United States District Court, D. New Jersey
May 2, 2005.
GEORGE M. ALEXANDER, Petitioner,
C.J. DEROSA, et al., Respondents.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: FREDA WOLFSON, Magistrate Judge
Petitioner George M. Alexander filed a Petition for a Writ of
Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging his pre-release
placement date and the calculation of his good conduct time
("GCT"). Respondents filed an Answer, arguing inter alia,
that the GCT claim should be dismissed because the Bureau of
Prisons ("BOP") correctly calculated Petitioner's GCT, and that
the pre-release custody claim should be dismissed as moot because
BOP placed Petitioner in a community corrections center ("CCC")
on October 8, 2004. The Court will sua sponte dismiss the entire Petition as moot because Petitioner was released from
the custody of the BOP on February 4, 2005.
At the time he filed the Petition and until February 4, 2005,
Petitioner was serving a federal sentence of 72 months imposed on
February 4, 2000, by the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Ohio. According to the BOP, Petitioner was
eligible under 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b) to receive 54 days of GCT per
year, based on the time he actually served in prison. See
28 C.F.R. § 523.20. Petitioner argued that, by calculating his GCT
based on time served, as opposed to the sentence imposed, BOP was
depriving him of the opportunity to earn additional GCT, to which
he was statutorily entitled under 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b). Petitioner
maintains that § 3624(b) authorized him to earn 54 days for each
year of the sentence imposed and that BOP erred by allowing him
to earn only 54 days for each year served. He seeks a writ of
habeas corpus directing BOP to recalculate his GCT based on 54
days per year of the sentence imposed. In addition, Petitioner
challenged the BOP's failure to place him in a CCC for the last
six months of his sentence.
On October 8, 2004, BOP transferred Petitioner to the Oriana
Comprehensive Sanction Center CCC in Cleveland, Ohio. On February
4, 2005, BOP released Petitioner from custody upon expiration of
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c), habeas jurisdiction "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). A federal court has subject matter
jurisdiction under § 2241(c)(3) if two requirements are
satisfied: (1) the petitioner is "in custody" and (2) the custody
is "in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the
United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3); Maleng v. Cook,
490 U.S. 488, 490 (1989); 1 James S. Liebman & Randy Hertz, Federal
Habeas Corpus Practice and Procedure § 8.1 (4th ed. 2001). The
federal habeas statute requires that the petitioner be in custody
"under the conviction or sentence under attack at the time his
petition is filed." Lee v. Stickman, 357 F.3d 338, 342 (3d Cir.
2004) (quoting Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S. 488, 490-91 (1989)).
"Section 2241 is the only statute that confers habeas
jurisdiction to hear the petition of a federal prisoner who is
challenging not the validity but the execution of his sentence."
Coady v. Vaughn, 251 F.3d 480, 485-486 (3d Cir. 2001). A
petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in
the district where the prisoner is confined provides a remedy
"where petitioner challenges the effects of events `subsequent'
to his sentence." Gomori v. Arnold, 533 F.2d 871, 874 (3d Cir.
This Court has subject matter jurisdiction under § 2241 to
consider the instant Petition because the Petition challenges the
duration of Petitioner's confinement in the custody of BOP and
Petitioner was in the custody of BOP at the time he filed the
Petition. See Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1 (1998). The
question here is whether BOP's release of Petitioner upon
expiration of his 72-month sentence of imprisonment caused the
Petition to become moot because it no longer presents a "case or
controversy" under Article III, § 2, of the United States
Constitution. See Spencer, 523 U.S. at 7; DeFunis v.
Odegaard, 416 U.S. 312, 316 (1974); Chong v. Dist. Dir., INS,
264 F.3d 378, 383 (3d Cir. 2001). The exercise of judicial power depends upon the existence of a
case or controversy because Article III of the Constitution
limits the judicial power of federal courts to "cases or
controversies" between parties. U.S. CONST. art. III, § 2. "This
"case-or-controversy requirement subsists through all stages of
federal judicial proceedings, trial and appellate. . . . The
parties must continue to have `a personal stake in the outcome'
of the lawsuit." Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472,
477-78 (1990). "This means that, throughout the litigation, the
plaintiff must have suffered, or be threatened with, an actual
injury traceable to the defendant and likely to be redressed by a
favorable judicial decision." Spencer, 523 U.S. at 7 (citation
and internal quotation marks omitted).
In Spencer v. Kemna, supra, the Supreme Court considered
whether a habeas petition challenging the revocation of the
petitioner's parole became moot when the petitioner's sentence
expired. The Court explained that, because the reincarceration
that the petitioner incurred as a result of the allegedly
wrongful termination of his parole was over and the petitioner
had not proved the existence of "collateral consequences" of the
parole revocation, the petition was moot. See also Preiser v.
Newkirk, 422 U.S. 395, 402 (1975) (prisoner's complaint for
declaratory and injunctive relief challenging his transfer from
medium to maximum security prison without explanation or hearing
became moot after he had been transferred back to minimum
security prison and a notation had been placed in his file
stating that the transfer should have no bearing in any future
determinations, insofar as there is now "no reasonable
expectation that the wrong will be repeated").
In this case, Petitioner challenges the calculation of his GCT
and the date for placement in a CCC. It is undisputed that BOP
released Petitioner from its custody on February 4, 2005, upon the expiration of his term of imprisonment. When the
government released Petitioner from custody the Petition became
moot because Petitioner was no longer threatened with "an actual
injury traceable to the [respondent] and likely to be redressed
by a favorable judicial decision." Spencer, 523 U.S. at 7; see
also United States v. Johnson, 529 U.S. 53 (2000) (statute
addressing supervised release does not permit court to reduce
period of supervised release even where BOP miscalculated term of
imprisonment). Accordingly, the Court dismisses the Petition as
For the reasons set forth above, the Court dismisses the
Petition as moot.
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