United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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.
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.
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.
Whether Butler's 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 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)).
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.
Leave to Appeal in Forma Pauperis
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,
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.
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 ...