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Soma Reddi v. Craig Lowe

April 13, 2011

SOMA REDDI,
PETITIONER
v.
CRAIG LOWE, WARDEN, PIKE
COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY;
THOMAS DECKER, FIELD OFFICE
DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND
SECURITY, IMMIGRATION AND
CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT; AND UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT
OF HOMELAND SECURITY,
IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS
ENFORCEMENT, RESPONDENTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Munley

MEMORANDUM

Before the court for disposition is the petition for a writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 1) and an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order (Doc. 2). The respondents have provided their response and the matter is ripe for disposition.

BACKGROUND

Petitioner Soma Reddi ("Petitioner") is a citizen and native of Guyana. (Petition at 3 (Doc. 1)). Petitioner entered the United States on August 17, 1987 with a temporary visitor visa, allowing him to remain for six months until February 16, 1988. (Immigration Judge Decision, Ex. A, (Doc. 11-1)).

On March 24, 1998 Petitioner applied for asylum. (Id. at 1). On November 24, 1999, the immigration judge denied the application and granted Petitioner voluntary departure. (Id. at 19-20; Pet. at 4). Petitioner did not comply with the voluntary departure order, but appealed the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") on December 15, 1999. (BIA Decision, Ex. B (Doc. 11-2); Pet. at 5). The BIA denied Petitioner's appeal on April 2, 2002, extending Petitioner's order of voluntary departure until May 2, 2002. (BIA Decision, Ex. B (Doc. 11-2); Pet. at 5).

On November 3, 2007, Petitioner married a naturalized U.S. citizen. (Pet. at 5). On October 29, 2010, Petitioner requested that United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") file a joint motion with Petitioner to reopen his removal decision. (ICE Decision, Ex. C (Doc. 11-3)). ICE denied that request on December 1, 2010.(Id.)

On March 9, 2011 ICE took Petitioner into custody. (Pet. at 3-4). Petitioner is currently held at the Pike County Correctional Facility pending his removal. (Id.) Petitioner indicates that he has refused ICE's requests that he sign travel documents. (Pet. at 6).

On March 11, 2011 Petitioner filed a "Motion to Reopen Removal Proceedings and Emergency Motion for Immediate Stay of Removal" with the BIA. (Mot. to Reopen, Ex. D (Doc. 11-4); Pet. at 6-7). On March 16, 2011, Petitioner filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus and an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order. (Docs. 1, 2). Through his petition, Petitioner requests that this court "issue a writ of habeas corpus to release him from his detention in the custody of the United States Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement ('DHS-ICE')" and "set reasonable conditions for release of petitioner from his detention in federal custody." (Pet. at 2). Specifically, the Petitioner requests that the court "[g]rant release of petitioner from custody, to be replaced by electronic monitoring or regular reporting, or any other feasible alternative[.]" (Pet. at 8). Through his emergency motion for a temporary restraining order, Petitioner requests that the court enjoin Respondents from moving Petitioner. (Doc. 2).

On March 17, 2011, we ordered the Respondents to respond to the petition for a writ of habeas corpus. (Doc. 3). The response was filed on March 25, 2011 and the Petitioner filed a reply on April 4, 2011, bringing the case to its present posture. (Docs. 11, 14).

JURISDICTION

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and thus have a continuing duty to satisfy themselves of jurisdiction before addressing the merits of a case. Packard v. Provident Nat'l Bank, 994 F.2d 1039, 1049 (3d Cir. 1993) cert denied sub nom Upp v. Mellon Bank N.A., 510 U.S. 964 (1993). In fact, it is to be presumed that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Moreover, federal courts have the obligation to address the question of subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte. Meritcare Inc. v. St. Paul Mercury Ins. Co., 166 F.3d 214, 217 (3d Cir. 1999).

The court has jurisdiction over the petition for a writ of haeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c) because Petitioner challenges his detention. See Bonhometre v. Gonzales, 414 F.3d 442, 445-46 n.4 (3d Cir. 2005) ("An alien challenging the legality of his detention still may petition for habeas corpus. See H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 109-72, at 175 (2005).").

DISCUSSION

The Respondents argue that we should deny the petition because Petitioner's detention is lawful and mandatory. Respondents argue that Petitioner is still within his removal period, and that detention ...


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