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Fomai v. Chertoff

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


June 20, 2008

ROMEO FOMAI, PETITIONER,
v.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, MICHAEL MUKASEY, ROBIN F. BAKER, AND JOHN A. GARZON RESPONDENTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Irma E. Gonzalez, Chief Judge United States District Court

ORDER: (1) GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS (Doc. No. 2.); (2) GRANTING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL (Doc. No. 3); and (3) ORDERING RESPONDENTS TO SHOW CAUSE WHY PETITIONER'S REQUEST FOR HABEAS CORPUS RELIEF PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2241 SHOULD NOT BE GRANTED (Doc. No. 1).

Presently before the Court are a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, and a motion for appointment of counsel filed by Romeo Fomai ("petitioner"). (Doc. Nos. 1-3.) Petitioner is a Western Samoan national and has been held in immigration custody since December 11, 2006. (Id. at 3.) An immigration judge ordered petitioner removed from the United States to Western Samoa on November 26, 2007. (Id.) Respondents have been unable to obtain travel documents in the seven months since his final order of removal, and thus petitioner argues his removal is not foreseeable and his continuing detention impermissible. (Id. at 3.)

Based on the information contained in petitioner's declaration and the certified copy of petitioner's trust account statement, the Court hereby GRANTS plaintiff's motion for in forma pauperis standing.

Petitioner also moves for appointment of counsel pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3006A. The Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., is ready and able to assist petitioner in this matter. (James Fife Declaration at 1-3.) Section 3006A(a)(2)(b) provides that when the Court determines that "the interests of justice so require," the Court may appoint counsel for financially eligible individuals who are seeking relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Having carefully considered the arguments raised in petitioner's motion, the Court finds the appointment of counsel is appropriate in this case. The Court therefore GRANTS petitioner's motion for appointment of counsel and APPOINTS Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. to represent him.

Upon receipt of the petition, and finding that the matter is not appropriate for summary disposition, the Court furthermore ORDERS respondents to show cause why the petition should not be granted. Respondents shall have until July 28, 2008 to file and personally serve an answer to the petition. Petitioner may file a traverse by no later than August 18, 2008. Unless the Court orders otherwise, the matter will be taken under submission and decided without oral argument. Local Rule 7.1(d)(1).

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20080620

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