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Jackson v. Lynch

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

July 17, 2017

PAUL ECCLESTON JACKSON, Petitioner
v.
LORETTA LYNCH, et al., Respondents

          MEMORANDUM

          JAMES M. MUNLEY United States District Judge.

         Paul Eccleston Jackson (“Jackson”), a detainee of the United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, seeking release from his prolonged mandatory detention without a bond hearing. (Doc. 1). Initially, this Court denied the petition. (Doc. 23, pp. 2, 3). Jackson successfully appealed and the matter is presently on remand from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to determine whether Jackson's detention, governed by 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a), is in accord with the statutory and constitutional framework created by Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678 (2001). (Docs. 26, 31).

         For the reasons set forth below, the petition for writ of habeas corpus will be granted and Jackson will be ordered released.

         I. Background

         A. Removal Proceedings

         Jackson, according to ICE documents, is a native and citizen of Jamaica who entered the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident in 1981. (Doc. 16, p. 19). On July 29, 1988, Jackson was convicted in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia of Possession with Intent to Distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841. (Id. at 22). He was ordered deported from the United States on February 2, 1993; he was deported on that same date. (Id. at 23). Subsequent illegal re-entries into the United States resulted in deportations on April 26, 1994, August 8, 1996, and January 29, 2009. (Id.) It appears that he was also charged with Re-entry after Deportation in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326 in 1998. (Id. at 22).

         Most recently, Jackson entered or attempted to enter the United States without being admitted on March 31, 2012. (Id. at 23). Immigration proceedings in Miami, Florida resulted in an April 10, 2012 Order of Removal of Jackson from the United States to Jamaica. (Id. at 25). He waived his appeal of the removal order. (Id.). On July 27, 2012, he pled guilty in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida to Illegal Re-entry after deportation pursuant to 8 U.S.C. §1326(a) and (b)(2), and was sentenced to 52 months imprisonment and remanded to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”). (Id. at 26, 27). On April 10, 2015, following service of his sentence, he was released from BOP custody and placed in ICE custody.

         In December 2015, Jackson filed a motion to reopen his removal proceedings to consider new evidence of his citizenship. (Jackson v. Attorney General of the United States, 3d Cir. No. 17-1318, Petition for Review). The Immigration Judge (“IJ”) denied his request. (Id.) Jackson appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) and, in January 2017, the BIA denied the appeal. (Id.) On February 8, 2017, Jackson filed a Petition for Review in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1252(b) wherein he specifically seeks a determination that he is a citizen of the United States. (Id.) The matter is currently pending.

         B. Federal Court Proceedings

         Jackson first filed in this Court a “Memorandum of Law” bearing the caption of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Court (“Third Circuit Court of Appeals”), pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1252(b)(5), alleging “a claim to United States Nationality Upon a Petition for Review…” on April 24, 2015. (Jackson v. United States, et al., M.D.Pa. Civ. No. 3:15-cv-0812, Doc. 1, p. 1). The matter was construed as a petition for review of a final order of removal and transferred to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in accordance with 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a) (1) and (5), on May 13, 2015. (Id. at Doc. 5). On June 24, 2015, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals granted Respondents' motion to dismiss the petition on the grounds that it did not challenge the final order of removal but, instead, sought direct review of the decision of the Administrative Appeals Office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service to reject, as untimely, Jackson's appeal of the denial of a citizenship application. (Jackson v. Attorney General of the United States, 3d. Cir. No. 15-2085).

         On June 30, 2015, Jackson filed in this Court a “Motion to Declare United States Citizenship, ” wherein he indicated that, after being placed in immigration proceedings in 1988, he contacted the “I.N.S. office” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, informing him that he is the son of a “born U.S. Citizen father, ” but that he never received a response. (Jackson v. United States of America Attorney General, M.D.Pa. Civ. No. 3:15-cv-1281, Doc. 1, p. 2). He also indicated that he raised the issue of his citizenship again during a 1992 deportation hearing. (Id. at 3). This Court concluded that Jackson was seeking a declaration that he is a United States Citizen for purpose of being relieved of a final order of removal, determined that jurisdiction over final orders of removal lies exclusively in the court of appeals pursuant to a petition for review, and on July 14, 2015, transferred the matter to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(1) and (5). (Jackson v. United States of America Attorney General, M.D.Pa. Civ. No. 3:15-cv-1281, Doc. 4). On February 2, 2016, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the issue of Jackson's citizenship did not arise in connection with the removal proceedings and concluded that the district court had jurisdiction to consider the declaratory judgment action and transferred the matter back to this Court. (Jackson v. United States of America Attorney General, M.D.Pa. Civ. No. 3:15-cv-1281, Doc. 5). The government moved for reconsideration. On February 24, 2016, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, issued an order vacating its prior order, in part, and remanding the matter to this Court to explain whether “the issue of [Jackson's] status as a national of the United States . . . arose by reason of, or in connection with any removal proceeding under the provisions of this chapter or any other act.” (Jackson v. United States of America Attorney General, M.D.Pa. Civ. No. 3:15-cv-1281, Doc. 15, citing 8 U.S.C. §1503(a)(1)). On April 22, 2016, this Court determined that it lacked jurisdiction because the issue of Jackson's citizenship arose in connection with his removal proceedings; the action was dismissed. (Jackson v. United States of America Attorney General, M.D.Pa. Civ. No. 3:15-cv-1281, Doc. 21). Jackson appealed. The appeal is currently pending in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. (Jackson v. Attorney General, United States of America, 3d. Cir. No. 16-2121).

         On October 21, 2015, Jackson filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging his alleged unlawful detention while awaiting a decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on his petition for review. (Jackson v. Johnson, M.D.Pa. Civ. No. 3:15-cv-2046, Doc. 1). The petition was denied on October 27, 2015. (Jackson v. Johnson, M.D.Pa. Civ. No. 3:15-cv-2046, Doc. 5). Jackson did not appeal.

         Jackson filed the present petition on December 21, 2015, challenging his alleged unlawful detention. (Doc. 1). An Order entered on April 22, 2016, denying the petition. As noted, supra, Jackson successfully appealed and the matter is presently on remand for purposes of determining the propriety of Jackson's detention. (Docs. 26, 31).

         Most recently, as noted above, on February 8, 2017, Jackson filed a Petition for Review in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals seeking a determination, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1252(d)(5), that he is a citizen of the United States. (Jackson v. Attorney General of the United States, ...


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