United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
May 22, 2014
RUBEN VALERIO MENDEZ, Petitioner,
JEROME WALSH, Superintendent, et al., Respondents.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KAROLINE MEHALCHICK, Magistrate Judge.
On October 4, 2012, the Court received and filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus submitted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 by Petitioner Ruben Valerio Mendez. (Doc. 1). At the time of filing, Mendez was incarcerated at the State Correction Institution in Dallas, Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1). In addition to the petition and attached exhibits, a federal habeas court may take judicial notice of state court records, as well as its own.
In his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, Mendez challenged his June 2010 conviction and August 2010 sentence in the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, for two counts of delivery of a controlled substance, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. Commonwealth v. Mendez, Docket No. CP-54-CR-0001244-2009 (Schuylkill County C.C.P.); Commonwealth v. Mendez, Docket No. CP-54-CR-0001249-2009 (Schuylkill County C.C.P.). On March 10, 2014, this Court issued an Order for the Petitioner to Show Cause within thirty days why the procedurally defaulted claims should be excused. (Doc. 16). Petitioner did not respond to the Order within the allotted time. On March 20, 2014, the Show Cause Order was returned as undeliverable. On May 12, 2014, this Court issued an Order to Show Cause directed at both Petitioner and Respondents, directing the parties to address whether Petitioner is currently in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
On May 21, 2014, Respondents replied indicating that Petitioner completed his sentence with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections on June 28, 2013. (Doc. 22, p. 2). Petitioner was then subject to a detainer entered by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. On February 4, 2014, Petitioner was deported to the Dominican Republic. (Doc. 22-1, p. 9). Petitioner is no longer in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. (Doc. 22). Respondents request that this Court dismiss the instant petition as moot. (Doc. 22).
Mendez has served his full sentence and is no longer in custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. A prisoner may seek federal habeas relief only if he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or federal law. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Moreover, a petition for habeas corpus relief generally becomes moot when a prisoner is released from custody before the court has addressed the merits of the petition. Lane v. Williams, 455 U.S. 624, 631 (1982). As Mendez is no longer in custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, the challenge to his detention is moot.
Based on the foregoing, it is recommended that the petition (Doc. 1) be DISMISSED AS MOOT and the case file be closed.