Foster v. Warden, et al, No. 20-10841 (5th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
A former military prisoner violated a condition of his supervision. After being arrested and while being detained, he brought the current lawsuit claiming that the condition he violated was unconstitutional. He has been released, and his term of supervision has ended. He has been denied all veterans’ benefits due to the violation. The court addressed whether the denial of the benefits is a collateral consequence sufficient to avoid finding his claim to be moot now that he has completed his term of supervision.
Plaintiff argues that his claims remain viable because of collateral consequences resulting from his alleged violation of the special condition. The Department of Veterans Affairs notified him that his benefits were terminated because he was a “fugitive felon”. The VA stated to Plaintiff that he would have to provide evidence showing that he was not a fugitive felon to resume his benefits.
The court explained that there is little authority on whether the denial of VA benefits would be a collateral consequence sufficient to defeat an otherwise moot habeas petition. The loss of VA benefits due to his violation of the condition challenged in his petition may be an ongoing collateral consequence that prevents this case from being moot. However, the court stated while some of Plaintiff's claims are moot they cannot make a holding in the absence of briefing from the government. Thus, the court remanded the issue for the district court to consider.