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Camara v. Galloway

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

March 29, 2018

JERRY GALLOWAY, Caldwell County, Mo. Sheriff and JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, Attorney General, Respondents.



         Mohammed Camara petitions this Court for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2441, seeking release from the custody of United States Department of Homeland Security officials (Doc. 1). The Government opposes Petitioner's request and moves to dismiss his petition for lack of jurisdiction or for failure to state a claim (Doc. 3).[1] For the following reasons, the Government's motion is denied and Petitioner is granted an evidentiary hearing.


         Camara is a native and citizen of Sierra Leone. Camara entered the United States using fraudulent identification documents on June 1, 2002. On March 13, 2008, an immigration judge ordered Camara removed from the United States because he missed a hearing in New York in 2006.[2] On June 21, 2010, Camara was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) and later on August 8, 2010, Camara was interviewed by the embassy of Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone decided it would not issue Camara a travel document, which is required for repatriation. Due to ICE's inability to obtain travel documents, on September 20, 2010, Camara was released from custody pursuant to an Order of Supervision.

         Camara has been under order of removal for approximately ten years. From the time of his release in 2010 until his re-arrest in 2017, Camara was under an order of supervision which required him to report regularly to ICE officials. Camara complied with the reporting requirements. Camara alleges he has cooperated with ICE's efforts to remove him, including communicating with the Sierra Leone embassy and completing the necessary travel document forms.

         On or around June 16, 2017, [3] Camara was taken into custody by ICE at his place of employment. On June 20, 2017, ICE submitted a new request to the Sierra Leone embassy for travel documents for Camara.

         Camara filed this petition on January 25, 2018, alleging that he has been detained in excess of the 90-day limit under 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(3), and the presumptively reasonable 180-day timeframe under Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678 (2001) (holding detention in excess of 180 days may be unconstitutional if there is a showing that there is no significant likelihood of removal in the reasonably foreseeable future).

         On February 20, 2018, the Sierra Leone embassy again interviewed Camara, this time by video conference. Defendant alleges that on March 6, 2018, an unknown person from the Sierra Leone embassy told ICE officials that they would be willing to issue travel documents for Camara, but required a money order. The Government alleges ICE is currently completing this requirement and that once Camara's travel document is received, he will be removed within ten to fifteen days.

         The parties agree that in recent years, repatriating aliens to Sierra Leone has been difficult. Nationwide, ICE has had extreme difficulty in securing travel documents for those ordered removed to Sierra Leone. Although Sierra Leone is bound by an international treaty to help facilitate the removal of its nationals, there are often disputes as to whether the individual is in fact a citizen of Sierra Leone. Even when there is no dispute, Sierra Leone regularly refuses to comply with such requests. In this case, the Government notes Sierra Leone has not always been prompt or consistent in responding to ICE's requests for travel documents for Camara.

         The parties dispute whether Camara has ever been charged with an offense in this country. The Government contends Camara was detained in Johnson County, Kansas, for an unspecified charge. Camara states he was cited for a traffic offense in 2010 and failed to appear at a hearing because he was in ICE's custody. Camera states once he provided paperwork of his detainment, his case was dismissed. Camera also provides weak evidence, a printout from the Johnson County court's website, that outside the 2010 traffic offense, he has never been charged with a crime in Johnson County, Kansas. The Government only alleges that his detainment in 2017 occurred shortly after his release from the Johnson County, Kansas Sheriff's office after serving time for local charges.

         Defendant moves to dismiss Camara's petition because it argues the Court lacks jurisdiction or alternatively, because Camara's petition fails to state a claim for relief. The Government included an affidavit in its motion to dismiss and Camara included other attachments in his response.[4]


         “[T]he essence of habeas corpus is an attack by a person in custody upon the legality of that custody, and . . . the traditional function of the writ is to secure release from illegal custody.” Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 484 (1973). “Writs of habeas corpus may be granted by the Supreme Court, any justice thereof, the district courts and any circuit judge within their respective jurisdictions.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(a). However, “[t]he writ of habeas corpus shall not extend to a prisoner unless . . . [h]e is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). A writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is a proper method for challenging the lawfulness of continued detention by immigration authorities pending removal of an alien. Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678, 699 (2001).

         When considering a motion to dismiss, the court assumes the factual allegations of a complaint are true and construes the facts in favor of the plaintiff. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 326 (1989). To avoid dismissal, the complaint must include “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is ...

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