United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Susan D. Wigenton, United States District Judge
before the Court is the pro se petition for a writ
of habeas corpus of Petitioner, Jean L., filed pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241. (ECF No. 1). As Petitioner has paid the
appropriate filing fee, this Court is required to screen the
petition pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases, applicable to § 2241 petitions through Rule
1(b), and determine whether it “plainly appears from
the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is
not entitled to relief.” For the reasons set forth
below, this Court will deny the petition without prejudice.
is a native citizen of Haiti who apparently became a lawful
permanent resident of the United States in 1993. (ECF No. 1
at 3). In May 2006, petitioner pled guilty to possession of a
controlled dangerous substance in violation of N.J. Stat.
Ann. § 2C:35-10(a)(1), for which he received a sentence
of time served and two years' probation. (Id.).
On June 8, 2018, immigration officials took Petitioner into
immigration custody, apparently based on his 2006 criminal
conviction, and placed him into removal proceedings.
(Id.). Since that time, Petitioner has remained
detained pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c) based on his
prior drug conviction. (Id. at 3-4).
10, 2018, Petitioner appeared for his initial immigration
court appearance, at which point he was denied bond as the
immigration judge concluded he was subject to mandatory
detention pursuant to § 1226(c). (Id. at 4).
Petitioner thereafter filed an application for cancellation
of removal, which remains pending at this time.
28 U.S.C. § 2241(c), habeas relief may be extended to a
prisoner only when he “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 jurisdiction over such a petition if the petitioner is
“in custody” and the custody is allegedly
“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). As
Petitioner is currently detained within this Court's
jurisdiction, by a custodian within the Court's
jurisdiction, and asserts that his continued detention
violates due process, this Court has jurisdiction over his
claims. Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998);
Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court, 410 U.S. 484,
494-95, 500 (1973); see also Zadvydas v. Davis, 533
U.S. 678, 699 (2001).
to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases,
applicable to Section 2241 petitions through Rule 1(b), the
courts are required to preliminarily review habeas petitions
and determine whether it “plainly appears from the
petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not
entitled to relief.” Pursuant to this rule, a district
court is “authorized to dismiss summarily any habeas
petition that appears legally insufficient on its
face.” McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856
Petitioner is properly subject to detention under 8 U.S.C.
first claim, Petitioner attempts to assert that immigration
officials were deprived of the authority to hold him pursuant
to § 1226(c) because he was not taken into immigration
custody for more than a decade after his probationary
sentence expired. In making that argument, Petitioner
acknowledges that his claim is contrary to the basic holding
the applicable binding precedent in this Circuit, Sylvain
v. Attorney Gen. of the United States, 714 F.3d 150,
157-160 (3d Cir. 2013), but asserts that Sylvain
should not apply because the delay here was six years longer
than that discussed in Sylvain. In Sylvain,
the Third Circuit held that even if § 1226(c) calls for
the Government to detain an alien “when the alien is
released” from criminal custody, “nothing in the
statute suggests that immigration officials lose authority if
the delay.” Id. at 157. The Third Circuit
explained this conclusion as follows:
We reach this conclusion for a number of reasons. First and
foremost is the text: the government's authority to
impose mandatory detention does not depend on its compliance
with the “when ... released” deadline. The text
states that immigration officials “shall take into
custody any alien who [has committed various crimes] when the
alien is released.” 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c)(1). The
text does not explicitly remove that authority if an alien
has already left custody. We are loath to interpret a
deadline as a bar on authority after the time has passed -
even when the word “shall” appears in the text.
See Cyberworld Enter. Tech. v. Napolitano, 602 F.3d
189, 197 (3d Cir. 2010).
This principle of statutory interpretation descends from a
long line of Supreme Court precedents. See, e.g.,
Barnhart v. Peabody Coal Co., 537 U.S. 149, 161
(2003); United States v. Nashville, C & St. L.
Ry., 118 U.S. 120, 125 (1886). In these cases, the
Court has explained that “a statute directing official
action needs more than a mandatory ‘shall' before
the grant of power can sensibly be read to expire when the
job is supposed to be done.” Barnhart, 537
U.S. at 161[.] In other words, “a provision that the
Government ‘shall' act within a specified time,
without more, [is not] a jurisdictional limit precluding
action later.” Id. at 158, 161-63(concluding
that a provision stating that the ...