IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
January 27, 2009
ERIC HAILSTOCK, PETITIONER
WARDEN JERRY MARTINEZ, RESPONDENT
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Rambo
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
On November 10, 2008, Petitioner Eric Hailstock ("Hailstock"), a individual formerly incarcerated at the Allenwood Low Security Correctional Institution in White Deer, Pennsylvania ("LSCI-Allenwood"), filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 1.) In his § 2241 petition, Hailstock alleges that his constitutional rights were violated in the context of a disciplinary proceeding. Hailstock seeks restoration of ten (10) days of good conduct time and the expungement of his disciplinary record. A response was filed on December 8, 2008. (Doc. 6.) A review of the Bureau of Prisons' website indicates that Hailstock was released from custody on December 24, 2008, at the expiration of his sentence of confinement.*fn1 For the reasons set forth below, the § 2241 petition will be dismissed as moot.
Pursuant to 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 (1990); United States v. Kissinger, 309 F.3d 179, 180 (3d Cir. 2002) (finding that an actual controversy must exist during all stages of litigation). When a habeas petitioner challenges his underlying conviction, and he is released during the pendency of his habeas petition, federal courts presume that "a wrongful criminal conviction has continuing collateral consequences" sufficient to satisfy the injury requirement. Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 8 (1998); see Steele v. Blackman, 236 F.3d 130, 134 n.4 (3d Cir. 2001). However, when a petitioner does not attack his conviction, the injury requirement is not presumed. Chong v. District Director, I.N.S., 264 F.3d 378, 384 (3d Cir. 2001). "[O]nce a litigant is unconditionally released from criminal confinement, the litigant [can only satisfy the case-and-controversy requirement by] prov[ing] that he or she suffers a continuing injury from the collateral consequences attaching to the challenged act," Kissinger, 309 F.3d at 181, "that is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision," Spencer, 523 U.S. at 7. Consequently, in the absence of continuing collateral consequences, a federal district court does not have jurisdiction to review moot habeas claims. North Carolina v. Rice, 404 U.S. 244, 246 (1971) ("[m]ootness is a jurisdictional question"); Chong, 264 F.3d at 383--84.
In the instant case, Hailstock's claim does not address his underlying conviction. Further, a search of the Bureau of Prisons' website indicates that Hailstock was released from custody on December 24, 2008. Hailstock's challenge is only to his entitlement to restoration of good conduct time and the expungement of his disciplinary record. Thus, he cannot allege any continuing collateral consequences. See Lane v. Williams, 455 U.S. 624, 631, 33 (1982) ("Since respondents elected only to attack their sentences, and since those sentences expired during the course of these proceedings, this case is moot[;] . . . no live controversy remains"); Scott v. Schuylkill FCI, No. 07-4494, 2008 WL 4768854, at *2 (3d Cir. Nov. 8, 2008).*fn2 By failing to demonstrate continuing collateral consequences, Hailstock has failed to satisfy Article III's case-and-controversy requirement. See Spencer, 523 U.S. at 7; Chong, 264 F.3d at 383--84. Therefore, the court will dismiss this petition as moot.
ACCORDINGLY, this 27th day of January, 2009,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT the petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1) is DISMISSED AS MOOT. The Clerk of Court is directed to CLOSE this case.
SYLVIA H. RAMBO United States District Judge