United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Rick Taylor (“Taylor”), who is incarcerated at
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. 9.)
For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND
that the Court DISMISS as moot Taylor's
Petition, DIRECT the Clerk of Court to
CLOSE this case and enter the appropriate
judgment of dismissal, and DENY Taylor
in forma pauperis status on appeal.
Petition, Taylor challenges a sanction that he received as a
result of a hearing before a Discipline Hearing Officer
(“DHO”). (Doc. 1.) At the hearing, the DHO
determined that Taylor committed the prohibited act of
assault without serious injury, in violation of Code 224 of
the Bureau of Prisons' (“BOP”) discipline
regulations. Taylor alleges that he was actually innocent of
the charge, that there was no evidence to support a finding
that he assaulted the victim as alleged, that he was denied
the right to due process, and that he was discriminated
against racially. (Id. at p. 3.) Specifically, he
contends that he was not allowed to present the other
inmates' disciplinary hearing records, which would have
revealed a pattern of similar false allegations.
(Id. at p. 7.) Taylor requests that this Court order
that the incident report be expunged and that his lost 27
days of good conduct time be restored. (Id. at p.
filed a response to Taylor's Petition and states that the
issue is now moot, because the BOP has granted Taylor the
relief he sought. (Doc. 9.) Specifically, Respondent states
that BOP staff conducted a review of Taylor's claims in
response to his Petition, and that, as a result of that
review, the BOP expunged the incident report and restored
Taylor's good conduct time. (Id. at pp. 3-4.)
Respondent offers exhibits in support of this assertion,
including the Affidavit of Vincent Shaw, Senior Litigation
Counsel in the Southeast Regional Office of the BOP, as well
as Taylor's Inmate Discipline Data dated January 5, 2017.
(Doc. 9-1, pp. 1-3, 18.) Taylor did not file a Reply (or any
other pleading) following Respondent's Response.
Whether Taylor'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).
“[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)).
Petition, Taylor only requested that the incident report be
expunged and that his good conduct time be restored. As noted
above, Taylor has since been granted this relief. 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 Taylor's Petition
for Writ of Habeas Corpus.
Leave to Appeal in Forma Pauperis
Court should also deny Taylor leave to appeal in forma
pauperis. Though Taylor 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
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 Taylor'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, ...