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Reese v. Myers

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division

January 16, 2019

RODNEY L. REESE, # 297555, Petitioner,
v.
WALTER MYERS, et al., Respondents.

          RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          STEPHEN M. DOYLE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This case is before the court on a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 filed on September 29, 2016, by Rodney L. Reese. Doc. 1.[1] Reese seeks early release from his six-year sentence for electronic solicitation of a child. According to Reese, Ala. Code § 15-22-26.2, a statute enacted after he was sentenced, mandates his release from prison prior to the December 24, 2016 expiration of his sentence calculated by the Alabama Department of Corrections (“ADOC”). For the reasons that follow, the Magistrate Judge finds that Reese's petition should be dismissed without an evidentiary hearing.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. State Court Proceedings

         On October 7, 2014, Reese pleaded guilty in the Houston County Circuit Court to electronic solicitation of a child, in violation of § 13A-6-122, Ala. Code 1975.[2] Doc. 8-2. On that same date, Reese was sentenced to six years in prison. Doc. 8-3. Reese took no direct appeal, and he filed no post-conviction petition challenging his conviction and sentence under Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure.

         On July 19, 2016, Reese filed a motion with the trial court arguing he was entitled to early release under 2015 Alabama legislation, Senate Bill 67, now codified at Ala. Code § 15-22-26.2.[3] Doc. 8-8. The trial court denied that motion on July 20, 2016. Doc. 8-9.

         B. Mootness

         Reese filed this § 2254 petition on September 29, 2016, asserting that under Ala. Code § 15-22-26.2, he is entitled to be released from ADOC custody prior to his release date of December 24, 2016, calculated by ADOC. Doc. 1 at 5 & 15. While Reese's § 2254 petition was pending in this court, Reese completed his sentence and was released from ADOC custody on December 24, 2016.

“[A] case is moot when it no longer presents a live controversy with respect to which the court can give meaningful relief.” Soliman v. U.S. ex rel. INS, 296 F.3d 1237, 1242 (11th Cir. 2002). A case that is moot must be dismissed because mootness is jurisdictional. Id.

Biester v. Lanier, 249 Fed.Appx. 782, 783 (11th Cir. 2007).

         Reese's release from prison effectively provided him with the relief he requests in his petition. This court can no longer give him meaningful relief on his assertion that he is entitled to release under Ala. Code § 15-22-26.2.[4] Because no alleged injury can be redressed by a favorable decision, this case is moot. See, e.g., Munoz v. Rowland, 104 F.3d 1096, 1097-98 (9th Cir. 1997) (“Because Munoz has been released . . ., we can no longer provide him the primary relief sought in his habeas corpus petition.”); see also Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998).

         Based on the foregoing, the court finds that dismissal of this petition as moot is appropriate, as reaching the merits of any claims presented would serve no purpose.

         C. One-Year ...


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