Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Butler v. Johns

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

September 18, 2017

ANTONIO KYLE BUTLER, Petitioner,
v.
TRACY JOHNS, Respondent.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Petitioner Antonio Kyle Butler (“Butler”), who was formerly housed at the D. Ray James Correctional Facility at Folkston, Georgia, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 1.) Respondent filed a Response. (Doc. 11.) For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND that the Court DISMISS as moot Butler's Petition, DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case, and DENY Butler in forma pauperis status on appeal.

         BACKGROUND

         At the time that Butler filed this Section 2241 Petition, he was incarcerated at D. Ray James pursuant to his sixty-month sentence for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. In his Section 22441, he did not challenge his conviction. Rather, he challenged disciplinary action taken against him for violating Bureau of Prisons' (“BOP”) disciplinary rules at D. Ray James. (Doc. 1.) Butler alleged his due process rights were violated when he was issued an incident report for threatening bodily harm, and he contended that numerous errors were made during the disciplinary process. (Id. at pp. 14-20.) Butler did not make clear what relief he sought through his Petition, but it appears he requested that the sanctions against him at D. Ray James be lifted.

         In his Response to Butler's Petition, Respondent asserted that Butler's Petition is now moot because he is no longer incarcerated. (Doc. 11.) Butler did not file a Reply opposing Respondent's assertion. Rather, the only filing from Butler is a Notice of Change of Address indicating that he is now residing in an apartment in Birmingham, Alabama. (Doc. 12.)

         DISCUSSION

         I. Whether Butler's Petition is Moot

         Article 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 Butlerer 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)).

         As noted above, Respondent has informed the Court in his Response that Butler has been released from custody. Butler's Notice of Change of Address confirms this release. Butler only requested relief pertaining to his detention at D. Ray James, including disciplinary sanctions against him. However, he has been released from that detention and is no longer subject to those sanctions. Thus, 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 Butler's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.

         II. Leave to Appeal in Forma Pauperis

         The Court should also deny Butler leave to appeal in forma pauperis. Though Butler 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, 2009).

         Given the above analysis of Butler's 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, the Court should DENY in forma pauperis status on appeal.

         CONCLUSION

         Based on the foregoing, I RECOMMEND that the Court DISMISS as moot Butler's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, (doc. 1), DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.