United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
DOUGLAS E. MILLER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Michael Jose Roberts ("Petitioner" or
"Roberts") filed a pro se habeas petition pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, seeking to have his Bureau of
Prisons ("BOP") record altered so that he could be
housed in a lower security facility during the remainder of
his federal sentence for distributing heroin. Because
Roberts's recent custody reclassification as a
"minimum security inmate" has mooted his claims,
the undersigned recommends that Respondent's Motion to
Dismiss be GRANTED and that the Petitioner's habeas
petition be DENIED and DISMISSED.
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
15, 2018, Roberts filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus,
requesting that the Court order certain information contained
in his BOP record be removed because it prejudiced his
ability to obtain a better custody classification. The
erroneous classification, he argued, prevented him from being
able to transfer to a minimum security camp during the
remainder of his sentence. Pet. (ECF No. 1 at 5-7).
August 20, 2018, FCC Petersburg's Complex Case Management
Coordinator "reduced Roberts's 'custody
classification' to 'high' to make him a
'minimum security inmate' eligible for a camp."
Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss (ECF No. 11 at 1). Once Roberts's
security level was reclassified to "minimum
security," consideration of his potential transfer
"to a lower level institution" was required. Mem.
1-2 (citing Ex. 3, BOP Program Statement P5100.07 ch. 7, p.
3) ("[I]f an inmate in a Low security level institution
is reclassified to Minimum security, the case must be
referred for transfer or application of a Management
September 17, 2018, Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss for
Lack of Jurisdiction, Mot. Dismiss (ECF No. 10), arguing that
in light of his recent reclassification, Roberts had received
his requested relief. Mem. 1. In his Memorandum, Respondent
warned Roberts that if he chose to transfer to a camp at this
point during his sentence, Roberts would "forfeit a
reduction in his sentence" for his current participation
in the RDAP program. Mem. 2. Petitioner did not file a
response, and the time to respond has since expired.
doctrine of justiciability recognizes that federal
jurisdiction is proper over active cases or controversies.
U.S. Const, art. Ill. § 2. Mootness, a subset of this
doctrine, requires that such cases or controversies be
"live" and that the parties possess "a legally
cognizable interest in the [case's] outcome" so that
such cases may be properly adjudicated. See Powell
v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486, 496 (1969). Where
an "intervening factual . . . event effectively
dispel[s] the case or controversy ... the federal courts are
powerless to decide the questions presented." Ross
v. Reed. 719 F.2d 689, 693-94 (4th Cir. 1983). Such
cases are rendered moot, and courts lack jurisdiction to
decide them. Id.
claim in his § 2241 habeas petition is moot because
Roberts has already obtained his requested relief and no
longer has a legally cognizable interest in the case's
outcome. In his Petition, Roberts claimed that
"erroneous," "incomplete, inaccurate,"
and "egregious information" in his BOP record
disqualified him from obtaining a lower custody
classification. Pet. (ECF No. 1 at 5). Specifically, he
argued that the mention of the death of another in connection
with his drug distribution charges, although not used to
compute his guideline calculation, was preventing him from
obtaining a better security classification. Pet. (ECF No. 1
result of his custody reclassification on August 20, 2018,
however, Roberts became a "'minimum security
inmate' eligible for a camp," and his case required
referral to evaluate transfer to a "minimum security
level institution." Mem. (ECF No. 11 at 1-2) (citing Ex.
3, BOP Program Statement P5100.08 ch. 7, pp. 3, 8-9). Now
that Roberts has become eligible to transfer to a minimum
security camp, the relief he requested in his Petition has
been obtained, and the court has no authority to provide any
further relief. His claim has been rendered moot by the
two primary exceptions to the mootness doctrine exist,
neither applies in this case. The first exception pertains to
issues that are "capable of repetition, yet evade
review." Spencer v. Kemna. 523 U.S. 1, 17
(1998). Such issues arise only where "(1) the challenged
action [is] in its duration too short to be fully litigated
prior to cessation or expiration, and (2) there [is] a
reasonable expectation that the same complaining party [will]
be subject to the same action again." Id.
(alterations in original) (internal quotation marks omitted)
(quoting Lewis v. Cont'l Bank Corp.. 494 U.S.
472, 481 (1990)). Here, Roberts's claims satisfy neither
of these criteria. First, his claims are not such that the
duration between their introduction and expiration will
always evade review. See Id. at 18 (holding that the
mootness exception did not apply because Petitioner had not
shown that "the time between parole revocation and
expiration of sentence is always so short as to evade
review"). And second, considering that petitioner
received his desired reclassification despite the language
contained in his BOP file, it is unlikely that he will be
confronted with the same issue a second time. See Murphy
v. Hunt. 455 U.S. 478, 482-83 (1982) (indicating that
this prong of the exception requires that Petitioner show a
"reasonable expectation" or "demonstrated
probability" that he will be subject to the same course
second exception is the "collateral consequences"
doctrine. It applies frequently in habeas challenges where
"some of the consequences of a felony conviction . . .
remain, despite the fact that the defendant has been released
from jail." Samsung Elecs. Co. v. Rambus. Inc.,
398 F.Supp.2d 470, 477 (E.D. Va. 2005) (quoting Horizon
Bank & Trust Co. v. Massachusetts. 391 F.3d
48, 54 (1st Cir. 2004)). Because Roberts's petition did
not challenge his underlying felony, and because he has
received the security reclassification he requested, this
exception does not apply.
neither exception to the mootness doctrine applies, and
Roberts's request that his BOP file be amended to exclude
certain language he requested in his § 2241 petition is