Pet. at 9, ¶ 1. The sentencing court advised Ruddy at that time that if he failed to comply with the conditions of the plea, he would be re-sentenced to a prison term of two and one-third to seven years. See People v. Ruddy, 51 A.D.3d 1134 (3d Dept. 2008). Ruddy was thereafter charged with and admitted to twice violating the terms of the drug treatment court. Id. He was then sentenced by the trial court in May of 2006 to a term of two and one-third to seven years imprisonment. Id.; see also Am. Pet. at 9, ¶ 3.

On October 29, 2007, Ruddy was granted parole from that sentence; however in March, 2008, he was charged with violating one of the conditions of his parole. Am. Pet. at 9, ¶¶ 4-5; see also Respondent's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Petition (Dkt. No. 8) ("Resp. Mem.") at 4. On June 10, 2008, Ruddy pleaded guilty to violating the terms of his parole and, on June 13, 2008, Administrative Law Judge Bruce Van Dyk issued a Parole Revocation Decision Notice which resulted in Ruddy being returned to the custody of the Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS"). See Dkt. No. 9-5.

On May 8, 2008, the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department issued its decision on Ruddy's appeal of the County Court's May 2006 re-sentencing of Ruddy. In its decision, the Appellate Division invalidated the sentence imposed on Ruddy at the May 2006 hearing and remitted the matter back to the County Court. See Ruddy, 51 A.D.3d at 1134-36. On May 12, 2008, the Saratoga County Court re-sentenced Ruddy to an indeterminate term of 2 to 4 years imprisonment on his original burglary conviction. Am. Pet. at 9, ¶ 7; see also Ruddy v. Boucaud, No. 08-1237 (N.Y. S.Ct., Clinton Cty., Oct. 24, 2008) ("October 2008 Order") (Dkt. No. 9-9) at 2.

On August 15, 2008, Ruddy filed a petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus in Clinton County, New York in which he challenged the revocation of his parole and alleged that he was being held in the custody of the DOCS in violation of his constitutional rights. See Dkt. No. 9-6. That application was opposed by the Attorney General for the State of New York. See Dkt. No. 9-7. On October 24, 2008, Acting Supreme Court Justice S. Peter Feldstein concluded that the June, 2008 revocation of Ruddy's parole was proper and accordingly denied and dismissed Ruddy's habeas petition. See October 2008 Order at 4.*fn1

Ruddy filed a notice of appeal of that decision with the Third Department, and on March 31, 2009, that court afforded Ruddy until June 1, 2009 to perfect his appeal. See Dkt. No. 9-12. As of the date that the respondent filed his papers in opposition to Ruddy's amended petition, counsel appointed on Ruddy's behalf relative to such appeal had not yet perfected that appeal to the Appellate Division. See Resp. Mem. at 6.*fn2

Subsequent to the commencement of this action, a member of the court's staff ascertained that, according to the "Inmate Population Information" database provided by the DOCS on its website, the maximum expiration date of Ruddy's sentence is November 20, 2009.*fn3

II. Discussion

A. Mootness*fn4

Article III, Section 2 of the United States Constitution limits the subject matter of the federal courts to cases that present a "case or controversy." Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 6 (1998); Greif v. Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker LLP, 258 F. Supp. 2d 157, 160 (E.D.N.Y. 2003). "A case is moot when the issues presented are no longer live or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome." City of Erie v. Pap's A.M., 529 U.S. 277, 287 (2000) (internal quotations and citations omitted); Lavin v. United States, 299 F.3d 123, 128 (2d Cir. 2002).

Generally, a habeas petitioner's release from prison does not render that party's petition for habeas corpus moot because § 2254 requires only that the petitioner be "in custody" at the time the petition is filed. Wheel v. Robinson, 34 F.3d 60, 63 (2d Cir. 1994); Cadilla v. Johnson, 119 F. Supp. 2d 366, 371 n.2 (S.D.N.Y. 2000). The "case or controversy" requirement is also typically satisfied by the habeas petition which challenges the validity of the underlying state court conviction because the incarceration (or restrictions imposed on the individual by the terms of the parole) "constitutes a concrete injury, caused by the conviction and redressable by invalidation of the conviction." Spencer, 523 U.S. at 7.

In this action, however, Ruddy is not challenging the validity of the underlying burglary conviction. Rather, he contends that: i) he was not afforded proper credit to his sentence for time he served while on probation (see Am. Pet., Ground One); and ii) the finding that he violated the terms of his parole must be vacated because such determination related to the May 2006 sentence that was invalidated ...

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