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Wiggins v. Stancil

United States District Court, D. Colorado

September 18, 2019

RONALD WIGGINS, Applicant,
v.
M.A. STANCIL, Warden, Respondent.

          ORDER DENYING APPLICATION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          R. BROOKE JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on an Application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. # 1), filed pro se, by Ronald Wiggins, on June 7, 2019. Respondent filed a Response to Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus on August 6, 2019. (Doc. # 16). Applicant filed a “Traverse” (Reply) on August 19, 2019. (Doc. # 21). Having considered the parties filings, the Court dismisses the Application for the reasons discussed below.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On February 6, 2004, Applicant was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois to a 240-month term of imprisonment for bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). (Doc. # 16-1; Declaration of Cassandra Grow, ¶ 3, and attach. 1). Applicant’s projected release date is September 13, 2020, via good conduct time. (Id.).

         On October 2, 2018, Applicant was found guilty in a prison disciplinary proceeding of aiding in the assault of another person (Code 201), in connection with Incident Report No. 3157619. (Application at 3; Grow Decl., ¶ 4 and attach. 1). He was sanctioned with, inter alia, the loss of 27 days of good conduct time. (Application at 3). Applicant claims in the § 2241 application that the prison disciplinary proceeding did not comport with the requirements of due process. (Id. at 3-6). For relief, he asks that: (1) the prison disciplinary conviction be vacated; (2) 27 days of forfeited good-time credits be restored; and, (3) his custody classification be changed from “high” to “medium.” (Id. at 8).

         In August 2019, after Applicant filed his § 2241 application, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) expunged the prison disciplinary conviction and restored the 27 days of forfeited good-time credits. (Grow Decl. ¶¶ 5-6 and attach. 2, 3).

         Respondent asserts that the § 2241 Application is now moot to the extent Applicant requests expungement of the disciplinary conviction and the restoration of forfeited good-time credits. (Doc. # 16 at 2-3). Respondent further contends that Applicant’s request for a change in his custody classification should be denied because he does not have a constitutionally-protected liberty interest in his custody classification. (Id. at 3).

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. Habeas Corpus Actions

         The remedy of habeas corpus is available when a prisoner is “in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c). A section 2241 habeas proceeding is “an attack by a person in custody upon the legality of that custody, and . . . the traditional function of the writ is to secure release from illegal custody.” McIntosh v. U.S. Parole Common, 115 F.3d 809, 811 (10th Cir.1997) (quoting Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 484 (1973)). Prison disciplinary proceedings that result in the deprivation of good-time credits may be challenged in a ' 2241 proceeding. McIntosh, 115 F.3d at 811-12.

         B. Pro Se Litigant

         Applicant is proceeding pro se. The court, therefore, “review[s] his pleadings and other papers liberally and hold[s] them to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys.” Trackwell v. United States, 472 F.3d 1242, 1243 (10th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted); see also Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520–21 (1972). However, a pro se litigant's “conclusory allegations without supporting factual averments are insufficient to state a claim on which relief can be based.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir.1991). A court may not assume that an applicant can prove facts that have not been alleged or that a respondent has violated laws in ways that an applicant has not alleged. Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983). An applicant’s pro se status does not entitle him to an application of different rules. See Montoya v. Chao, 296 F.3d 952, 957 (10th Cir. 2002).

         C. Mootness

         “To invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court, a litigant must have suffered, or be threatened with, an actual injury traceable to the defendant and likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision.” Lewis v. Cont'l Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 477 (1990). At all stages of the case, the parties must have a “personal stake in the outcome’ of the lawsuit. Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998) (quoting Lewis, 494 U.S. at 477-78). “This means that, throughout the litigation, the plaintiff must have suffered, or be threatened with, an actual injury traceable to the defendant and likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision.” Lewis, 494 U.S. at 477 (internal quotation marks omitted). “A habeas corpus petition is moot when it no longer presents a case or controversy under Article III, § 2, of the Constitution.” Aragon v. Shanks, 144 F.3d 690, 691 (10th Cir.1998) (citing Spencer, 523 U.S. at 7). See also Rhodes v. Judiscak, 676 F.3d 931, 933 (10th Cir. 2012) (concluding that habeas petition was moot where the petitioner no longer suffered an actual injury that could be redressed by a favorable judicial ...


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