United States District Court, D. New Jersey
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE JUDGE
the Court is Respondent Camden County Correctional
Facility's (“CCCF”) unopposed motion to
dismiss the petition as moot. Motion, Docket Entry 22. For
the reasons stated below, the motion is granted and the
petition is dismissed.
Petitioner was confined as a pretrial detainee at CCCF
beginning on November 16, 2013. On April 22, 2015, he filed a
motion for a prisoner release order pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§ 3626(3) due to allegedly unconstitutional conditions
of confinement at CCCF. Petition, Docket Entry 1.
Petitioner alleged CCCF was overcrowded, which caused him to
suffer “physical injury, increased exposure to other
health concerns (scabies and lice outbreaks), increased
threats of violence and emotional issues which require
medication.” Id. at 1. The Court interpreted
the filed petition as a petition for habeas corpus under 28
U.S.C. § 2241.
After the conclusion of briefing, the Court became aware that
Petitioner had left CCCF and had been placed into the custody
of the New Jersey Department of Corrections at South Woods
State Prison (“SWSP”). January 31, 2017 Order,
Docket Entry 17.
Court ordered Respondent to confirm Petitioner's
whereabouts and to address whether the petition was moot in
light of Petitioner's release. Id.
Respondent filed a letter on February 7, 2017 indicating
Petitioner had been released from CCCF on May 25, 2016.
Certification of Lt. Denita Forrest ¶ 2, Docket Entry
Petitioner wrote to the Court requesting an extension
“of up to a year” to respond to the Court's
Order. Petitioner's Letter, Docket Entry 19. Petitioner
indicated access to the SWSP law library “is once a
week for less than an hour at a session.” Id.
He further indicated he wanted to reserve his right to pursue
further civil action “as though [sic] I am not being
held at [CCCF] does not dismiss the constitutional violations
and damage of distress I have received during the times of
incarceration or pre-trial detainee [sic] at [CCCF].”
Respondent now moves to dismiss the petition as moot due to
Petitioner's release from CCCF. Petitioner did not file a
response to the motion.
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. “The ‘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.'” Chestnut v. Warden Lewisburg
USP, 592 F.App'x 112, 113 (3d Cir. 2015) (omission
in original) (quoting Lewis v. Cont'l Bank
Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 477-78 (1990)).
Petitioner requested the Court to order his release from CCCF
on his own recognizance pending trial due to allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. However,
Petitioner is no longer at CCCF. He has been convicted,
sentenced, and transferred into state prison. “If
developments occur during the course of adjudication that
eliminate a plaintiff's personal stake in the outcome of
a suit or prevent a court from being able to grant the
requested relief, the case must be dismissed as moot.”
Blanciak v. Allegheny Ludlum Corp., 77 F.3d 690,
698- 99 (3d Cir. 1996).
Court can no longer grant the relief Petitioner requested
because he has been released from CCCF.
Even if the petition were not rendered moot by
Petitioner's release from CCCF, he would not be entitled
to a prisoner release order under § 3626. Section 3626
states in relevant part: “In any civil action with
respect to prison conditions, no court shall enter a prisoner
release order unless a court has previously entered an order
for less intrusive relief that has failed to remedy the
deprivation of the Federal right sought to be remedied
through the prisoner release order.” 18 U.S.C. §
This Court has worked with class counsel and counsel for
Camden County in the Dittimus-Bey proceedings for
over a decade and through several Consent Decrees to address
the conditions at CCCF. At the beginning of the litigation,
cells in CCCF designed for two occupants sometimes held three
or four, requiring someone to sleep on the floor. There was
also insufficient ventilation, high ...