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Torres v. Lynch

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 25, 2017

JOHNNY MIKE TORRES, Petitioner,
v.
LORETTA E. LYNCH, Respondent.

          ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

         Petitioner is a federal immigration detainee proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner challenges his continuing detention pending the Ninth Circuit's disposition of his petition for review. As Petitioner received all the process he was due in his bond hearing, the Court finds that denial of the petition for writ of habeas corpus is warranted.

         I.

         BACKGROUND

         Petitioner is a citizen of Belize who was taken into the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) on June 20, 2013, after being arrested by the San Diego Police Department. (ECF No. 15 at 283-85). Petitioner subsequently was placed in removal proceedings as an alien present in the United States without being admitted or paroled, in violation of section 212(a)(6)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(A)(i). (ECF No. 15 at 373). An immigration judge issued an order of removal, and the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) dismissed Petitioner's appeal. Petitioner has filed two petitions for review, which remain pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (ECF No. 1 at 6; ECF No. 17 at 4).[1] On April 15, 2015, the Ninth Circuit granted Petitioner a stay of removal. Order, Torres v. Sessions, No. 14-73356 (9th Cir. Apr. 15, 2015), ECF No. 9.

         On March 15, 2016, Petitioner appeared via video teleconference for a bond hearing before an immigration judge. (ECF No. 15 at 397). Although Petitioner had been unaware that there was a bond hearing scheduled, Petitioner elected to proceed with the hearing that day. (ECF No. 15 at 398). The government provided the immigration judge with Petitioner's Form I-213, which set forth Petitioner's criminal and immigration history, along with the BIA's October 20, 2014 and December 11, 2014 decisions. Petitioner did not object to the immigration judge considering these documents in the bond determination. (ECF No. 15 at 400).

         At the conclusion of the hearing, the immigration judge found the government proved by clear and convincing evidence that Petitioner was a danger to the community and a flight risk. (ECF No. 15 at 416). On April 11, 2016, the immigration judge issued a written decision denying Petitioner bond. (ECF No. 15 at 393-94). Petitioner appealed to the BIA, which affirmed the bond determination on June 21, 2016. (ECF No. 1 at 4; ECF No. 17 at 4).

         On July 18, 2016, Petitioner filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus, challenging his continued detention. (ECF No. 1). On August 29, 2016, Respondent filed a response, requesting that the instant case be related to Torres v. DHS/ICE, No. 1:15-cv-01841-SAB and the petition be dismissed as moot. (ECF No. 8). On March 7, 2017, the Court found that the petition was not moot. (ECF No. 14). Respondent has filed an answer, and Petitioner has filed a traverse. (ECF Nos. 17, 18). The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge. (ECF Nos. 4, 5).

         II.

         DISCUSSION

         “[A] federal district court has habeas jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to review Casas bond hearing determinations for constitutional claims and legal error.” Singh v. Holder, 638 F.3d 1196, 1200 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing Demore v. Kim, 528 U.S. 510, 516-17 (2003)). “Although [8 U.S.C.] § 1226(e) restricts jurisdiction in the federal courts in some respects, it does not limit habeas jurisdiction over constitutional claims or questions of law.” Singh, 638 F.3d at 1202.

         Congress has enacted a complex statutory scheme governing the detention of noncitizens during removal proceedings and following the issuance of a final order of removal. “Where an alien falls within this statutory scheme can affect whether his detention is mandatory or discretionary, as well as the kind of review process available to him if he wishes to contest the necessity of his detention.” Prieto-Romero v. Clark, 534 F.3d 1053, 1057 (9th Cir. 2008). The authority to detain a noncitizen whose removal has been stayed by a court of appeals pending its disposition of his petition for review is found in 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a). Prieto-Romero, 534 U.S. at 1059. Section 1226(a) provides in pertinent part:

On a warrant issued by the Attorney General, an alien may be arrested and detained pending a decision on whether the alien is to be removed from the United States. Except as provided in subsection (c) and pending such decision, the Attorney General-
(1) may continue to detain the arrested ...

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