United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Anthony Fields (“Fields”), who is currently
incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in
Jesup, Georgia, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 1.) Respondent filed
a Response. (Doc. 7.) For the reasons which follow, I
RECOMMEND that the Court DISMISS as
moot Fields' Petition, DIRECT
the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case, and
DENY Fields in forma pauperis
status on appeal.
was convicted in the Northern District of Texas of:
possession of a controlled substance with intent to
distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1);
carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug
trafficking offense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c);
and being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Fields was sentenced to 300
months' imprisonment. (Doc. 7-1, p. 2.) He has a
projected release date of August 20, 2026, via good conduct
time release. (Id. at p. 3.)
14, 2015, officials at the Federal Correctional Institution
in Fort Worth, Texas, charged Fields with aiding in the
assault of another inmate, in contravention of Bureau of
Prisons' (“BOP”) disciplinary rules. (Doc. 1,
p. 1; Doc. 7-2, p. 3.) Officials conducted a disciplinary
hearing against Fields on this charged offense on July 29,
2015. (Id.) As a result of this hearing, Fields was
sanctioned with disciplinary segregation for thirty (30)
days, loss of commissary, phone, visitation, and e-mail
privileges, and the disallowance of forty-one (41) days'
good conduct time credit. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-2.) Fields filed
this Petition on July 15, 2016, contesting the loss of his
good conduct time credit. (Id. at p. 5.)
asserts that Fields' Petition is now moot. (Doc. 7.)
Specifically, Respondent states Fields received a rehearing
on the incident report on August 25, 2016, and, as a result
of this rehearing, he was found not to have committed the
charged act. The incident report was expunged from
Fields' record, and the good conduct time credits that
were disallowed after the first hearing were reinstated and
credited to his time served. (Id. at p. 4.)
Whether Fields' Petition is Moot
III of the Constitution “extends the jurisdiction of
federal courts to only ‘Cases' and
‘Controversies.'” Strickland v.
Alexander, 772 F.3d 876, 882 (11th Cir. 2014). This
“case-or-controversy restriction imposes” what is
“generally referred to as ‘justiciability'
limitations.” Id. There are “three
strands of justiciability doctrine-standing, ripeness, and
mootness-that go to the heart of the Article III case or
controversy requirement.” Harrell v. The Fla.
Bar, 608 F.3d 1241, 1247 (11th Cir. 2010) (internal
quotation marks and alterations omitted). With regard to the
mootness strand, the United States Supreme Court has made
clear that “a federal court has no authority ‘to
give opinions upon moot questions or abstract propositions,
or to declare principles or rules of law which cannot affect
the matter in issue in the case before it.'”
Church of Scientology of Cal. v. United States, 506
U.S. 9, 12 (1992) (internal citation omitted). Accordingly,
“[a]n issue is moot when it no longer presents a live
controversy with respect to which the court can give
meaningful relief.” Friends of Everglades v. S.
Fla. Water Mgmt. Dist., 570 F.3d 1210, 1216 (11th Cir.
2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). Questions of
justiciability are not answered “simply by looking to
the state of affairs at the time the suit was filed. Rather,
the Supreme Court has made clear that the controversy
‘must be extant at all stages of review, not merely at
the time the complaint is filed.'” Christian
Coal. of Fla., Inc. v. United States, 662 F.3d 1182,
1189-90 (11th Cir. 2011) (quoting Preiser v.
Newkirk, 422 U.S. 395, 401 (1975)).
noted above, Respondent maintains that Fields had a rehearing
on the incident report, and the BOP expunged the incident
report from Fields' record and restored all lost and
forfeited good conduct time credit arising from the initial
incident report. (Doc. 7, p. 4.) As Fields only contests the
incident report and resulting disallowance of good conduct
time credit in his Petition, there is no longer a “live
controversy” over which the Court can give meaningful
relief. Friends of Everglades, 570 F.3d
at 1216. Accordingly, the Court should DISMISS as
moot Fields' Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.
Leave to Appeal in Forma Pauperis
Court should also deny Fields leave to appeal in forma
pauperis. Though Fields has, of course, not yet filed a
notice of appeal, it would be appropriate to address these
issues in the Court's order of dismissal. Fed. R. App. P.
24(a)(3) (trial court may certify that appeal of party
proceeding in forma pauperis is not taken in good
faith “before or after the notice of appeal is
filed”). An appeal cannot be taken in forma
pauperis if the trial court certifies that the appeal is
not taken in good faith. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3); Fed. R.
App. P. 24(a)(3). Good faith in this context must be judged
by an objective standard. Busch v. Cty. of Volusia,
189 F.R.D. 687, 691 (M.D. Fla. 1999). A party does not
proceed in good faith when he seeks to advance a frivolous
claim or argument. See Coppedge v. United States,
369 U.S. 438, 445 (1962). A claim or argument is frivolous
when it appears the factual allegations are clearly baseless
or the legal theories are indisputably meritless. Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989); Carroll v.
Gross, 984 F.2d 392, 393 (11th Cir. 1993). Stated
another way, an in forma pauperis action is
frivolous, and thus, not brought in good faith, if it is
“without arguable merit either in law or fact.”
Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528, 531 (11th Cir.
2002); see also Brown v. United States, Nos.
407CV085, 403CR001, 2009 WL 307872, at *1-2 (S.D. Ga. Feb. 9,
the above analysis of Fields' Petition and
Respondent's Response, there are no non-frivolous issues
to raise on appeal, and an appeal would not be taken in good
faith. Thus, ...