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Mims v. United States

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

September 16, 2019

HASALEE MIMS, #126 911, Plaintiff,
v.
THE UNITED STATES, et al., Defendants.

          RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          CHARLES S. COODY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Hasalee Mims (“Mims”), an Alabama inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).[1] Mims alleges enactment of “Megan's Crime Law” is an unconstitutional and illegal use of congressional power and authority and therefore violates the rights of individuals convicted of sex offenses.[2] Doc. 1 at 3. According to Mims, enactment of Megan's Law was illegal because Congress performed “legislative action outside the zone of it[‘s] original assigned regulatory power of authority under the Commerce Clause where gender violence, murder/rape could never be confused with commerce.” Doc. 1 at 3. Mims requests the court declare Megan's Law unconstitutional and void. Doc. 1 at 6. The named defendants are the United States, the United States Congress, and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. Upon review, the court concludes Mims' complaint is due to be summarily dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.[3]

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Standing

         1. Commerce Clause

         Mims alleges Congress violated the Commerce Clause when it enacted Megan's Law because the statute punishes activity that does not substantially affect interstate commerce. Mims maintains that his complaint:

. . .is a direct constitutional challenge to the constitutionality of the Congress'[] creation, enactment, and the passing of the Megan's Crime Law, as a by-law off of the Jacob Wetterling[] Law against Children and Sexually Violent Criminal Offenders Act. At Title 17, 108 Stat. 2038, as amended, 42 U.S.C. Sect. 14071, in which this particular United States Code is an illegal and unconstitutional use of Congress'[] powers of authority[, ] because the laws passed are based exclusively and entirely upon gender related issues of violent criminal activity, such as rape/murder[] [t]hat was passed outside the scope of the Congress'[] power of authority under its eighteen specific, enumerated and delegated powers granted by the Constitution under the Commerce Clause.

Doc. 1 at 3.[4] Mims claims his constitutional challenge to the enactment of “Megan's Crime Law” is based on the fact that the statute violates his rights as an individual convicted of a sex offense. Doc. 1 at 3. According to Mims, Congress exceeded its authority under the Commerce Clause by establishing a comprehensive national system for the registration of sex offenders which is “outside the zone” of its regulatory power. Doc. 1 at 3. Because Congress was not given authority under the Constitution to regulate non-economic activity or pass laws of gender violence crimes under the Commerce Clause, Mims seeks a declaration that Megan's Law is unconstitutional and void Doc. 1 at 6.

         The court takes judicial notice of both public records maintained by the Alabama Department of Corrections and Mims' criminal cases' consolidated case action summaries on the Alabama Trial Court System (hosted, respectively, at http://www.doc.state.al.us/inmatehistory and www.alacourt.com). See Keith v. DeKalb Cnty., 749 F.3d 1034, 1041 n.18 (11th Cir. 2014) (“We take judicial notice of [the state's] Online Judicial System.”) (citing Fed.R.Evid. 201 (“The court may judicially notice a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute because it . . . can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.”)); see also Coney v. Smith, 738 F.2d 1199, 1200 (11th Cir.1984). These records reflect Mims was convicted in 1980 of rape in the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, which subjects him to the registration and notification requirements for sex offenders. See Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act (“ASORCNA”), Ala. Code § 15-20A-1, et seq. Mims' conviction records also reflect that he has been convicted of, among other crimes, violating state sex offender registration laws. Mims is confined in the Alabama prison system following his plea of guilty in October 2016, as a habitual offender, to attempted sexual abuse of a child less than twelve which also violated the terms of his probation on his convictions for violations of failing to register as a sex offender. See State of Alabama v. Mims, CC-2016-396, State of Alabama v. Mims, CC-2011-209, and State of Alabama v. Mims, CC-2011-148. See www.alacourt.com; see also www.doc.state.al.us/inmatehistory (last visited September 5, 2019).

         Mims' allegations are not well articulated but he appears to assert that, as an individual convicted of sex offenses, he has been subjected to a violation of his constitutional rights based on congressional action concerning enactment of a comprehensive national system for the registration of sex offenders.[5] According to Mims, Congress performed legislative action beyond its power under the Commerce Clause in controlling the nation's “crimes of gender violence.” Doc. 1 at 5. Beyond his contention that Congress allegedly engaged in conduct beyond the powers authorized under the Constitution by enacting laws regarding sex offenders, Mims does not allege much less indicate he has suffered any concrete or particularized injury because of the conduct about which he complains.[6]

         “Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994); Burns v. Windsor Ins. Co., 31 F.3d 1092, 1095 (11th Cir. 1994). Therefore, federal courts have only the power to hear cases they have been authorized to hear by the Constitution or the Congress of the United States, see Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 377, and must inquire into their jurisdiction at the earliest possible point in the proceeding. University of South Alabama v. American Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 410 (11th Cir. 1999). Federal courts have an independent obligation to ensure they are presented with the type of concrete controversy on which their constitutional grant of authority is based. See FW/PBS, Inc. v. City of Dallas, 493 U.S. 215, 231 (1990).

         “Article III, § 2, of the United States Constitution limits the jurisdiction of federal courts to Cases and Controversies, which restricts the authority of federal courts to resolving the legal rights of litigants in actual controversies.” Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 569 U.S. 66, 71 (2013) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Both standing and ripeness originate from Article III's case-or-controversy requirement. Elend v. Basham, 471 F.3d 1199, 1204-05 (11th Cir. 2006). Although separate doctrines, standing and ripeness share Article III's requirement that “a party must suffer injury or come into immediate danger of suffering an injury before challenging a statute.” United States v. Veal, 322 F.3d 1275, 1278 (11th Cir. 2003) (quoting Kirby v. Siegelman, 195 F.3d 1285, 1289 (11th Cir.1999) (analyzing ripeness)); see also Socialist Workers Party v. Leahy, 145 F.3d 1240, 1244-45 (11th Cir.1998) (analyzing standing).

It is by now well settled that the irreducible constitutional minimum of standing contains three elements. First, the plaintiff must have suffered an injury in fact- an invasion of a legally protected interest that is (a) concrete and particularized, and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical. Second, there must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of. . . . Third, it ...

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