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Garza-Villanueva v. McAleenan

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Brownsville Division

April 26, 2019

JOSE MAURICIO GARZA-VILLANUEVA, PETITIONER
v.
KEVIN MCALEENAN ET AL., RESPONDENTS

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Ignacio Torteya, III United States Magistrate Judge

         Before the Court is Jose Mauricio Garza-Villanueva's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (hereinafter, Garza-Villanueva's “Petition”). Dkt. No. 1. For the reasons provided below, it is recommended that the Court summarily DENY Garza-Villanueva's request for attorney's fees and costs and DISMISS his Petition as moot.

         I. Jurisdiction

         This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.

         II. Statement of the Case

         Garza-Villanueva filed his Petition on April 22, 2019. Dkt. No. 1. At that time, he was a federal pretrial detainee awaiting trial in United States v. Garza-Villanueva, No. 1:16-cr-449-1.[1] The complaint in his criminal case alleged that he was an alien who had reentered the country illegally, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a)(1)(b)(1). CR Dkt. No. 1 at 1. Although he has since been released (see CR Dkt. No. 55), Garza-Villanueva's Petition took issue with his pretrial detention, claiming that it violated his constitutional rights to due process and equal protection. Dkt. No. 1 at 6-11. In addition to seeking his release, Garza-Villanueva's Petition asked that he be awarded his attorney's fees, court costs, and any other relief deemed appropriate by the Court. Id. at 11.

         Until yesterday, the final pretrial conference in his criminal case was set for May 28, 2019. CR Minute Entry dated April 2, 2019. However, yesterday afternoon, the Government filed a Motion to Dismiss Indictment “for the reason that [Garza-Villanueva] is a citizen of the United States.” CR Dkt. No. 54. The Court granted the Government's Motion and closed Garza-Villanueva's criminal case. Dkt. No. 55. Garza-Villanueva has been released from custody and is no longer in pretrial detention.

         III. Discussion

         A. Garza-Villanueva's Requests for Relief.

         Garza-Villanueva's Petition primarily sought his immediate release. Dkt. No. 1 at 5, 11. This request is now moot as his criminal case has been dismissed and he is no longer in pretrial detention. See CR Dkt. No. 55. His Petition also seeks his attorney's fees and court costs. Id. As detailed below, a review of Garza-Villanueva's Petition and supporting submissions makes it clear that the Court should summarily deny Garza-Villanueva's request for attorney's fees and costs.

         B. Summary Dismissal

         Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases requires a district court to summarily dismiss a habeas petition without first requiring a response if it “plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief[.]” See Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts. Rule 4's summary dismissal procedure applies to § 2241 petitions pursuant to Rule 1(b) of the Habeas Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. See Rule 1(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts (“The district court may apply any or all of these rules to a habeas corpus petition not covered by Rule 1(a).”). See also Poff v. Smith, No. 4:18-CV-00759, 2018 WL 2746579, at *1 (S.D. Tex. May 11, 2018) (citing Rule 1(b) and Boutwell v. Keating, 399 F.3d 1203, 1211, n.2 (10th Cir. 2005) for the proposition that the Rule 4 summary dismissal procedure applies to § 2241 petitions), report and recommendation adopted, No. 4:18-CV-759, 2018 WL 2725458 (S.D. Tex. June 5, 2018); Rodriguez v. Rabner, No. CV 18-4431 (JLL), 2018 WL 2059551, at *1 (D.N.J. May 3, 2018) (noting the Rule 4 summary dismissal procedure is “applicable to § 2241 through Rule 1(b)”); Winkelman v. Longley, No. CIV.A. 11-240E, 2011 WL 5859414, at *1 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 3, 2011) (“Courts have used Rule 4 of the habeas corpus rules to summarily dismiss facially insufficient habeas petitions brought under § 2241[ .]”), report and recommendation adopted, No. 1:11-CV-240-SJM-MPK, 2011 WL 5864086 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 22, 2011), aff'd, 462 Fed.Appx. 181 (3d Cir. 2012) (citations and quotations omitted). Thus, if it is clear from the face of Garza-Villanueva's Petition and accompanying exhibits that he is not entitled to relief, this Court may summarily dismiss his petition. See Id. See also Dietz v. Bouldin, 136 S.Ct. 1885, 1892, 195 L.Ed.2d 161 (2016) (noting that “district courts have the inherent authority to manage their dockets and courtrooms with a view toward the efficient and expedient resolution of cases.”) (collecting cases).

         C. Garza-Villanueva's Misuse of 28 U.S.C. § 2241.

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3), a district court has the authority to entertain a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by a petitioner claiming to be “‘in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.'” Reese v. Warden PhiladelphiaFDC, 904 F.3d 244, 246 (3d Cir. 2018) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3)). Still, a district court should not exercise its habeas powers unreservedly. Id. (citing Munaf v. Geren, 553 U.S. 674, 693 (2008)). In Reese v. Warden Philadelphia FDC, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held, as a matter of first impression, that a federal pretrial detainee's request for release could “only be considered under the Bail Reform Act and not under a § 2241 petition for habeas relief.” Id. at 245. The Reese Court explained that, ...


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