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Dallas v. Edge

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

April 16, 2018

MICHAEL DALLAS, Petitioner,
v.
D. EDGE, Warden, Respondent.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Petitioner Michael Dallas (“Dallas”), who was formerly housed 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 Motion to Dismiss, (doc. 8.) For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND that the Court GRANT Respondent's Motion to Dismiss, DISMISS as moot Dallas' Petition, DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case and enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal, and DENY Dallas in forma pauperis status on appeal.

         BACKGROUND

         Dallas filed his Petition on February 1, 2018. (Doc. 1.) In his Petition, Dallas asserts the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) failed to give him credit against his federal sentence for nearly nine months' time, from November 19, 2004, through August 17, 2005. (Id. at p. 6.) Dallas contends he should have been released from the BOP's custody on January 18, 2018. (Id. at pp. 1, 2.)

         After Dallas paid the requisite filing fee, this Court directed service of Dallas' Petition upon Respondent on February 28, 2018. (Doc. 3.) However, this mailing was returned to the Court as undeliverable with the notation “Attempted-Not Known, Unable to Forward”. (Doc. 4, p. 1.) Thus, the Court must determine whether Dallas' release from BOP custody renders his Petition moot, whether Respondent's Motion to Dismiss should be granted, and whether his Petition should be dismissed.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Whether Dallas' 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) (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 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)).

         Dallas has been released from confinement from the BOP's custody. As Dallas requests his release from his continued detention in his Petition, and it appears he has been released from the BOP's custody, 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 GRANT Respondent's Motion to Dismiss and DISMISS as moot Dallas' Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.

         II. Leave to Appeal in Forma Pauperis

         The Court should also deny Dallas leave to appeal in forma pauperis. Though Dallas 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. County 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 Dallas' Petition and Respondent's Motion to Dismiss, 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 Dallas in forma pauperis status on appeal.

         CONCLUSION

         Based on the foregoing, I RECOMMEND that the Court GRANT Respondent's Motion to Dismiss, (doc. 8), DISMISS as moot Dallas' Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, (doc. 1), DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case and enter the ...


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