July 22, 2018

Tenth Circuit: Challenge to Length of Prison Sentence is Moot when No Longer in Prison and Seeking Shortened Supervised Release Term

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Rhodes v. Judiscak on Wednesday, July 27, 2011.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. Petitioner challenges only the length of his prison sentence, but he concedes he is no longer in prison. Although he remains subject to a long term of supervised release, the Court cannot issue a judgment on his § 2241 petition that will shorten his supervised release term. Petitioner has not asked a district court to reduce his term of supervised release under § 3583(e)(1), but merely asserts that, if he were to pursue such a remedy, it might be helpful for him to have something from the Court saying his sentence was too long. But Petitioner’s petition “overlooks the principle that to defeat mootness ‘it must be the effect of the court’s judgment on the defendant that redresses the plaintiff’s injury, whether directly or indirectly.'” There is nothing the Court can do to aid Petitioner, and any opinion would be advisory; there is no judgment the Court could render that would assist him in a future challenge to his supervised release. This petition is moot, but Petitioner will get a chance to ask for a judgment for a shorter term of supervised release.

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