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Sanchez v. Hunt

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

June 27, 2017



          LOUISE W. FLANAGAN United States District Judge.

         The matter now is before the court on respondents' respective motions for summary judgment (DE 10) and motion to dismiss (DE 16). Petitioner responded to the motion for summary judgment, but did not respond to the motion to dismiss. In this posture, the issues raised are ripe for adjudication. For the following reasons, the court grants respondents' respective motions.


         Petitioner, a state inmate incarcerated at Columbus Correctional Institution, pleaded guilty in the Durham County Superior Court to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 94-122 months imprisonment. (Resp't's Appx. (DE 12), Ex. 2). On December 14, 2016, the United States Department of Homeland Security United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) issued an immigration detainer. (Id. Ex. 3). The detainer provided petitioner notice of ICE's intent to assume custody of petitioner after petitioner's release from incarceration because petitioner may be subject to removal from the United States under federal immigration law. (Id. Ex. 3).

         In the interim, and prior to the issuance of petitioner's detainer, petitioner filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus pro se raising claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his state court conviction, and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging his immigration detainer. Petitioner named Nora Hunt (the “State respondent”) and ICE (the “federal respondent”) as respondents in this action. In his petition, petitioner alleged the following claims: (1) violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the right to a Speedy Trial pursuant to the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution because the ICE detainer has been in place for two years without resolution; (2) violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution because the ICE detainer rendered him ineligible for promotion to minimum custody, work release, family visits, educational programs, career opportunities, and extra-curricular activities; and (3) ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney failed to advise him of the immigration-related collateral consequences of his guilty plea.

         On December 16, 2016, the State respondent filed the instant motion for summary judgment. The State respondent first argued that the instant action should be transferred to the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina pursuant to an inter-jurisdictional agreement. The State respondent additionally argued that petitioner's claims are without merit and that petitioner failed to exhaust his state court remedies prior to filing the instant action.[1] The motion was fully briefed.

         On December 22, 2016, the federal respondent filed the instant motion to dismiss. The federal respondent moved to dismiss petitioner's first claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. As for petitioner's second and third claims, the federal respondent states that such claims related to the execution of and validity of petitioner's state conviction. Accordingly, the federal respondent defers to the State respondent's arguments as to petitioner's remaining two claims. Petitioner did not respond to the federal respondent's motion.


         A. Standards of Review

         Summary judgment is appropriate when there exists no genuine issue of material fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). The party seeking summary judgment bears the burden of initially coming forward and demonstrating an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party then must affirmatively demonstrate that there exists a genuine issue of material fact requiring trial. Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). There is no issue for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the non-moving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.

         A Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss challenges the court's subject matter jurisdiction, and the petitioner bears the burden of showing that federal jurisdiction is appropriate when challenged by the respondent. McNutt v. Gen. Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936); Adams v. Bain, 697 F.2d 1213, 1219 (4th Cir. 1982). Such a motion may either 1) assert the complaint fails to state facts upon which subject matter jurisdiction may be based, or 2) attack the existence of subject matter jurisdiction in fact, apart from the complaint. Bain, 697 F.2d at 1219. Under the former assertion, the moving party contends that the complaint “simply fails to allege facts upon which subject matter jurisdiction can be based.” Id. In that case, “the [petitioner], in effect, is afforded the same procedural protection as he would receive under a Rule 12(b)(6) consideration.” Id. “[T]he facts alleged in the complaint are assumed true, and the motion must be denied if the complaint alleges sufficient facts to invoke subject matter jurisdiction.” Kerns v. United States, 585 F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 2009). When the respondent challenges the factual predicate of subject matter jurisdiction, a court “is to regard the pleadings' allegations as mere evidence on the issue, and may consider evidence outside the pleadings without converting the proceeding to one for summary judgment.” Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac R. Co. v. United States, 945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991). The nonmoving party “must set forth specific facts beyond the pleadings to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists.” Id.

         As for respondent's motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) determines only whether a claim is stated; “it does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Republican Party v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992). A claim is stated if the complaint contains “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). In evaluating whether a claim is stated, “[the] court accepts all well-pled facts as true and construes these facts in the light most favorable to the [petitioner], ” but does not consider “legal conclusions, elements of a cause of action, . . . bare assertions devoid of further factual enhancement [, ] . . . unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments.” Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd. v., Inc., 591 F.3d 250, 255 (4th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted). In other words, this plausibility standard requires a petitioner to articulate facts that, when accepted as true, demonstrate that the petitioner has stated a claim that makes it plausible he is entitled to relief. Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009) (internal quotations omitted). On a motion to dismiss, courts “may properly take judicial notice of matters of public record.” Philips v. Pitt Cnty. Mem'l Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir. 2009).

         B. Analysis

         1. ...

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