United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
AUGUSTIN MELENDEZ-RIVERA, Reg. No. 28871-069, Petitioner,
WALTER WOODS, Respondent.
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Russ Walker United States Magistrate Judge.
Melendez-Rivera, a federal inmate currently confined at the
Maxwell Federal Prison Camp, filed this 28 U.S.C. § 2241
petition for writ of habeas corpus in which he challenges the
constitutionality of a disciplinary lodged against him in
August of 2017 for possession of a cell phone.
Melendez-Rivera seeks expungement of the disciplinary and the
return of his good time credits taken as a result of the
31, 2018, the respondent filed a response to the petition in
which he asserts that “the Federal Bureau of Prisons
(BOP) has determined that it will not defend this
disciplinary proceeding. BOP has expunged the disciplinary
conviction from the prisoner's records and will restore
the good time credits (GTC) he lost.” Doc. 11 at 1. The
respondent argues that “this habeas petition is now
moot because the BOP has afforded the prisoner the relief he
seeks.” Doc. 11 at 1.
on the assertions set forth in the respondent's response,
the court entered an order requiring “that on or before
June 12, 2018 the petitioner shall show cause why this habeas
petition should not be dismissed as he has received the
requested relief, which is the only relief appropriate in
this action.” Doc. 12. The order specifically cautioned
the petitioner “that if he fails to file a response to
this order the Magistrate Judge will recommend that this case
be dismissed as moot.” Doc. 12. Melendez-Rivera has
failed to file a response within the time provided in the
order. The court therefore concludes that this case should be
dismissed as moot.
do not sit to render advisory opinions. North Carolina v.
Rice, 404 U.S. 244, 246 (1971). An actual controversy
must exist at all times during the pendency of a case.
Steffel v. Thompson, 415 U.S. 452, 459 n.10 (1974).
In cases where the only relief requested or permitted is
injunctive in nature, events which occur subsequent to the
filing of the case can render the matter moot. National
Black Police Assoc. v. District of Columbia, 108 F.3d
346, 350 (D.C. Cir. 1997) (change in statute); Williams
v. Griffin, 952 F.2d 820, 823 (4th Cir. 1991) (transfer
of prisoner); Tawwab v. Metz 554 F.2d 22, 23 (2nd
Cir. 1977) (change in policy).
III of the United States Constitution confers jurisdiction on
the district courts to hear and determine “cases”
or “controversies.” Al Jajjar v.
Ashcroft, 273 F.3d 1330, 1335 (11th Cir. 2001). The
mootness doctrine derives directly from the case or
controversy limitation because “an action that is moot
cannot be characterized as an active case or
controversy.” Adler v. Duval County Sch. Bd.,
112 F.3d 1475, 1477 (11th Cir. 1997). “This
case-or-controversy requirement subsists through all stages
of federal judicial proceedings. … [I]t is not enough
that a dispute was very much alive when the suit was
filed.” Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp., 494
U.S. 472, 477 (1990).
case is moot when it no longer presents a live controversy
with respect to which the court can give meaningful
relief.” Florida Ass'n of Rehab. Facilities,
Inc. v. Florida Dep't of Health and Rehab. Servs.,
225 F.3d 1208, 1216-17 (11th Cir. 2000) (internal quotation
marks omitted) (citing Ethredge v. Hail, 996 F.2d
1173, 1175 (11th Cir. 1993)); Flast v. Cohen, 392
U.S. 83, 95 (1968) (“Where the question sought to be
adjudicated has been mooted by developments subsequent to
filing of the complaint, no justiciable controversy is
presented.”); Saladin v. Milledgeville, 812
F.2d 687, 693 (11th Cir. 1987) (“A case is moot when
the issues presented are no longer ‘live' or the
parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome of
the litigation, such as where … interim relief or
events have eradicated the effects of the alleged
violation.”); Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S.
486, 496 (1969) (“[A] case is moot when the issues
presented are no longer ‘live' or the parties lack
a legally cognizable interest in the outcome.”).
actions occur subsequent to the filing of a lawsuit whereby
the plaintiff obtains the requested relief, then the case is
moot and must be dismissed. See, e.g., Hall v.
Beals, 396 U.S. 45, 48 (1969). In these instances,
dismissal is required because mootness is jurisdictional.
See Florida Ass'n of Rehab. Facilities, 225 F.3d
at 1227 n.14 (“The question of mootness is … one
which a federal court must resolve before it assumes
jurisdiction [over the merits of a case].”). “Any
decision on the merits of a moot case or issue would be an
impermissible advisory opinion.” Id. at 1217
(citing Hall, 396 U.S. at 48, 90 S.Ct. at 201-02.
apparently has received the relief requested from this court;
the BOP represents that it has expunged the challenged
disciplinary and restored the good time taken. Under the
undisputed circumstances of this case, the only relief sought
by Melendez-Rivera, and appropriate in this habeas action, is
moot. Consequently, this case is due to be dismissed as moot
since “it no longer presents a live controversy with
respect to which the court can give meaningful relief.”
Florida Ass'n of Rehab. Facilities, 225 F.3d at
1217; United States ex. rel. Graham v. United States
Parole Comm'n, 732 F.2d 849, 850 (11th Cir. 1984).
it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that the 28
U.S.C. § 2241 petition for habeas corpus relief filed by
Melendez-Rivera be DENIED and this case DISMISSED as moot
since a more favorable decision on the merits would not
entitle him to any additional habeas relief.
before July 5, 2018 the parties may file
objections to the Recommendation. A party must specifically
identify the factual findings and legal conclusions in the
Recommendation to which the objection is made. Frivolous,