United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
BENJAMIN W. CHEESBRO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Alfarez Taylor (“Taylor), who is housed at D. Ray James
Correctional Facility in Folkston, Georgia, filed a 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. Doc. 1.
Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss, and Taylor filed a
Response. Docs. 8, 10. I issued a Report recommending
Respondent's Motion be denied, as it was not clear that
Taylor's Petition is moot. Doc. 11. Respondent filed
Objections to that Report and Recommendation. Doc. 12. As a
result of Respondent's allegations, the Court
VACATES the July 12, 2019 Report and
Recommendation and enters the following in its stead.
reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND the Court
GRANT Respondent's Motion to Dismiss,
DENY as moot Taylor's Petition,
DIRECT the Clerk of Court to enter the
appropriate judgment of dismissal and CLOSE
this case, and DENY Taylor in forma
pauperis status on appeal.
filed his Petition on May 23, 2019. Doc. 1. In his Petition,
Taylor contends a non-Bureau of Prisons'
(“BOP”) staff member imposed sanctions against
him, in violation of his right to due process. Id.
at 6. Taylor also contends the disciplinary hearing
procedures relating to his rehearing on the charged
disciplinary offense violated his right to due process.
Id. at 7. Taylor requests the Court “reverse
all sanction and restore[ Taylor's] good conduct time
without any delay[.]” Id. at 8. After Taylor
paid the requisite filing fee, this Court directed service of
Taylor's Petition upon Respondent on June 26, 2019. Doc.
filed a Motion to Dismiss, claiming he has waived an
exhaustion of administrative remedies defense, and the BOP
has restored Taylor's good conduct time. Doc. 8 at 3. In
so doing, Respondent cites Taylor's imminent expected
release and the BOP's “inability to locate the
[Disciplinary Hearing Officer's] rehearing report.”
Id. The BOP recalculated Taylor's sentence, and
has calculated his projected release date to be July 19,
2019. Id. Thus, Respondent asserts Taylor's
Petition is moot and should be dismissed. Id. at 5.
requests the Court “reverse all sanction and restore[
his] good conduct time without any delay.” Doc. 1 at 8.
In response to the Motion to Dismiss, Taylor contends his
original release date before sanctions were imposed was to be
October 6, 2019, and his release date with the imposed
sanctions was to be November 10, 2019. Doc. 10 at 2. Taylor
also contends his sentence was recalculated under the First
Step Act of 2018, which resulted in his release date being
August 10, 2019. Id. By Taylor's calculations,
he should have been released from the BOP's custody on
June 28, 2019 if he had been credited with all of his 41
days' lost good conduct time. Id. Taylor avers
the BOP did not correctly recalculate his sentence.
Id. It was on this basis I recommended the Court
deny Respondent's Motion to Dismiss, as the Court could
not be certain Taylor's Petition is moot. Doc. 11 at 3-4.
Objections, however, Respondent clarifies his position and
asserts that Taylor is correct that he would have been
entitled to immediate release on June 28, 2019 under the
First Step Act. Doc. 12 at 2. Nevertheless, Respondent notes
that Taylor's argument is based on a faulty premise, as
the First Step Act's methodology for assessing good
conduct time is scheduled to become effective on July 19,
2019. Id. Respondent asserts that inmates like
Taylor, who have a recalculated sentence resulting in release
before the effective date for the revised methodology, are
projected to be released on July 19, 2019, the date the
changes become effective. Id.
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). Regarding 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 “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)).
expunged the challenged incident report and restored
Taylor's lost good conduct time. Doc. 8-1 at 2. However,
Taylor cannot receive any benefit of the First Step Act's
recalculation methodology until July 19, 2019. Doc. 12 at 2.
As Taylor only requests the expungement of the disciplinary
report and reinstatement of lost good-conduct time, there is
no longer a “live controversy” over which the
Court can give meaningful relief. Friends of
Everglades, 570 F.3d at 1216. Additionally, Taylor was
scheduled to be released from confinement on July 19, 2019,
and, presumably, has already been released. Accordingly, the
Court should GRANT Respondent's Motion
to Dismiss and DENY 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 not yet filed a notice of
appeal, it would be appropriate to address that issue in the
Court's order of dismissal. See Fed. R. App. P.
24(a)(3) (trial court may certify that appeal 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, either before or after the notice of
appeal is filed, 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 not brought in
good faith if ...