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Quigg v. Salmonsen

United States District Court, D. Montana, Helana Division

March 18, 2019

GARY L. QUIGG,, Petitioner,



         United States Magistrate Judge John T. Johnston entered his Order and Findings and Recommendations in this case on January 7, 2019 (Doc. 18), recommending Petitioner Gary L. Quigg's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 1) be dismissed as moot. Quigg, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed timely objections. Accordingly, he is entitled to de novo review of those specific issues that are "properly objected to." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3).

         "A party makes a proper objection by identifying the parts of the magistrate's disposition that the party finds objectionable and presenting a legal argument and supporting authority, such that the district court is able to identify the issues and the reasons supporting a contrary result." Mont. Shooting Sports Ass 'n v. Holder, 2010 WL 4102940, at *2 (D. Mont. Oct. 18, 2010) (citation omitted). "It is not sufficient for the objecting party to merely restate arguments made before the magistrate or incorporate those arguments by reference." Id. As the purpose of the magistrate is to promote efficient use of judicial resources, "there is no benefit if the district court[] is required to review the entire matter de novo because the objecting party merely repeats the arguments rejected by the magistrate." Id. (citation omitted). If the objecting party fails to make a proper objection, "this Court follows other courts that have overruled the objections without analysis." Id.

         Absent objection, this Court reviews findings and recommendations for clear error. United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc); Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985). Clear error exists if the Court is left with a "definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed." United States v. Syrax, 235 F.3d 422, 427 (9th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted).

         I. Timeline of Relevant Events

         A timeline of relevant events in this matter is critical to understanding both Judge Johnston's recommendation of dismissal on the grounds of mootness (Doc. 18 at 6-8) and Quigg's objection on the doctrine of "collateral consequences." (Doc. 22 at 2.) Quigg was arrested on September 15, 2015 for violating conditions of his 2006 parole by the state of Montana. (Doc. 1 at 2.) Subsequently, his on-site parole hearing was held at the Yellowstone County Detention Center on September 25, 2015, and a finding of probable cause was made, which allowed for Quigg's transfer to Montana State Prison on October 8, 2015. (Doc. 18 at 3.) Though originally scheduled for October 30, 2015, Quigg's parole revocation hearing was delayed for almost two years, until September 20, 2017. (Id. at 3-4.) The reasons for each specific delay, though germane to Quigg's contentions in his habeas petition, are not relevant to either Judge Johnston's recommendations or Quigg's relevant objections. However, these delays were caused substantially by Quigg's indictment, trial, conviction, and sentencing on three federal methamphetamine distribution charges. (Doc. 4 at 4.) Between December 29, 2015 and July 13, 2017, Quigg was in the custody of the United States Marshals Service while he was tried and sentenced on the federal charges. Id.

         Following his federal sentencing, Quigg was returned to the Montana State Prison where he filed a state habeas petition based on the alleged unconstitutionality of his parole revocation proceedings. This petition was denied on March 13, 2018 by the Montana Supreme Court. Quigg v. Salmonsen, OP 18-0098, OR at 12 (Mont. Mar. 13, 2018). In response to this denial, Quigg filed the petition that is now before this Court on July 2, 2018. Subsequent to riling his habeas petition, Quigg was paroled from Montana State Prison on a federal detainer on October 24, 2018 and began serving his 121-month federal sentence in January of 2019.

         II. Mootness of Quigg's Federal Habeas Petition

         Judge Johnston determined that Quigg's claims were moot because federal courts have limited jurisdiction and there was no ongoing injury that could be redressed by a favorable decision. (Doc. 18 at 7.) Article HI § 2 of the United States Constitution requires a "case or controversy" for justiciability, which requires the proof or presumption of an injury-in-fact. For a matter to be justiciable under Article III of the Constitution, an individual "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. Continental Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 477 (1990). In the criminal context,

"An incarcerated convict's (or a parolee's) challenge to the validity of his conviction always satisfies the case-or-controversy requirement, because the incarceration (or the restriction imposed by the terms of the parole) constitutes a concrete injury, caused by the conviction and redressable by the invalidation of the conviction. Once the convict's sentence has expired, however, some concrete and continuing injury other than the now-ended incarceration or parole-some "collateral consequence" of the conviction-must exist if the suit is to be maintained."

Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998); See, e.g., Carafas v. Lavallee, 391 U.S. 234, 237 (1968). Judge Johnston determined that Quigg's habeas petition was moot because Quigg had been released from state custody to parole on his federal detainer so there was no longer an injury-in-fact that could be redressed by a favorable decision of this Court, and therefore, no case or controversy for the court to resolve. (Doc. 18 at 7.)

         a. Quigg fails to show an injury-in-fact through the doctrine of collateral consequences.

         Quigg objects to Judge Johnston's finding of mootness on the argument that the ongoing "collateral consequences" of his wrongful state parole revocation fulfill Article III's injury-in-fact requirement and that he has presented a case-or-controversy that is redressable by a favorable decision from this Court which makes his claim not moot. The collateral consequence Quigg asserts is that he could have already served or been credited with time served for three years of his federal detention had his parole not been revoked. (Doc. 22 at 2.)

         The United States Supreme Court recognized that collateral consequences could satisfy the ongoing injury requirement in habeas actions because of the reality that a defendant could be required "to bear the consequences of an assertedly unlawful conviction simply because the path ha[d] been so long that he ha[d] served his sentence." Carafas, 391 U.S. at 240; Spencer, 523 U.S. at 8. Though defendants were originally required to specifically identity "concrete disadvantages or disabilities" to argue that collateral consequences defeated mootness, courts now "presume that a wrongful criminal conviction has continuing collateral consequences." Spencer, 523 U.S. at 8. However, the "presumption of collateral consequences (or [the] willingness to accept hypothetical consequences)" has not been extended to parole revocations, and prisoners petitioning on the legality of their parole revocation are required to prove such consequences actually ...

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