United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Middle Division
C. BURKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
February 16, 2018, the magistrate judge entered a report in
which he recommended that the Court dismiss with prejudice
petitioner Vaughn Johnson's 28 U.S.C. 2241 petition for
writ of habeas corpus. (Doc. 28). The magistrate judge stated
that “the court lacks jurisdiction over [Mr.
Johnson's] citizenship claim and [Mr. Johnson] cannot
state a Zadvydas claim at this time.” (Doc.
28, p. 1). The magistrate judge advised the parties of their
right to file objections within 14 days. (Doc. 28, p. 5). On
February 23, 2018, Mr. Johnson filed objections to the report
and recommendation. (Doc. 29).
district court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole
or part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). When
a party objects to a report and recommendation, the district
court must “make a de novo determination of those
portions of the report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made.”
Id. The Court reviews for plain error proposed
factual findings to which no objection is made, and the Court
reviews propositions of law de novo. Garvey v.
Vaughn, 993 F.2d 776, 779 n.9 (11th Cir. 1993); see
also United States v. Slay, 714 F.2d 1093, 1095 (11th
Cir. 1983) (per curiam), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 1050
(1984) (“The failure to object to the magistrate's
findings of fact prohibits an attack on appeal of the factual
findings adopted by the district court except on grounds of
plain error or manifest injustice.”) (internal citation
omitted); Macort v. Prem, Inc., 208 Fed.Appx. 781,
784 (11th Cir. 2006).
Johnson begins his objections with a reproduction of a
portion of the magistrate judge's report in which the
magistrate judge concluded the Court lacks jurisdiction to
review the determination regarding Mr. Johnson's
citizenship and that Mr. Johnson's detention is
authorized by 8 U.S.C. § 1231 and is within
constitutional limits. (Doc. 29, pp. 1-3; compare
Doc. 28, pp. 1-3). Mr. Johnson then provides a section that
he titles “Factual Relevant Background fact is
corroborated with documentary evidence in this Case.”
(Doc. 29, pp. 3-6). In this section of his objections, Mr.
Johnson alleges he was born in Alabama, but his birth was
never registered. (Doc. 29, p. 3). He then asserts that in
March 2010, he was detained for questioning regarding
possible wire fraud. (Doc. 29, p. 3). After this detention
and questioning, Mr. Johnson alleges that detectives filed
charges against him and began examining his citizenship.
(Doc. 29, pp. 3-4). Mr. Johnson states that there was
confusion between his identity (born in Alabama, grew up
mostly in Florida) and that of his mother's adopted son
who was born in England, but who grew up in the Bahamas.
(Doc. 29, p. 4). According to Mr. Johnson, the detective was
“not satisfied” and “became
convinced” that Mr. Johnson was not a United States
citizen. (Doc. 29, p. 4). Mr. Johnson contends that
authorities determined his true identity (Vaughn Johnson,
born in Alabama) and, through his fingerprints, learned he
also had used another name, Casey Oliver Joseph, and had
fraudulently obtained a passport in 2000 in Florida. (Doc.
29, p. 4). A federal grand jury indicted Mr. Johnson for
making a false statement on a passport application. (Doc. 29,
p. 5). Mr. Johnson pleaded guilty to the charge in June 2011.
(Doc. 29, p. 5).
Johnson explains that on May 18, 2011, an ICE officer issued
an immigration detainer in the name of “Juan Antonio
Johnson, aka Casey Oliver Johnson, aka Vaughn Juan Johnson
also known as Vaughn Johnson.” (Doc. 29, p. 5). Mr.
Johnson alleges that his attorney challenged the detainer
based on Mr. Johnson's United States citizenship. (Doc.
29, p. 5). A magistrate judge ordered Mr. Johnson detained
temporarily until ICE could pick him up within forty-eight
hours to “clarify and determine” his “legal
status.” (Doc. 29, p. 5). Mr. Johnson states that this
“procedur[al] status determination” did not take
place, and he then pleaded guilty, “mooting the whole
issue of bail.” (Doc. 29, p. 5).
August 2011, before completing his sentence, a federal grand
jury charged Mr. Johnson with wire fraud; Mr. Johnson pleaded
guilty in April 2013. (Doc. 29, p. 5). Again, ICE officials
visited Mr. Johnson. (Doc. 29, p. 5). Mr. Johnson maintained
that he was a United States citizen. (Doc. 29, p. 5). The
government maintained that Mr. Johnson was not a United
States citizen or national. (Doc. 29, pp. 5-6).
Johnson filed a habeas petition in August 2012 in which he
argued “misconduct of the prosecutor . . ., Bureau of
Diplomatic Security Services (“DSS”) agent who
ordered the lodging of the detainer . . . [that] deprived and
violates him of his rights fundamental due process in
accordance with the Privacy Act for validity accurate records
binding on law and regulations pertinent authority.”
(Doc. 29, p. 6). According to Mr. Johnson, the magistrate
judge presiding over the August 2012 petition issued a report
and recommendation on May 23, 2013. (Doc. 29, p. 6).
in a section of his objections titled “Applicable Law
and Argument, ” Mr. Johnson objects to the magistrate
judge's conclusion that the Court lacks jurisdiction over
Mr. Johnson's current petition. Specifically, Mr. Johnson
asserts that the magistrate judge “crucially
misconstrued” his petition, as his petition
“should be construe[d] and rested on sole and exclusive
plausibility grounds for Damages Violates of Adverse Effect
Inaccurate Records Determination Prejudice under Privacy Act,
Fifth and Fourth Amendment Fundamental Constitutional
erroneous flagrant disregard Procedural Default determination
errors.” (Doc. 29, pp. 9-10). Mr. Johnson also contends
that he brought this action under the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C.
§ 552a, and he argues that a ruling in his favor on his
Privacy Act claim would directly impact the duration of his
confinement. (Doc. 29, p. 10).
indicated throughout this litigation, Mr. Johnson filed a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§2241. (Doc. 1). At multiple times throughout the
litigation, Mr. Johnson was informed of the nature of this
action. Regardless of how Mr. Johnson characterizes his
claim, the substance of his claim is that he thinks the
process of determining his citizenship was unlawful and that
the determination is incorrect. (See generally Doc.
29). As explained in the magistrate judge's report, in
the context of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, a
petitioner may not challenge his removability based on
alleged United States citizenship. (Doc. 28, p. 3 (citing
REAL ID Act of 2005, 8 U.S.C. § 1252(b)(5)). Instead,
all challenges to removal orders must be heard in the court
of appeals. 8 U.S.C. §1252(b)(5); see Bonhometre v.
Gonzales, 414 F.3d 442, 446 (3d Cir. 2005) (citing H.R.
Conf. Rep. No. 109-72 at 174 (2005)). To this end, it appears
that, on July 18, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals
for the Ninth Circuit denied Mr. Johnson's request to
reopen the Board of Immigration Appeals' order denying
his claim of United States citizenship; a case wherein he
made similar allegations regarding the determination of his
citizenship. See Johnson v. Sessions, No. 17-71005
(9th Cir.). On August 14, 2018, the Ninth Circuit issued a
formal mandate stating that the judgment of July 18, 2018,
was to take effect the same day and that the temporary stay
of removal was lifted.
Mr. Johnson continues to argue the merits of his case for
many pages (Doc. 29, pp. 10-39), he does not overcome the
magistrate judge's conclusion that this Court lacks
jurisdiction based on the REAL ID Act and the decision of the
considered the entire record, including the report and
recommendation and Mr. Johnson's objections, the Court
adopts the magistrate judge's report and accepts his
recommendation, except that the Court will dismiss this
action without prejudice for lack of jurisdiction.
Court will enter a separate final order.