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Cottrell-Romero v. Holder

United States District Court, C.D. California, Southern Division

August 18, 2014

ERIC HOLDER, Jr., et al., Respondents.


JOSEPHINE L. STATON, District Judge.



On May 6, 2013, petitioner, while in the custody of the United States Department of Homeland Security, filed a "Writ of Habeas Corpus, Release from Detention" pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. In the Petition, petitioner sought release from custody on the ground that she was being wrongly detained during removal proceedings. Petitioner also sought a stay of removal pending adjudication of the instant Petition. (Petition at 18, 21-23[1]). On June 27, 2013, respondent filed an Answer. On August 13, 2013, the Magistrate Judge ordered petitioner to file a Reply by September 12, 2013. The August 13, 2013, Order was returned to the Court with the notations "attempted - not known" and "unable to forward." (Docket No. 8). On July 24, 2014, the Magistrate Judge ordered the parties, by August 4, 2014, to file supplemental briefing addressing "their respective positions as to whether any of petitioner's grounds for relief set forth in the Petition are moot." (Docket No. 11). The July 24, 2014, Order mailed to petitioner was returned to the Court with a stamped notation that petitioner was "no longer in custody." (Docket No. 12). To date, petitioner has not provided her current address to the Court. On August 14, 2014, respondent filed an untimely Response to the Magistrate Judge's Order, in which it indicates that petitioner was removed from the United States on November 20, 2013. Exhibit 1 to Response.



Petitioner's case should be dismissed as moot, as it appears that she is no longer in federal custody. A case becomes moot when "it no longer present[s] a case or controversy under Article III, § 2, of the Constitution." Spencer v. Kemna , 523 U.S. 1, 7, 118 S.Ct. 978, 140 L.Ed.2d 43 (1998). In order to satisfy the case-or-controversy requirement, the parties must have a personal stake in the outcome of the suit through "all stages of federal judicial proceedings." United States v. Verdin , 243 F.3d 1174, 1177 (9th Cir. 2001). If it appears that the Court is without power to grant the habeas relief requested by a petitioner, the case is moot. See Picrin-Peron v. Rison , 930 F.2d 773, 775 (9th Cir. 1991). As petitioner challenged the lawfulness of her detention, and she is now no longer in custody as indicated by the returned mail to the Court and respondent's representations, the Court is without power to grant the relief petitioner requested in the Petition - i.e., that petitioner "be released immediately from [Department of Homeland Security] custody either without bond or on an order of supervision." (Petition at 22). Thus, petitioner's case has been rendered moot. See, e.g., Riley v. I.N.S. , 310 F.3d 1253, 1256-57 (10th Cir. 2002) (finding that a petitioner did not meet any of the exceptions to the mootness doctrine, and thus that his release from detention under an order of supervision mooted his challenge to the legality of his extended duration); see also Abdala v. I.N.S. , 488 F.3d 1061, 1064-65 (9th Cir. 2007) ("For a habeas petition to continue to present a live controversy after the petitioner's release or deportation, ... there must be some remaining collateral consequence' that may be redressed by success on the petition.") (citation omitted).

Additionally, petitioner's failure to inform the Court of her current address in and of itself warrants dismissal. Local Rule 41-6 states:

A party proceeding pro se shall keep the Court and opposing parties apprised of such party's current address and telephone number, if any, and e-mail address, if any. If mail directed by the Clerk to a pro se plaintiff's address of record is returned undelivered by the Postal Service, and if, within fifteen (15) days of the service date, such plaintiff fails to notify, in writing, the Court and opposing parties of said plaintiff's current address, the Court may dismiss the action with or without prejudice for want of prosecution.

Since August 2013, the Orders sent by the Court to petitioner have been returned as undelivered. Petitioner has not apprised the Court of a new address, and in fact has not had any contact with the Court since May 2013, when she filed the instant Petition.

In light of the foregoing, the Court finds that dismissal of the Petition is appropriate. IT IS THEREFORE ...

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