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CA2 Habeas Victory! - Black v. Decker

May 31, 2024 (1 min read)

Black v. Decker

"These tandem appeals arise from habeas petitions brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 by legal permanent residents Carol Williams Black, in No. 20-3224 (Schofield, J.), and by Keisy G.M., in No. 22-70 (Cronan, J.). As directed by 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c), the government detained Black and G.M. pending their removal proceedings: Black, for seven months, and G.M., for twenty-one months. Neither had a bond hearing when first detained or during detention. Section 1226(c) mandates detention for noncitizens who are charged with removability based on certain prior convictions or on allegations of involvement with terrorism. As grounds for habeas relief, Black and Williams each asserted that the prolonged detentions without any bond hearing violated their Fifth Amendment due process rights. The district court adjudicating Black’s petition granted relief, and he was released; the district court adjudicating G.M.’s petition denied relief. (He was later released for pandemic-related reasons.) Because each remains subject to possible detention, their appeals are not moot. On de novo review, we conclude that the constitutional guarantee of due process precludes a noncitizen’s unreasonably prolonged detention under section 1226(c) without a bond hearing, and that Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319 (1976), supplies the proper framework for determining when and what additional procedural protections are due. In Black’s case, we conclude that the district court properly required the government to show, at such a hearing, the necessity of his continued detention by clear and convincing evidence; it also correctly directed the IJ, in setting bond and establishing appropriate terms for potential release, to consider Black’s ability to pay and alternative means of assuring appearance. We therefore affirm the district court’s judgment granting habeas relief as to Black. As to G.M., we conclude that his detention had become unreasonably prolonged and accordingly reverse the district court’s judgment denying habeas relief. AFFIRMED, with respect to No. 20-3224, and REVERSED, with respect to No. 22-70."

[Hats off to Adedayo Idowu, Amy Belsher, Guadalupe Aguirre, Terry Ding, Christopher Dunn, Julie Dona, Aadhithi Padmanabhan, Laura Kokotailo, Estelle M. McKee, Fei Deng, Jordyn Manly and Emma Sprotbery!  Listen to the oral argument here.]