Submitted: June 9, 2017
from United States District Court for the Northern District
of Iowa, Waterloo
WOLLMAN, GRUENDER, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.
Taylor McHatten brings the instant appeal arguing that the
district court erred in its recommendation that
McHatten's federal sentence run consecutively to a
yet-to-be-imposed sentence in Iowa state court. During the
pendency of this appeal, the state court case was dismissed.
Because it is not currently possible for McHatten to be
sentenced in the dismissed state court case, her appeal is
dismissed as moot.
was involved in a physical altercation with her neighbor
after her neighbor scolded McHatten's child. This scuffle
culminated in an intoxicated McHatten retrieving a loaded
22-caliber rifle from her house and using the butt end of the
rifle to smash some of the windows located on her
neighbor's door. The neighbor called the police, and
McHatten was arrested.
result, McHatten was indicted in federal court on one count
of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 922(g). McHatten also faced charges arising
from this same conduct in the Iowa District Court for Black
Hawk County, case number FECR209474. The state court
proceeding involved three charges: first degree burglary,
felon in possession of a firearm, and fourth degree criminal
mischief. McHatten subsequently pled guilty to the sole count
in the federal case, and the matter proceeded to sentencing.
district court sentenced McHatten to 64 months imprisonment.
Citing USSG § 5G1.3(c), the district court determined
that this sentence should run concurrently with any sentence
imposed on the state court felon in possession charge. The
court then gave the following recommendation: "Pursuant
to 18 U.S.C. § 3584, it is recommended that the sentence
for the instant offense be ordered to run consecutively to
any term of imprisonment that may be imposed in The Iowa
District Court for Black Hawk County, Case No. . . .
FECR209474 (Counts 1 and 3) . . . ."
brings this appeal arguing that USSG § 5G1.3 requires
the district court to recommend that the federal sentence run
concurrently to any sentence imposed in the identified state
court case because the state and federal charges arose from
the same relevant conduct. While this appeal was pending,
however, Iowa District Court case number FECR209474 was
dismissed without prejudice. We ordered the parties to submit
their views on whether this dismissal impacts McHatten's
appeal, and we now hold that the appeal is moot because we
can award no effectual relief to McHatten.
III of the Constitution limits federal-court jurisdiction to
'cases' and 'controversies.'"
Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 136 S.Ct. 663, 669
(2016) (quoting U.S. Const. art. III, § 2). This
requirement persists throughout all stages of litigation, so
"[i]f an intervening circumstance deprives the plaintiff
of a personal stake in the outcome of the lawsuit, at any
point during litigation, the action can no longer proceed and
must be dismissed as moot." Id. (internal
quotation marks omitted).
United States v. Harris, 669 F.3d 908, 910 (8th Cir.
2012), we dealt with an issue similar to that presented here.
The only substantive argument on appeal was whether the
district court erred in failing to specify that Harris's
"federal sentence was to run concurrently with the
remainder of the undischarged portion of his state
sentence." Id. During the appeal, Harris's
state sentence was discharged, and we held that this rendered
his appeal moot "because there is no effectual relief
available to Harris." Id. "Even if Harris
prevailed on the merits of his argument, " we reasoned,
"no time served since the date of the federal sentencing
could be credited toward Harris's state sentence, because
the state sentence has been discharged." Id.
largely controls the outcome here. The sole issue McHatten
presents on appeal is whether the district court plainly
erred in recommending that her federal sentence run
consecutively to a yet-to-be-imposed state sentence stemming
from the same relevant conduct. However, because the state court
charges have been dismissed, McHatten can no longer be
sentenced in that case. Thus, even if she were to prevail, we
could not order the district court to recommend that her