200 F.3d 715 (10th Cir. 2000), 98-8086, United StatesA v Meyers

Docket Nº:98-8086
Citation:200 F.3d 715
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DAVID MEYERS, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:January 04, 2000
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

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200 F.3d 715 (10th Cir. 2000)



DAVID MEYERS, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 98-8086

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

January 4, 2000

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming. D.C. No. 95-CR-58-1

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Michael Reese, Wiederspahn, Liepas & Reese, P.C., Cheyenne, Wyoming, for Defendant-Appellant.

David A. Kubichek, Assistant United States Attorney, Casper, Wyoming (David D. Freudenthal, United States Attorney, Casper, Wyoming, on the brief), for Plaintiff/Appellee.

Before LUCERO, HOLLOWAY, and MURPHY, Circuit Judges.

MURPHY, Circuit Judge.


David Meyers appeals the revocation of his supervised release and resulting imprisonment on numerous grounds. The government contends that Meyers' completion of his term of imprisonment resulting from the revocation order renders this appeal moot. This court concludes that Meyers' appeal is indeed moot, thus depriving us of jurisdiction to address the merits of his claims.


On October 5, 1995, in the district court for the District of Wyoming, Meyers was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of marijuana, as well as aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute marijuana. He received a sentence of thirty-three months imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. This court subsequently affirmed his conviction and sentence. See United States v. Meyers, 95 F.3d 1475, 1489 (10th Cir. 1996). Meyers was released from prison on July 28, 1997 under specific terms of supervised release, which included his submission to urinalysis for narcotics.

Three months after Meyers' release from prison, a counselor at Border Area Mental Health Service, Inc. of New Mexico (BAMH) collected from Meyers a urine sample, which tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Meyers later informed Probation Officer James Barela that he would no longer cooperate with BAMH. As a result of these occurrences, on July 29, 1998, Probation Officer John Olive petitioned the district court for the District of Wyoming for revocation of Meyers' supervised release. The petition alleged violations of the following three conditions of Meyers' supervised release: (1) refraining from the purchase, possession, use, distribution or administration of narcotics, controlled substances, or related paraphernalia except as prescribed by a physician; (2) refraining from the use or possession of controlled substances unless prescribed by a medical practitioner licensed in the United States; and (3) participating in drug and alcohol treatment as directed by the U.S. Probation Office.

Identity and detention hearings were then held in the district court for the District of New Mexico in early August of 1998. The district court detained Meyers for commitment to the District of Wyoming. After Meyers was transported to Wyoming, on September 25, 1998 the district court for the District of Wyoming held a joint preliminary and revocation hearing, at which Meyers represented himself, though appointed counsel was present. The district court found the petition true, revoked Meyers' release, and sentenced him to nine months imprisonment.

Meyers then appealed the district court's revocation order, asserting the following five grounds for reversal:1 (1) the

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district court erred by allowing Meyers to represent himself at the revocation hearing without determining whether his waiver of counsel was knowing and intelligent; (2) the district court erred by failing to provide a prompt preliminary hearing; (3) the district court erred by denying Meyers an opportunity to examine two adverse witnesses at the revocation hearing; (4) there was insufficient evidence presented at the revocation hearing to support the district court's finding that Meyers violated terms of his release; and (5) the government waived its right to revoke Meyers' release because it unreasonably delayed seeking revocation after the alleged violation. In May of 1999, however, while this appeal was pending, Meyers completed the term of imprisonment imposed as a result of the revocation. He is now out of prison, under no further terms of probation or supervised release.


Before a court addresses the merits of an appeal, it must first determine whether in fact it has jurisdiction over that appeal. Article III of the United States Constitution only extends federal judicial power to cases or controversies. U.S. Const. Art. III, § 2, cl. 1. "This case-or-controversy requirement subsists through all stages of federal judicial proceedings, trial and appellate." Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 477 (1990). An appellant seeking relief "must have suffered, or be threatened with, an actual injury traceable to the [appellee] and likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision [by the appeals court]." Id. Thus, when the injury for which an appellant seeks judicial relief disappears or is resolved extrajudicially prior to the appellate court's decision, the appellant can no longer satisfy the Article III case or controversy jurisdictional requirement and the appeal is moot. See Burke v. Barnes, 479 U.S. 361, 363 (1987).

When an incarcerated criminal defendant appeals his conviction, the ongoing incarceration constitutes an injury from which the defendant seeks relief in satisfaction of Article III. See Spencer v. Kemna, 118 S.Ct. 978, 983 (1998). If, however, that same defendant completes his sentence prior to the appellate court decision, the court must determine whether sufficient collateral consequences flow from the underlying judgment and the completed sentence to save the appeal from mootness. See id. In Spencer, the Supreme Court acknowledged, though with some level of discomfort, its prior jurisprudence establishing a presumption of sufficient collateral consequences when a defendant who has already served his...

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