United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Petitioner's
“Motion to Vacate Sentence Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255;
Alternative Petition for Relief Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241;
Alternative Petition for Writ of Coram Nobis; and
Alternative Petition for Writ of Audita
Querela.” (Doc. No. 2).
was found guilty following a jury trial of: Count (1),
conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and
distribution of cocaine and cocaine base within 1, 000 feet
of a protected area (21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 851,
860); and Count (4), possession with intent to distribute
cocaine base (21 U.S.C. § 851). (3:99-cr-24, Doc. Nos.
219, 305). The § 851 Notice was based on 1994 and 1995
North Carolina convictions for possession with intent to
sell/deliver cocaine. (Id., Doc. No. 198).
Petitioner was sentenced to life on each count, concurrent,
followed by a total of 10 years of supervised release.
(Id., Doc. No. 305). The Fourth Circuit Court of
Appeals affirmed. United States v. Willoughby, 39
Fed.Appx. 28 (4th Cir. 2002), modified on
reh'g, 41 Fed.Appx. 602. The United States Supreme
Court denied certiorari. Willoughby v. United
States, 123 S.Ct. 1251 (2003).
filed a Motion to Vacate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255,
case number 3:04-cv-77, that was denied and dismissed.
Wall v. United States, 2005 WL 8158022 (W.D. N.C.
June 10, 2005). The Fourth Circuit dismissed Petitioner's
appeal. United States v. Wall, 194 Fed.Appx. 117
(4th Cir. 2006). Petitioner sought reconsideration
in the criminal case which was denied and the Fourth Circuit
affirmed. United States v. Wall, 326 Fed.Appx. 209
(4th Cir. 2009).
sought multiple sentence reductions that were denied.
See (3:99-cr-24, Doc. Nos. 527, 528, 542, 548, 555,
640); see also United States v. Wall, 366 Fed.Appx.
470 (4th Cir. 2010).
then filed a § 2241 habeas petition in the United States
District Court for South Carolina which was dismissed without
prejudice. Wall v. Owens, 2011 WL 704729 (D.S.C.
Jan. 31, 2011), report and recommendation adopted by Wall
v. United States, 2011 WL 703676 (D.S.C. Feb. 22, 2011).
The Fourth Circuit affirmed. Wall v. United States,
438 Fed.Appx. 224 (4th Cir. 2011).
filed the instant case in November 2012, arguing that the
predicate conviction for possession of cocaine was not
punishable by more than one year in prison pursuant to
United States v. Simmons, 649 F.3d 237
(4th Cir. 2011) (en banc), and therefore he should
not have received a mandatory life sentence under § 841.
This Court denied and dismissed relief and Petitioner
appealed. (Doc. No. 5). The parties filed a joint motion to
remand, which the Fourth Circuit granted. (Doc. No. 9). The
Government filed unopposed motions to stay this case pending
the outcome of Surratt v. United States, 14-6851,
then United States v. Wheeler, No. 16-6073, which
were granted. See (Doc. Nos. 14, 16, 18).
President Obama issued an Executive Grant of Clemency on
August 3, 2016, that commuted Petitioner's sentence as of
December 1, 2016, but left intact the term of supervised
release. (3:99-cr-24, Doc. No. 649).
Government filed its Response in opposition to the instant
Petition now that Wheeler is final, 886 F.3d 415
(4th Cir. 2018), certiorari denied 139
S.Ct. 1318. The Government argues that the instant Petition
should be denied as moot because Petitioner has been released
from custody. (Doc. No. 23). Petitioner has not filed a
III, Section 2 of the United States Constitution provides
that federal Courts may adjudicate only live cases or
controversies. See Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp.,
494 U.S. 472, 477 (1990); Nakell v. Attn'y Gen. of
N.C. , 15 F.3d 319, 322 (4th Cir. 1994). This
means that the “litigant must have suffered, or be
threatened with, an actual injury traceable to the defendant
and likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial
decision.” Id. In the context of a habeas
corpus proceeding, the writ “does not act upon the
prisoner who seeks relief, but upon the person who holds him
in what is alleged to be unlawful custody.” Braden
v. 30th Jud'l Cir. Court of Ky., 410 U.S. 484,
494-95 (1973). An incarcerated convict's or parolee's
challenge to the validity of his conviction always satisfies
the case or controversy requirement, but, once a
convict's sentence has expired, some collateral
consequence of the conviction must exist if the suit is to be
maintained. Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7-8
sentence of imprisonment has been commuted and Petitioner has
been released from the Bureau of Prisons' custody.
Petitioner assert no collateral consequences upon which
§ 2255 or 2241 relief should be granted, so no case or
controversy presently exists. See United States v.
Hardy, 545 F.3d 280, 284 (4th Cir. 2008);
see, e.g., Williams v. United
States, 2018 WL 1612203 (W.D. N.C. April 3, 2018).
Because there is no live case or controversy before the
Court, the instant Petition will be dismissed as moot.