United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO
ROBERTO A. LANGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Jeffery Williams (Williams) filed a pro se petition under 28
U.S.C. § 2241 for a writ of habeas corpus alleging that
the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) improperly denied his request for
placement in a residential reentry center (RRC) near Chicago,
Illinois. Doc. 1. Respondent Heriberto H. Tellez (Tellez),
Warden of the Federal Prison Camp in Yankton, South Dakota,
filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. Doc. 17. Williams opposed the
motion to dismiss. Doc. 24. For the reasons explained below,
the Government's motion to dismiss is granted.
was convicted of Wire Fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1343, and Identity Theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1028(a)(1), in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois. Doc. 16 at ¶ 4. He was
sentenced to 48 months in prison followed by a four-year term
of supervision. Doc. 16 at ¶ 4. As of December 18, 2018,
Williams had a projected release date of December 21, 2019,
reduced pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e) for successful
completion of the Bureau of Prison's Residential Drug
Abuse Program. Doc, 16 at ¶ 4; Doc. 16-2 at 1.
December 10, 2018, Williams filed a petition for writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Doc. 1.
Williams alleges that BOP did not provide a thorough,
individualized review of his request for placement in a RRC
in or near Chicago, Illinois. Doc. 1. Under the "Request
for Relief section of his petition, Williams states, "I
respectfully ask this court to direct the BOP to immediately
transfer me to Chicago's RRC for the remainder of my
sentence. This would lower my risk of recidivism and provide
me with the opportunity [to] reestablish a relationship with
my family, build a support system, reestablish community
support and live a productive life." Doc. 1 at 8.
Williams therefore moves this Court to enter an order
directing the BOP to transfer him to a RRC in or near Chicago
to serve the remainder of his sentence. Doc. 1 at 8.
filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim. Doc. 14.
Williams responded, Doc. 18, Tellez replied, Doc. 19, and
Williams then filed another response, Doc. 21.
Court takes judicial notice pursuant to Federal Rule of
Evidence 201 that Williams is no longer in custody of the
Federal Prison Camp in Yankton and likely on June 25, 2019,
Williams was transferred to the residential reentry center.
Find an Inmate, Federal Bureau of Prisons,
https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/ (last visited July 25, 2019).
As of February 12, 2019, Tellez asserted that Williams's
RRC placement date was June 25, 2019 with a release date of
December 21, 2019. As of May 17, 2019, Williams was in
custody at the Federal Prison Camp in Yankton. See
Doc. 22 at 2 (listing Williams return address as the Federal
Prison Camp in Yankton). As of My 25, 2019, Williams's
listed BOP location is the Chicago Residential Reentry
Management field office. Find an Inmate, Federal
Bureau of Prisons, https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/ (last
visited July 30, 2019).
writ of habeas corpus shall not extend to a prisoner unless .
.. [h]e is in custody in violation of the Constitution or
laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. §
2241(c)(3). Therefore, a federal court has jurisdiction to
adjudicate a § 2241 petition as long as two requirements
are met: (1) the petitioner is "in custody," and
(2) the custody violates "the Constitution or laws or
treaties of the United States." See Maleng v.
Cook, 490 U.S. 488, 490 (1989); see 28 U.S.C. §
2241(c)(3). A prisoner may challenge the execution of his
sentence through a § 2241 petition filed in the district
where he is incarcerated. Matheny v. Morrison, 307
F.3d709, 711 (8th Cir. 2002).
habeas corpus petitioner must be in custody to be eligible
for relief under § 2241, and a petitioner must satisfy
the "in custody" requirement as of the date on
which his petition was filed. Maleng, 490 U.S. at
490-91. However, the constitutionally-based
case-or-controversy requirement is different from the
statutory "in custody" requirement and, unlike the
"in custody" requirement, the case-or-controversy
requirement must be satisfied throughout the litigation.
Spencer v. Kemna. 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998). A habeas
petition can become moot while it is pending, even though the
petitioner has satisfied the "in custody"
requirement by being incarcerated at the time that he filed
the petition. Id. The petitioner must have a
personal stake in the outcome of this Court's decisions.
See Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472,
III of the Constitution requires that federal courts limit
jurisdiction to "actual, ongoing cases and
controversies." Haden v. Pelofskv. 212 F.3d
466, 469 (8th Cir. 2000); see U.S. Const, art. Ill. § 2,
cl. 1. No. ongoing case or controversy exists when a habeas
petitioner achieves the result sought in his petition
because, at that point, his "change in circumstances has
'forestalled any occasion for meaningful relief"
Nunes v. Decker. 480 F, App'x 173, 175 (3d Cir.
2012) (quotation omitted). Once a proceeding ceases to
present a live case or controversy, the Court must dismiss
the action for lack of jurisdiction. Ali v. Cangemi,
419 F.3d 722, 724 (8th Cir. 2005). Article III mootness
implicates the subject-matter jurisdiction of the Court.
"If an issue is moot in the Article III sense, [the
Court has] no discretion and must dismiss the action for lack
of jurisdiction." Id.
Williams is challenging the decision of the BOP to postpone
his transfer to an RRC facility, however, since filing his
habeas petition, he was, in fact, transferred from the
Federal Prison Camp in Yankton to a RRC in Chicago. This
conclusion is supported by a review of the federal BOP's
online inmate locator system. Williams is now no longer in
custody of Tellez, and he achieved his relief sought by being
transferred to a RRC in Chicago, so his petition is moot and
is dismissed. Having already been released from the Federal
Prison Camp in Yankton and transferred to a RRC facility,
there is no longer any "concrete and continuing
injury" from the BOP's denial of prerelease
placement that can be "redressed by a favorable judicial
decision." See Spencer. 523 U.S. at 7;
Beaulieu v. Ludeman. 690 F.3d 1017, 1024 (8th Cir.
2012) (plaintiffs' case was moot because they had been
transferred out of the place where they argued their
constitutional rights were violated); Gladson v. Iowa
Dep't of Com, 551 F.3d 825, 835 (8th Cir. 2009)
(plaintiffs claims were rendered moot when he was no longer
incarcerated at the place which had "the conditions of
which he complains"); Demis v. Sniezak. 558
F.3d 508, 513 (6th Cir. 2009) (a prisoner's placement in
a RRC during the pendency of a habeas corpus petition seeking
earlier placement renders the petition moot); Buckles v.
Wilson, No. 14-648, 2014 WL 5438495, at *3- 4 (D. Minn.
Oct. 22, 2014) (a habeas petition seeking immediate placement
in an RRC was moot in light of the petitioner's
intervening placement at an RRC and later release from
custody, which left "nothing for the Court to grant by
way of relief, even if it determined that [his] claims had
reasons explained ...