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Govereh v. Johns

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

October 25, 2017

ONESSIMUS M. GOVEREH, Petitioner,
v.
TRACY JOHNS, Warden, Respondent.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STAN BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Petitioner Onessimus M. Govereh (“Govereh”), who was formerly incarcerated at D. Ray James Correctional Facility in Folkston, Georgia, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 1.) Govereh filed a number of pleadings during this action including a Motion to Compel, (doc. 2); a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, (doc. 5); a Motion to Change Venue, (doc. 8); and an Amended Motion for Preliminary Injunction, (doc. 16). Respondent filed a Response to Govereh's Petition and his various Motions on August 18, 2017. (Doc. 18.) On September 25, 2017, Govereh filed a Notice of Change of Address notifying the Court that he is now located in a residential reentry center in Del Valle, Texas. (Doc. 19.) As explained below, Govereh's transfer from D. Ray James moots the claims he asserts in this action. Thus, I RECOMMEND that the Court DISMISS as moot Govereh's Petition, DISMISS as moot all pending motions, DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case, and DENY Govereh in forma pauperis status on appeal.

         BACKGROUND

         In his Petition, Govereh challenged the propriety of his incarceration at D. Ray James. (Doc. 1.) Specifically, Govereh raised five questions in his Petition:

1. Whether the [Bureau of Prisons] can lawfully subdelegated [sic] its statutory responsibilities and decision making authority to a private actor, particularly a private actor like [D. Ray James], whose objectivity can be reasonably questioned on conflict of interest grounds?
2. Whether [D. Ray James] violated 18 U.S.C.§ 3621(b) in refusing to even consider a post-sentencing judicial recommendation issued by the sentencing judge recommending that petitioner serve 150-180 days or the remainder of his sentence in a [residential reentry center]?
3. Whether [D. Ray James] violated 18 U.S.C.§ 3624(c) in creating a policy and practice of limiting referrals for pre-release community confinement to 90 days and refusing to consider any federal prisoner for the full one year mandated by statute?
4. Whether a 47 day placement in a [residential reentry center] is of sufficient duration to provide the greatest likelihood of successful reintegration into the community as required under 28 C.F.R.§ 570.22?
5. Whether the plain and unambiguous regulations allow someone other than [Bureau of Prisons] staff to issue incident reports and impose disciplinary sanctions on federal prisoners housed at private prisons like [D. Ray James]?

(Id. at p. 8.)

         Respondent filed a response to Govereh's Petition and argued that the Court should deny his Petition due to his failure to exhaust his available administrative remedies. (Doc. 18, pp. 5- 7.) Respondent also contended that the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear Govereh's claims regarding placement in a residential reentry center and that the Federal Bureau of Prisons has the authority to house prisoners in contract facilities like D. Ray James and permit those facilities to conduct disciplinary proceedings. (Id. at pp. 8-12.) Govereh has not filed a Reply to Respondent's Response but has filed the aforementioned Notice of Change of Address evidencing his transfer from D. Ray James.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Whether Govereh'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 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 ‚Äúsimply by looking to ...


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