United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
December 20, 2005.
JOHN LEEMAN, Petitioner
HARLEY LAPPIN, ET AL., Respondents.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN JONES III, District Judge
On March 18, 2005, this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
("the Petition"), filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, was
initiated in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania by John Leeman ("Petitioner" or
"Leeman"), an inmate confined at the Schuylkill Federal
Correctional Institution, in Minersville, Pennsylvania
("FCI-Schuylkill"). By Order dated May 26, 2005, Leeman's
Petition was transferred to this Court from the Eastern
District.*fn1 After Petitioner's payment of the required
filing fee on July 13, 2005, service of the Petition was ordered
on July 15, 2005.
Named as Respondents are Director Harley V. Lappin and Regional
Director D. Scott Driscoll of the Federal Bureau of Prisons
("BOP"), and FCI-Schuylkill Warden Ronnie R. Holt. The Petitioner was convicted of federal
income tax evasion and began serving a fifteen (15) month
sentence on November 1, 2004. Leeman's present Petition
challenged the BOP's calculation of his sentence with respect to
his eligibility for placement in a Community Corrections Center
("CCC") or halfway house. Petitioner indicated that the
Respondents had determined that he would be eligible for halfway
house placement on October 25, 2005 while it was his position
that he became eligible on as of May 24, 2005 (six months prior
to the expiration of his sentence).
In their response, Respondents argued that there was no basis
for federal habeas corpus relief because "Leeman does not have a
right to be housed in a CCC for the final six months of his
sentence." (Rec. Doc. 8 at 1). Petitioner did not file a reply to
the response. On March 3, 2005, Respondents filed a "Notice of
Mootness" arguing that the Petition should be dismissed as moot
because Leeman was transferred to a CCC on October 25, 2005 and
was thereafter "released to the community via good conduct time
release." (Rec. Doc. 10 at 1.
The case or controversy requirement of Article III, § 2 of the
United States Constitution subsists through all stages of federal
judicial proceedings. Parties must continue to have a "personal
stake in the outcome' of the lawsuit." Lewis v. Continental Bank
Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 477-78 (1990); Preiser v. Newkirk,
422 U.S. 395, 401 (1975). In other words, throughout the course of the
action, the aggrieved party must suffer or be threatened with
actual injury caused by the defendant. Lewis, 494 U.S. at 477.
A habeas petitioner like Leeman who asserts a claim related to
his eligibility for CCC placement always satisfies the case or
controversy requirement by the mere fact of his incarceration.
The existing incarceration constitutes the injury, and may be
redressable by the invalidation of the conviction or in this case
placement in a CCC. However, in a case like the present, where
the incarceration has ended, ". . . some `collateral consequence'
of the conviction (or parole) must exist if the suit is to be
maintained." Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 118 S. Ct. 978, 983
Petitioner's present action sought only his transfer to a CCC.
(Rec. Doc 1 at 12). As previously noted, Respondents have
informed this Court that the Petitioner was transferred to a CCC
during October, 2005 and thereafter released to the community via
good conduct time on December 2, 2005. (Rec. Doc. 10 at 1).
Based on the rationale as set forth by the Supreme Court in
Spencer, in order for Leeman to maintain this action,
continuing collateral consequences must exist or be presumed.
Id. It has been held that most criminal convictions do involve
adverse collateral legal consequences. See Sibron v. New
York, 392 U.S. 40, 55 (1968); Carafas v. LaVallee, 391 U.S. 234, 237-38 (1968). However, the
same presumption of collateral consequences has been found not to
extend to the situation of requests for jail time credit. See
Johnson v. Riveland, 855 F.2d 1477 (10th Cir. 1988) (a
challenge to the denial of credit against a minimum term of
confinement which determined an initial parole eligibility date
became moot when the petitioner was paroled).
Petitioner has failed to assert or demonstrate any collateral
consequences which may be attributable to his instant claim of
delayed CCC placement. As such, under the principles set forth in
Spencer and Johnson, Leeman's release from incarceration has
caused his instant Petition to become moot since it no longer
presents an existing case or controversy.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED:
1. The Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus is
dismissed as moot.
2. The Clerk of Court is directed to close the case.
3. Based on the Court's decision herein, there is no
basis for the issuance of a certificate of
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