Foster v. Warden, was decided by the Fifth Circuit on April 12, 2022.
This appeal presents a question of mootness. A former military prisoner, while serving a term of supervised release, violated a condition of his supervision. After being arrested and while being detained, he brought the current lawsuit and claimed that the condition was unconstitutional. He has been released, and his term of supervision has ended. He continues this suit in part because he has been denied all veterans’ benefits due to the violation of a condition of supervision. Our issue is whether the denial of benefits is a collateral consequence sufficient to avoid finding his claim to be moot now that he has completed his term of supervision. We conclude that it may be, but there was no development of that issue in district court. We therefore VACATE and REMAND to the district court for further proceedings.
Having served nine years of a 15-year sentence to confinement, Foster was paroled. As part of his parole he was required to complete a sex-offender group program. (Success requires admitting the offense.) Allegedly being noncompliant with the program, Foster's parole was revoked and he was arrested and imprisoned. He filed suit alleging that the parole condition was unconstitutional, partly because of the Fifth Amendment claim. His case was dismissed in district court because by then he had been released from confinement. However, Foster maintained the case was not moot because of continuing collateral consequences.
Foster insists that the condition itself was unconstitutional because successfully completing the group treatment sessions required an admission of guilt. Foster claims that this violated his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and he refused to admit guilt so that he could pursue a writ of coram nobis to establish his innocence.
Citing to Lorance, the court remands the case to the district court to fully explore, make a record, and get Government input. The court notes there may be a valid claim that the collateral effects undercut a mootness claim.
The Tenth Circuit held that the pardon did not constitute a legal admission of guilt and that Lorance “sufficiently allege[d] ongoing collateral consequences from his conviction . . . rendering [the case] not moot."
United States v. Foster: Petition den. at CAAF on Feb. 22, 2010. I'm not seeing a CCA report online.
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