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Abreu v. Gartland

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

August 1, 2018

JUAN COLOME ABREU, Petitioner,
v.
PATRICK GARTLAND, Respondent.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Petitioner Juan Colome Abreu (“Abreu”), who was formerly incarcerated at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) Processing Center in Folkston, 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. 9.) For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND that the Court GRANT Respondent's Motion, DISMISS as moot Abreu's Petition, DENY Abreu in forma pauperis status on appeal, and DIRECT the Clerk of Court to enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal and to CLOSE this case.

         BACKGROUND

         Abreu filed his Petition on November 30, 2017. (Doc. 1.) Abreu asserted he is a native of Cuba but has been a lawful permanent resident of the United States of America since August 12, 1980. (Id. at p. 1.) Abreu asserts that following his arrest in 2017, ICE detained him for an “undetermined amount of time.” (Id. at p. 3.) Abreu alleged that an Immigration Judge ordered him to be removed or deported, but he was not deported within the ninety (90) day period following that order.[1] (Id. at p. 4.) Specifically, he contended that “ICE has detained petitioner for almost seven months since the issuance of his final order of removal.” (Id.) Abreu argued that it was not reasonably foreseeable that ICE would remove him to Cuba. Thus, Abreu requested that this Court order ICE to release him from detention on an order of supervision. (Id. at p. 6.)

         On March 21, 2018, Respondent filed his Motion to Dismiss Abreu's Petition. (Doc. 9.) In a declaration attached to that Motion, Christopher Cox, an ICE Deportation Officer averred that Abreu was released from ICE custody on an order of supervision on February 27, 2018. (Doc. 9-1.) Indeed, the Court's June 26, 2018 Order directing Abreu to respond to the Motion to Dismiss was returned to the Court as undeliverable on July 2, 2018. (Doc. 11) Respondent asserts Abreu's release from ICE custody renders his Petition moot, and his Petition should be dismissed.

         DISCUSSION

         I.Whether Abreu'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) (citations 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 “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)).

         In his Petition, Abreu only requests release from ICE detention on an order of supervision. (Doc. 1.) As described above, Abreu has since been granted this exact release, (docs. 9-1, 11); 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 GRANT Respondent's Motion to Dismiss, (doc. 9), and DISMISS as moot Abreu's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, (doc. 1).

         II. Leave to Appeal in Forma Pauperis

         The Court should also deny Abreu leave to appeal in forma pauperis. Though Abreu 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). 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 Abreu'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 GRANT Respondent's Motion, DISMISS as moot Abreu's Petition, DENY Abreu in forma pauperis status on appeal, and DIRECT the Clerk of Court to ...


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