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Sloan v. BOP

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

June 24, 2019

ALAN TODD SLOAN, Petitioner,
v.
BOP, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM

          Patricia L. Dodge, United States Magistrate Judge.

         Pending before the Court[1] is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus [ECF No. 1] filed by former federal prisoner Alan Todd Sloan ("Petitioner") under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the petition as moot.

         I.

         In 2004, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina sentenced Petitioner to a term of 188 months of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. The Federal Bureau of Prison ("BOP") is the agency responsible for implementing and applying federal law concerning the computation of federal sentences. See, e.g., United States v. Wilson, 503 U.S. 329 (1992). It determined that Petitioner's federal sentence would expire on May 13, 2019.

         On December 28, 2018, Congress passed the the First Step Act of 2018 ("First Step Act"), Publ. L. No. 115-391, 132 Stat. 5194 (2018). Among other things, the First Step Act altered the method by which the BOP must calculate the Good Conduct Time ("GCT") credits for federal inmates.

         On March 1, 2019, the Clerk of Court received and docketed Petitioner's § 2241 habeas petition. Section 2241 provides, in relevant part, that "[t]he writ of habeas corpus shall not extend to a prisoner unless…[h]e is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States[.]" 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). It confers subject matter jurisdiction upon a federal prisoner's custodial court to hear challenges to the BOP's "execution of" the prisoner's sentence. See, e.g., Cardona v. Bledsoe, 681 F.3d 533, 535 (3d Cir. 2012); Woodall v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 432 F.3d 235, 243 (3d Cir. 2005) (defining "execution of" the sentence to mean "to 'put into effect' or 'carry out.'"); Coady v. Vaughn, 251 F.3d 480, 485 (3d Cir. 2001). Petitioner claimed that he was entitled to an additional 110 days of GCT under the First Step Act and that, therefore, the BOP's calculation of his release date was incorrect. As relief, he sought an order from the Court directing the BOP to immediately release him from its custody.

         The BOP filed its answer [ECF No. 13] on April 24, 2019, in which it asserted that the Court should dismiss the petition because Petitioner did not exhaust his administrative remedies and/or because the pertinent parts of the First Step Act had not yet taken effect and, therefore, Petitioner's claim is not ripe for review. Petitioner had 30 days, until May 24, 2019, to file a reply. LCvR 2241.D.2. He did not file one. By that date, the BOP had released him from its custody[2] because he had served his term of incarceration as calculated under the pre-First Step Act statute. Petitioner's failure to file a reply and to update his address of record[3] indicates to the Court that he no longer wishes to continue litigating this case. In any event, because the BOP released him from custody on May 13, 2019, his petition is moot and the Court must dismiss it for that reason.

         It is a well-established principle that federal courts do not have jurisdiction to decide an issue unless it presents a live case or controversy as required by Article III, § 2, of the Constitution. Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998). "'To invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court, a litigant must have suffered, or be threatened with, an actual injury traceable to the defendant and likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision.'" Burkey v. Marberry, 556 F.3d 142, 147 (3d Cir. 2009) (emphasis added) (quoting Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 477 (1990), which cited Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 750-51 (1984) and Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church & State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 471-73 (1982)). "The case or controversy requirement continues through all stages of federal judicial proceedings, trial and appellate, and requires that parties have a personal stake in the outcome." Id. (citing Lewis, 494 U.S. at 477-78). Thus, if developments occur during the course of adjudication that eliminate a petitioner's personal stake in the outcome of a suit or prevent a court from being able to grant effective relief, the case must be dismissed as moot. Id. at 147-48; Keitel v. Mazurkiewicz, 729 F.3d 278, 280 (3d Cir. 2013).[4]

         In this case, Petitioner's requested relief was an order from the Court directing the BOP to immediately release him. The BOP released him on May 13, 2019. As a result, there is no longer any case or controversy before the Court and, therefore, this case is moot. Spencer, 523 U.S. at 18 ("[M]ootness, however it may have come about, simply deprives us of our power to act; there is nothing for us to remedy, even if we were disposed to do so.")

         II.

         For the foregoing reasons, the Court will dismiss the petition for a writ of habeas corpus with prejudice because it is moot.

         An appropriate Order follows.[5]

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