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Croteau v. Joyner

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

October 30, 2018

Ronald Francis Croteau, Petitioner,
Warden Hector Joyner, Respondent.


         This matter is before the court for review of the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation (“Report”) entered on August 28, 2018 (ECF No. 36). The Report addresses Petitioner Ronald Francis Croteaus's (“Petitioner”) Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (“Habeas Petition”) (ECF No. 1). The Report recommends the court dismiss Petitioner's Habeas Petition as moot, or in the alternative, grant Respondent Warden Hector Joyner's (“Respondent”) Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 17). (ECF No. 36 at 2.) For the reasons stated herein, the court ACCEPTS the Report and DISMISSES Petitioner's Habeas Corpus Petition as moot.


         The Report sets forth the relevant facts and legal standards which this court incorporates herein without a full recitation. (Id. at 1-5.) As brief background, Petitioner, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed his Habeas Petition on March 21, 2018. (ECF No. 1.) Petitioner challenges the change of the date of his halfway-house placement from April 12, 2018, to October 9, 2018. (Id. at 2.) For relief, Petitioner requests “immediate release on April 12, 2018 . . . and transfer to a [h]alfway [h]ouse or . . . [h]ome [c]onfinement program and to be released from there to direct home confinement on [his] [h]ome [d]etention eligibility date of July 26, 2018[, ] ‘NOT' October 9, 2018 . . . .” (Id. At 8.)

         On May 29, 2018, Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss Petitioner's Habeas Petition. (ECF No. 17.) First, Respondent argues Petitioner has failed to exhaust available administrative remedies, as required to pursue habeas relief. (Id. at 6-7.) On the merits, Respondent argues that the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”)

has fulfilled the requirements under 18 U.S.C. §§ 3621(b)[1] and 3624(c)[2] by evaluating [Petitioner] for an RRC placement and/or Home Confinement on an individualized basis using the five factors of § 3621(b). As the [c]ourt has no authority to change the length of [Petitioner's] RRC placement or order [h]ome [c]onfinement, the [Habeas] [P]etition should be denied.

(Id. at 12.)

         Also on May 29, 2018, the Magistrate Judge entered a Roseboro[3] Order, advising Petitioner of the procedure regarding motions to dismiss and the consequences of failing to adequately respond. (ECF No. 18.)

         On June 15, 2018, Petitioner replied to Respondent's Motion (ECF No. 17), asserting several new claims distinct from the claim in his Habeas Petition. (ECF No. 23 at 2-11, 12-17, 19-27.) As to the date of his placement in a halfway house or home confinement-the subject of his Habeas Petition-Petitioner asserts he was entitled to an individualized assessment and that Respondent is “incorrect” about the district court lacking the authority to order Petitioner be placed in a halfway house (Id. at 12, 17-18.)

         On August 8 and 9, 2018, Petitioner filed Motions requesting to stay the proceedings until after Petitioner moved to either a halfway house or his “approved home address.” (ECF Nos. 30 at 1; 31 at 1.)

         On August 28, 2018, the Magistrate Judge entered her Report. (ECF No. 36.) The Magistrate Judge began by noting Petitioner “does not challenge the validity of his conviction. He challenges only the delay of his entry into a ‘[h]alf [w]ay [h]ouse' and the failure to place him in [h]ome [c]onfinement.” (Id. at 4.) The Magistrate Judge found that because Petitioner had been placed in a Residential Reentry Center (“RRC”) after Petitioner filed his Habeas Petition[4]-and prior to the Magistrate Judge entering her Report-“the [c]ourt c[ould] no longer provide Petitioner the relief he seeks, and there is no basis to find that either exception to the mootness doctrine applies.” (Id. at 4-6.) For these reasons, the Report recommends dismissing Petitioner's Habeas Petition as moot. (Id. at 6.)

         In the alternative, the Magistrate Judge recommends dismissing Petitioner's Habeas Petition and granting Respondent's Motion to Dismiss, finding (1) that Petitioner did not exhaust available administrative remedies, nor make a showing of futility, and (2) that “the BOP reviewed Petitioner's RRC placement on an individual basis using the five factors of § 3621(b), . . . a placement decision was made based on Petitioner's record and available space[, ] . . . [and] Petitioner has not shown that this [court] has any authority to set or change [Petitioner's] length of RRC placement.” (Id. at 9, 13.) Additionally, in light of the Magistrate Judge's recommendation to dismiss Petitioner's Habeas Petition as moot, the Magistrate Judge also recommends denying as moot Petitioner's following motions: (1) Motion to Amend/Correct Petition (ECF No. 16); (2) Motion to Supplement (ECF No. 20); (3) Motion to Appoint Standby Counsel (ECF No. 22); (4) Motion to Vacate Void Judgment (ECF No. 26); (5) Motion for Hearing (ECF No. 27); (6) Motion for Default Judgment (ECF No. 29); (7) Motion to Stay pending address change (ECF No. 30); and (8) Motion to Stay (ECF No. 31).

         On September 4, 2018, Petitioner formally notified the court of his change of address from the Federal Correctional Institution in Estill, South Carolina, to Dismas Charities of Orlando in Orlando, Florida. (ECF No. 38 at 1.)

         On September 17, 2018, Petitioner filed an Objection to the Report. (ECF No. 42, 43.)[5]Petitioner objects to: (1) “false accusations without fact, evidence or witnesses to back up this court[']s right to dismiss without prejudice [P]etitioner[']s transfer to [a] RRC facility, as moot, ” (ECF No. 43 at 2); (2) the Magistrate Judge's recommendation to grant Respondent's Motion to Dismiss because “not one of Respondent's oppositions, motions or documents have actual evidence, facts or witnesses signed under oath required by federal rules of procedure to give this court jurisdiction over this subject matter, ” (Id. at 3); and (3) the Magistrate Judge's “recommended denial of [P]etitioner[']s appealability without substance, case law or federal rule to provide insight on wh[ere] [the Magistrate Judge's] constitutional standing comes from to deny . . . [P]etitioner['s] right to redress of his grievance [in] this district court, ” (Id.).

         II. ...

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