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
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. No. 1).
pled guilty in criminal case number 3:00-cr-222 to: Count
(1), conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute powder
and crack cocaine (21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 846,
851); Count (8), possession of a firearm during and in
relation to a drug trafficking offense (18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1)); and Count (9), possession of a firearm by a
convicted felon (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)). See
(3:00-cr-222, Doc. No. 106). The § 851 Notice was based
on Petitioner's 1998 conviction for possession with
intent to sell and deliver marijuana under North Carolina
law. (Id., Doc. No. 14).
Court sentenced Petitioner to 180 months' imprisonment
for Count (1) and 120 months for Count (9), concurrent, and
60 months for Count (8), consecutive, for a total of 240
months' imprisonment, followed by a total of five years
of supervised release. (Id.). The Fourth Circuit
Court of Appeals dismissed Petitioner's appeal.
(Id., Doc. No. 111).
filed a Motion to Vacate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255,
case number 3:03-cv-451, that was dismissed. Petitioner filed
a second § 2255 Motion to Vacate, case number
3:06-cv-24, that was also dismissed.
filed the instant case pursuant to § 2241 and,
alternatively, pursuant to §§ 2255 and 1651,
arguing that the predicate conviction for his sentencing
enhancement 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). The
Court denied the Petition as an unauthorized successive
§ 2255 on August 19, 2013, but the Fourth Circuit
remanded at the parties joint request for further proceedings
on November 26, 2013. See (Doc. No. 8). On remand,
the Government filed a Response conceding that Petitioner
should be resentenced because the minimum mandatory is
inapplicable. See (Doc. No. 11). 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. 13, 15, 17).
on December 30, 2014, Petitioner filed a sealed Motion for
Sentence Reduction in the criminal case that was granted on
January 14, 2015. (3:00-cr-222, Doc. Nos. 203-04).
Petitioner's sentence was reduced from 240 months to time
served plus 10 days and he was released from the Bureau of
Government has 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 relief should be
denied as moot because Petitioner has been released from
custody. (Doc. No. 22). Petitioner has not filed a Reply.
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 was reduced to time served plus 10 days and he was
released from the Bureau of Prisons' custody. He asserts
no collateral consequences upon which § 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 § 2241 Petition will
be dismissed as moot.
foregoing reasons, Petitioner's § 2241 Petition is
dismissed as moot. IT ...