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Nixon v. Harper

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

September 25, 2019

MARK A. NIXON Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN ORLANDO HARPER, Respondents.

          Nora Barry Fischer, United States District Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          CYNTHIA REED EDDY, CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         For the reasons that follow, it is respectfully recommended that the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, ECF No. 3, be dismissed as moot.

         II. REPORT

         Mark A. Nixon (“Petitioner” or “Nixon”), was, at the time of filing this case, a state pre-trial detainee, who was incarcerated in the Allegheny County Jail (“ACJ”), awaiting trial in two separate cases pending in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.

         Nixon filed his Petition on May 17, 2019 alleging, inter alia, denial of his right to a speedy trial and ineffective assistance of counsel for “failing to raise speedy trial bail and prompt trial rule and necessary motions on my behalf.” The Court takes judicial notice of the fact that according to the dockets of his criminal cases on August 13, 2019, Petitioner entered a plea and was sentenced that day to 1 year less 1 day to 2 years less 2 days, and was sentenced to time served. Nixon was to be paroled within 48 hours of sentencing.[1] Apparently, that occurred as the Records Officer at ACJ has confirmed that Nixon was released from custody. See also www.vinelink.com, which reflects that Nixon is out of custody.[2]

         Although it has long been established that there is power in the federal courts to consider on habeas corpus the merits of a constitutional challenge to pre-trial detention, Ex parte Royall, 117 U.S. 241, 253 (1886), considerations of federalism counsel strongly against exercising the power except in the most extraordinary circumstances. Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484, 489-91 (1973). Moreover, after the petitioner is convicted, the habeas petition challenging the pretrial custody is rendered moot by the conviction. See, e.g., Clark v. Payne, 341 Fed.Appx. 355, 356 (10th Cir. 2009) (“He filed his petition in the district court while awaiting his state-court trial; however, § 2241 petitions that challenge a defendant's pretrial custody become moot upon the conviction of the petitioner.”); Jones v. Mullen, No. CV 17-1366, 2017 WL 7691900, at *1-2 (W.D. Pa. Dec. 8, 2017), report and recommendation adopted, No. CV 17-1366, 2018 WL 889027 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 14, 2018) (habeas petition seeking pretrial release from custody was dismissed as moot in light of the fact that he was no longer being incarcerated pre-trial, but has now been convicted and sentenced).

         Accordingly, because during the pendency of this Section 2241 habeas Petition, which challenges Nixon's pre-trial custody, he has been convicted and released based upon time served, the Petition is now moot and should be dismissed as such.

         To the extent one is needed, a Certificate of Appealability should be denied as jurists of reason would not find the foregoing debatable.

         III.CONCLUSION

         For the reasons set forth herein, it is respectfully recommended that the Petition be dismissed. To the extent one would be needed, a Certificate of Appealability should be denied because jurists of reason would not find the foregoing debatable.

         Any party is permitted to file Objections to this Report and Recommendation to the assigned United States District Judge. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(d) and 72(b)(2), and LCvR 72.D.2, Petitioner, because his a non-electronically registered party, may file written objections to this Report and Recommendation by October 15, 2019, and Respondents, because they are electronically registered parties, may file written objections by October 9, 2019. The parties are cautioned that failure to file ...


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