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McDole v. Thompson

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

March 29, 2018

CLIFFORD McDOLE, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN THOMPSON, ERIK A. HOOKS, Respondent.

          ORDER

          LOUISE W. FLANAGAN, United States District Judge

         Petitioner, a state inmate, petitions this court for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. This matter is before the court on respondent's motion for summary judgment (DE 15) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, and petitioner's motion for return of original documents (DE 21) and motion to amend petition (DE 22). The motion for summary judgment has been fully briefed and respondent did not respond to petitioner's motions. In this posture, the issues raised are ripe for adjudication. For the following reasons, the court grants respondent's motion for summary judgment, denies petitioner's motion to amend, and grants petitioner's motion for return of documents.

         BACKGROUND

         On May 2, 2015, petitioner was arrested for unspecified charges in Virginia. (Pet'r's Aff. (DE 1-1) at 3). After his arrest, North Carolina authorities lodged a detainer against petitioner because he had pending charges in Currituck County. (See id.) These charges included: (1) breaking or entering a motor vehicle; (2) misdemeanor larceny; (3) felony larceny; and (4) injury to personal property. (See App. (DE 17) Ex. 2). At the time, petitioner also had numerous pending charges in Wake County, North Carolina. (Id. Ex. 3). On or about June 17, 2016, petitioner was extradited from Virginia to North Carolina pursuant to the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act (“IADA”), 18 U.S.C. App. § 2, for trial on his pending charges in Currituck County. (Pet'r's Aff. (DE 1-1) at 3). The Currituck and Wake county district attorneys, however, later dismissed petitioner's charges “without leave [to reinstate]” on or about November 9, 2016 and June 29, 2017, respectively. (Resp't's Mem. (DE 18) at 1; Pet'r's First Resp. (DE 20-1) Ex. A at 6). Thereafter, petitioner was extradited back to Virginia on August 3, 2017, pursuant to a “Capias for Violation of Probation” detainer lodged against him while he was incarcerated in North Carolina. (See App. (DE 17) Ex. 4; Pet'r's First Resp. (DE 20-1) Ex. B at 7).

         On June 19, 2017 (while still in custody in North Carolina), petitioner filed the instant pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner's sole claim for relief is that he is being detained in violation of the IADA because he was not tried on his North Carolina charges within 120 days of the extradition. See IADA, 18 U.S.C. App. § 2, art. IV(c) (providing that when a prisoner is extradited pursuant to the IADA, “trial shall be commenced within one hundred and twenty days of the arrival of the prisoner in the receiving state”). Petitioner seeks “immediate release” from custody.

         DISCUSSION

         A. Summary Judgment

         1. Standard 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. Indus. 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.

         The standard of review for habeas petitions brought by state inmates, where the claims have been adjudicated on the merits in the state court, is set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). That statute states that habeas relief cannot be granted in cases where a state court considered a claim on its merits unless the decision was contrary to or involved an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law as determined by the United States Supreme Court, or the state court decision was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) and (2). A state court decision is “contrary to” Supreme Court precedent if it either arrives at “a conclusion opposite to that reached by [the Supreme] Court on a question of law” or “confronts facts that are materially indistinguishable from a relevant Supreme Court precedent and arrives at a result opposite” to that of the Supreme Court. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 406 (2000). A state court decision “involves an unreasonable application” of Supreme Court law “if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the Supreme] Court's cases but unreasonably applies it to the facts of the state prisoner's case.” Id. at 407. A state court decision also may apply Supreme Court law unreasonably if it extends existing Supreme Court precedent to a new context where it does not apply, or unreasonably refuses to extend existing precedent to a new context where it should apply. Id. The applicable statute

does not require that a state court cite to federal law in order for a federal court to determine whether the state court's decision is an objectively reasonable one, nor does it require a federal habeas court to offer an independent opinion as to whether it believes, based upon its own reading of the controlling Supreme Court precedents, that the [petitioner's] constitutional rights were violated during the state court proceedings.

Bell v. Jarvis, 236 F.3d 149, 160 (4th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 534 U.S. 830 (2001). Moreover, a determination of a factual issue made by a state court is presumed correct, unless rebutted by clear and convincing evidence. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1).

         2. Analysis

         a. Mootness

         Where, as here, a petitioner has been released from custody[1] before the habeas proceedings conclude, “the court must . . . determine if the case is moot.” Taylor v. Huffman, 36 F.3d 1094, 1994 WL 525073, at *1 (4th Cir. 1994) (table). A § 2254 claim becomes moot “when the issues presented are no longer ‘live' or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome.” Leonard v. Hammond, 804 F.2d 838, 842 (4th Cir. 1986). In other words, the petitioner “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 v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998). There are two exceptions to the mootness doctrine in this context: (1) the petitioner, despite his release, suffers collateral consequences as a result of the detention or conviction; and (2) the challenged action is capable of repetition, yet evades review. Leonard, 804 F.2d at 842; see also Murphy v. Hunt, 455 U.S. 478, 482 (1982); Carafas v. LaVallee, 391 U.S. 234, 237 (1968). In Carafas, the United States Supreme Court explained that when a conviction results in collateral consequences - such as the inability to vote, hold elected office, or to engage in certain business enterprises - and those consequences are sufficient to create “‘a substantial stake in the . . . conviction which survives the satisfaction of the sentence[, ]'” the habeas claim is not moot. Carafas, 391 U.S. at 237 (quoting Fiswick v. United States, 329 U.S. 211, 222 (1946)). The capable of repetition yet evading review exception requires: “(1) the challenged action is in its duration too short to be fully litigated prior to its cessation or expiration, and (2) there is a reasonable expectation that the same complaining party would be subjected to the same action again.” Leonard, 804 F.2d at 842; see also Weinstein v. Bradford, 423 U.S. 147, 149 (1975).

         Here, petitioner seeks “immediate release” from custody in North Carolina. As set forth above, however, all of petitioner's pending criminal charges in North Carolina have been dismissed with prejudice and he has been released from custody in North Carolina. Thus, the petition is moot because petitioner no longer has any legally congnizable interest in the outcome. Leonard, 804 F.2d at 842; Taylor, 1994 WL 525073, at *1 (noting federal habeas claim is moot ...


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