United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
CHUNARIS D. GRANT, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
RUSS WALKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
cause is before the court on Chunaris D. Grant's pro
se motion for relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Civ.
Doc. # 1. Grant challenges the district court's
judgment revoking his supervised release and sentencing him
to 21 months' imprisonment.
October 2012, Grant pled guilty under a plea agreement to
possession of a firearm by a felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 922(g)(1). Crim. Doc. # 20. In February 2013, the
district court sentenced Grant to 27 months in prison
followed by three years of supervised release. Crim. Doc. #
29. Grant did not appeal the conviction or sentence.
began supervised release in July 2014. See Crim.
Doc. # 36. In November 2015, the United States
Probation Office filed a petition for revocation of
Grant's supervised release, alleging violations that
included Grant's unlawful use of controlled substances
and his failure to follow the instructions of his probation
officer. Crim. Doc. # 90. A revised petition for revocation
of Grant's supervised release, which alleged additional
violations, was filed on February 23, 2016. Crim. Doc. # 106.
13, 2016, the district court held a supervised release
revocation hearing on the allegations in the revocation
petitions. Crim. Doc. # 131. At that hearing, Grant,
represented by counsel, pled guilty to one of the alleged
violations, unlawful use of a controlled substance, and
“no contest” to three other alleged violations
based on his commission of additional state or federal crimes
and his possession of a firearm. Id.; see also Crim.
Doc. # 106. The district court revoked Grant's
supervised release, and on July 15, 2016, the court entered a
revocation judgment sentencing Grant to 21 months in prison
and one year of supervised release. Crim. Doc. # 132. Grant
did not appeal the judgment.
filed this § 2255 motion on January 17, 2017. Civ. Doc.
# 1. In his § 2255 motion, Grant asserts allegations of
ineffective assistance of counsel against the lawyer who
represented him in the supervised-release revocation
proceedings. Id. at 1; see also Civ. Doc. #
to this court's records, Grant subsequently served out
his term of imprisonment and was released from federal
incarceration. See Crim. Doc. # 136. He began
serving his one-year term of supervised release on his
revocation sentence on September 1, 2017. Crim. Doc. # 137 at
was scheduled to complete his term of supervision on August
31, 2018. Crim. Doc. # 137 at 1. However, he was convicted by
a jury in the Lowndes County, Alabama Circuit Court on April
19, 2018 for shooting into an occupied vehicle (CC 2016-49);
assault in the second degree (CC 2016-50); and leaving the
scene of an accident with injuries (CC 2016-51). Id.
On May 2, 2018, the state trial court sentenced Grant as a
habitual offender to 40 years in prison for shooting into an
occupied vehicle; 40 years in prison for assault in the
second degree; and 30 years in prison for leaving the scene
of an accident with injuries. Id. The sentences
imposed in CC 2016-49 and CC 2016-50 were ordered to run
concurrently with each other and consecutive to CC 2016-51.
These state offenses formed the basis for Grant's federal
revocation hearing on July 13, 2016, and were pending when
his supervised release was revoked. Id.
February 28, 2019, the district court entered an order
terminating Grant's remaining term of supervised release
on his revocation sentence, retroactive to April 19, 2018,
the date of his state convictions in the Lowndes County
Circuit Court. Crim. Doc. # 138 at 2. Thus, Grant is no
longer incarcerated on his revocation sentence, and he is no
longer subject to supervision by the United States Probation
Article III, Section 2, of the United States Constitution,
federal courts can only consider ongoing cases or
controversies. Lewis v. Continental Bank, Corp., 494
U.S. 472, 477-78 (1990). The case-or-controversy requirement
means that parties “must continue to have a personal
stake in the outcome” through all the stages of
judicial proceedings, trial and appellate.
Id…Title 28 § 2255 offers relief only to
“[a] prisoner in custody.” 28 U.S.C. §
2255(a); see also 9 A.L.R.3d 462 § 3
(“Since a motion to vacate a sentence under 28 U.S.C.A.
§ 2255 can be maintained only to attack a sentence under
which a prisoner is in custody, the case is moot insofar as a
§ 2255 proceeding is concerned” where the prisoner
has been released from custody). “A prisoner on
supervised release is considered to be ‘in custody'
for purposes of a § 2255 motion.” United
States v. Pregent, 190 F.3d 279, 283 (4th Cir. 1999).
However, once a prisoner is released from incarceration and
is no longer being supervised, his habeas petition no longer
presents a live case or controversy and the case becomes
moot. Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7-8 (1998).
when Grant filed his § 2255 motion in January 2017, he
was in federal custody and his motion was viable. Since then,
however, Grant has been released from federal custody, and he
is no longer subject to supervision by the United States
Probation Office. While an incarcerated inmate's
challenge to the validity of his incarceration satisfies the
“case-or-controversy” requirement, the suit
becomes moot upon the inmate's release from prison,
unless he or she can demonstrate some “collateral
consequence” that persists beyond the expiration of the
sentence and is “likely to be redressed by a favorable
judicial decision.” Spencer, 523 U.S. at 7.
Spencer, the petitioner appealed the district
court's revocation of his parole for violating its terms.
523 U.S. at 8. The Supreme Court required the petitioner to
demonstrate collateral consequences adequate to meet Article
III's injury-in-fact requirement, finding that while
“it is an ‘obvious fact of life that most
criminal convictions do in fact entail adverse collateral
legal consequences,' [t]he same cannot be said of parole
revocation.” Id. at 12 (quoting Sibron v.
New York, 392 U.S. 40, 55 (1968)). Although
Spencer addressed collateral consequence in the
realm of parole revocations, courts have held that the same
rule applies to a wide range of similar circumstances,
including the revocation of supervised release. See e.g.,
United States v. Meyers, 200 F.3d 715, 721 n.2 (10th
Cir.2000) (“This court can discern no relevant
differences between parole and supervised release which would
militate against the applicability of
Spencer”); United States v. Clark,
193 F.3d 845, 847-48 (5th Cir. 1999) (applying
Spencer and dismissing as moot a challenge to the
district court's extension of supervised release);
United States v. Probber, 170 F.3d 345, 348-49 (2d
Cir.1999) (applying Spencer and ...