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Finch v. Peed

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division

July 29, 2015

ROBERT CURTIS FINCH, Petitioner,
v.
F. GATES PEED, Respondent.

ORDER

R. STAN BAKER, Magistrate Judge.

Pending before the Court is Petitioner Robert Curtis Finch's Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus. (Doc. 1.) As laid out below, it appears that this Court lacks jurisdiction over this action because Petitioner is not in custody. Accordingly, Petitioner is hereby ORDERED TO SHOW CAUSE within fourteen (14) days of the date of this Order why his Petition should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Moreover, because the Court cannot rule upon Petitioner's Motion for Production, (doc. 2), if it has no jurisdiction over this case, that Motion is hereby DISMISSED without prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Petitioner filed this action on July 21, 2015. (Doc. 1.) He seeks to challenge his "entire criminal history" and specifically references convictions for statutory rape, manufacturing marijuana, and making terroristic threats. ( Id. at p. 6.) Petitioner raises several arguments as to each of these convictions. ( Id. at pp. 8-9.) He also argues, as to all of his criminal history, that he "Wasn't Impeached Of The Fourteenth Amendment, Unprohibited Privilege Of Proceeding As Commanding Army General 1st*** And Commander In Chief For Ulysses S. Grant And, Therefore, All My Cases Were Handled Without Proper Process." ( Id. at p. 10.) Petitioner does not provide any details regarding his convictions such as the courts in which he was convicted or the dates of his convictions. In his Petition, he provided a residential address, e-mail address, and telephone number as his contact information. ( Id. at pp. 1, 12-13, 18.) Petitioner also filed a Motion for Production in which he asks that the Court order the production of records regarding his three convictions. (Doc. 2.)

DISCUSSION

A writ of habeas corpus functions to grant relief from unlawful custody. Therefore, the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over a habeas petition if the authority against whom relief is sought does not have custody of the petitioner. See Stacey v. Warden, Apalachee Corr. Inst., 854 F.2d 401, 402 (11th Cir. 1988); 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c). Relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 is available to a person who is "in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." The "in custody" requirement is a prerequisite to invoke the subject matter jurisdiction of the Court. Unger v. Moore, 258 F.3d 1260, 1263 (11th Cir. 2001). In Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S. 488, 491-92 (1989), the Supreme Court held that once a sentence has fully expired, the petitioner is not "in custody" for purposes of attacking that conviction in a habeas petition. "[O]nce the sentence imposed for a conviction has completely expired, the collateral consequences of that conviction are not themselves sufficient to render an individual in custody' for the purposes of a habeas attack upon it." Id. at 492. (citing Carafas v. LaVallee, 391 U.S. 234, 238 (1968)). "In the context of habeas proceedings, the in custody' requirement may also be met where a petitioner is on probation, parole or bail." Duvallon v. Florida, 691 F.2d 483, 485 (11th Cir. 1982).

Given that the "in custody" requirement is jurisdictional, this Court must assess whether Petitioner satisfies that requirement before proceeding further. Univ. of S. Alabama v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 410 (11th Cir. 1999) ("A necessary corollary to the concept that a federal court is powerless to act without jurisdiction is the equally unremarkable principle that a court should inquire into whether it has subject matter jurisdiction at the earliest possible stage in the proceedings. Indeed, it is well settled that a federal court is obligated to inquire into subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte whenever it may be lacking."). From Petitioner's pleadings, it is clear that he was not incarcerated at the time he filed his Petition on July 21, 2015. As noted above, he has provided a residential mailing address and telephone number. In his "Relief Request" Petitioner does not ask to be released from custody but instead requests that all of his criminal history be overturned. (Doc. 1, p. 11.) Accordingly, it appears that this Petition is due to be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. However, in an abundance of caution, the Court will provide Petitioner an opportunity to show cause as to why his case should not be dismissed.

CONCLUSION

For the reasons stated above, Petitioner is hereby ORDERED to, within fourteen (14) days of the date of this Order, demonstrate that he is in custody for purposes of habeas relief and to show cause why his Petition should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Should Petitioner fail to timely respond and show cause, his Petition will be dismissed. Further, the Court cannot rule upon Petitioner's Motion for Production, (doc. 2), if it has no jurisdiction over this case. Accordingly, that Motion is hereby DISMISSED without ...


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