United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
RICHARD J. SULLIVAN, District Judge.
Luis Hugo Escrogin ("Petitioner"), represented by counsel, brings this petition for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that he is being illegally detained under section 236 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the "INA"), 8 U.S.C. § 1226, and requesting an immediate bond hearing in accordance with section 236(a) of the INA. For the reasons set forth below, the petition is granted.
Petitioner emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States as a lawful permanent resident in 1997. (Pet. at 3.) Since his admission to the United States, Petitioner has been arrested on four occasions. (Ret. at 2.) Relevant to the Petition, Petitioner was arrested on August 29, 2006 and, on October 21, 2008, ultimately pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree in violation of N.Y. Penal Law § 220.09 (the "2008 Conviction") (Ret. at 2; Ret. Ex. 3), for which he received a sentence of five years' probation (Ret. at 2). While on probation, Petitioner was arrested on November 28, 2009 for another narcotics offense. (Ret. at 2.) Thereafter, on June 30, 2011, Petitioner pleaded guilty to criminal possession of crack cocaine in the fourth degree in violation of N.Y. Penal Law§ 220.09, for which he again received a sentence of five years' probation (the "2011 Conviction"). (Ret. at 2; Ret. Ex. 4.)
On April 9, 2014, Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") personnel arrested Petitioner and detained him at the Hudson County Jail in Kearny, New Jersey. (Pet. at 2; Ret. at 2-3.)ICE subsequently commenced removal proceedings against Petitioner in the Varick Street Immigration Court in New York, charging that Petitioner is subject to removal based on the 2008 Conviction pursuant to INA section 237(a)(2)(B)(i), 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i). (Pet. at 7; Ret. at 3.) ICE also determined that Petitioner's "removal charges rendered him subject to mandatory detention under INA § 236(c)." (Ret. at 3.) Petitioner challenged that determination, and, on June 5, 2014, an Immigration Judge denied Petitioner's request for a change in custody status. (Ret. at 3; Ret. Ex. 7.)
B. Procedural History
Petitioner commenced this action on April 22, 2014, when he "was physically located within the Southern District of New York" at the Varick Street Detention Center in Manhattan. (Pet. at 6; Ret. at 3.) The Petition seeks, inter alia, the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus and an order compelling "an Immigration Judge [to] conduct an individualized hearing at which the Respondents bear the burden of establishing that Mr. Escrogin's continued detention is justified." (Pet. at 3.) Respondents contend that Petitioner is subject to the mandatory detention provision of the INA - and, therefore, not entitled to an individualized bond hearing - based on his pre-arrest detention and subsequent convictions for narcotics offenses. ( See Opp'n at 2.) After receiving full briefing from the parties (Doc. Nos. 5-8) and considering Petitioner's supplemental submissions (Doc. Nos. 9, 11), the Court heard oral argument on October 15, 2014.
The Court has jurisdiction to entertain the Petition, which challenges the statutory framework that Respondents have relied upon to detain Petitioner without an individualized bond hearing. See Gomez v. Napolitano, No. 11-cv-1350 (JSR), 2011 WL 2224768, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. May 31, 2011) (citing Demore v. Kim, 538 U.S. 510, 516-17 (2003)); see also Demore, 538 U.S. at 516-17 ("Section 1226(e) contains no explicit provision barring habeas review, and we think that its clear text does not bar respondent's constitutional challenge to the legislation authorizing his detention without bail."). Although Petitioner is presently being detained in New Jersey, jurisdiction is proper in this Court because the Petition was filed while Petitioner was present in the Southern District of New York in connection with his immigration proceedings. See, e.g., Guillaume v. Muller, No. 11-cv-8819 (TPG), 2012 WL 383939, at *1 n.l (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 7, 2012) (citing Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 441 (2004)); Mendoza v. Muller, No. 11-cv-7857 (RJS), 2012 WL 252188, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 25, 2012).
The issues before the Court involve the interpretation of section 236(c) of the INA, which reads in its entirety:
(c) Detention of criminal aliens
The Attorney General shall take into custody ...