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Kaufman v. Robbins


September 20, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Valerie Baker Fairbank United States District Judge


On February 19, 2010, Maik Kaufman ("Petitioner") filed in the District of New Mexico a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in Federal Custody under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. On March 1, 2010, Petitioner filed a First Amended Petition ("FAP"), in which he contends that he is being unlawfully detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"). (Petition at 1.) On June 3, 2010, the case was transferred to the Central District of California.

On September 15, 2010, Respondent filed a Notice Re: Release of Petitioner from Custody ("Notice"), stating that Petitioner was released from custody on September 14, 2010. (Notice at 1.) Respondent argues that Petitioner's release from custody renders the FAP moot and requests that the FAP be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. (Id. at 2.) In support of his request for dismissal, Respondent submits a document entitled "Release Notification," which indicates that Petitioner was released from custody.

The case or controversy requirement of Article III of the Constitution deprives the Court of jurisdiction to hear moot cases. Iron Arrow Honor Soc'y v. Heckler, 464 U.S. 67, 70 (1983); NAACP, Western Region v. City of Richmond, 743 F.2d 1346, 1352 (9th Cir. 1984). "In general, a case becomes moot '"when the issues presented are no longer 'live' or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome."'" Murphy v. Hunt, 455 U.S. 478, 481 (1984) (citations omitted). The Court does not have the power to decide a case that does not affect the rights of litigants in the case before it. Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 477 (1990); DeFunis v. Odegaard, 416 U.S. 312, 316 (1974); Mitchell v. Dupnik, 75 F.3d 517, 528 (9th Cir. 1996). In other words, a petitioner must have suffered an actual injury that is traceable to the respondent and can be redressed by a favorable judicial decision. Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998); NAACP v. Western Region, 743 F.2d at 1353.

In his FAP, Petitioner requested release from detention.*fn1 (FAP at 1.) Because Petitioner now has been released from detention, there is no further relief this Court can provide. Picrin-Person v. Rison, 930 F.2d 773, 775-76 (9th Cir. 1991). Accordingly, this case is moot.

The mootness rule is subject to an exception for matters that are "capable of repetition, yet evading review." See Nebraska Press Assn. v. Stuart, 427 U.S. 539, 546 (1976); GTE California, Inc. v. Federal Communications Comm'n, 39 F.3d 940, 945 (9th Cir. 1994). The exception is met when: (1) the "duration of the challenged conduct is too brief ever to be fully litigated prior to its cessation;" and (2) there is a reasonable probability that the petitioner again will be subject to the challenged activity. Mitchell, 75 F.3d at 528; GTE California, 39 F.3d at 945.

Although Petitioner's confinement is capable of repetition, any future confinement would not be too brief to be fully litigated prior to its cessation because Plaintiff would be able to file another habeas petition concerning any future alleged violation of his liberty interest. Moreover, the Court cannot now determine if any future confinement of Petitioner would violate his constitutional rights because such future confinement necessarily would be based on new events that have not yet occurred. Any fear that ICE may take action against Petitioner in the future does not create a case or controversy because such a case is not ripe for adjudication. See Associated Gen. Contractors v. Coalition for Econ. Equity, 950 F.2d 1401, 1406-07 (9th Cir. 1991).


Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the First Amended Petition be dismissed as moot.


John E. McDermott United States Magistrate Judge

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