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Ameyapoh v. Mumford

United States District Court, D. Maryland

November 7, 2017

KOFFI AMEYAPOH, #A076-130-849, Petitioner



         Petitioner Koffi Ameyapoh, a citizen of Togo, filed this habeas action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging his detention in immigration custody pending completion of proceedings seeking his removal from this country. Ameyapoh seeks immediate release and argues the length of his detention surpasses the presumptively reasonable period of time for detention pending removal under Demore v. Kim, 538 U.S. 510 (2003).[1] ECF 1.

         Respondent, the Warden of the Worcester County Detention Center, through counsel, argues that Ameyapoh has received all the due process and relief to which he is entitled, and seeks dismissal of the petition as moot, noting that Ameyapoh is now subject to a final order of detention and that his post-removal order detention is reasonable. ECF 4 & 12. Ameyapoh has filed an opposition response to the motion (ECF 15), [2] and respondent has filed a reply. ECF 20. A hearing is not needed to resolve the case. See Loc. Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For reasons stated herein, the petition shall be DENIED and DISMISSED.[3]


         The following facts are uncontested. Ameyapoh is a native and citizen of Togo. He entered the United States on August 29, 1994, as a student F-1 visitor. ECF 1, p. 8; ECF 1-1, pp. 3, 11. On November 14, 2000, after marriage to a United States citizen, he adjusted his status to conditional permanent resident status. Id. Ameyapoh's spouse withdrew the petition, and on June 9, 2004, Ameyapoh's status was terminated. ECF 1-1, pp. 3, 11 & 12. Ameyapoh and his wife divorced in January of 2005. ECF 1, p. 8.

         Petitioner was convicted in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland, in 2006 of sexual abuse of a minor, two counts of second-degree rape, and four counts of third-degree sexual offense. ECF 1, p. 8, ECF 1-1, pp. 11-12. He was sentenced to 15 years' incarceration. Id. His appeal of the criminal convictions was denied. ECF 1, p. 8.

         On March 13, 2007, based upon these convictions, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charged Ameyapoh with removability pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 237(a)(2)(A)(iii), § 237(a)(1)(D)(i), and § 237(a)(2)(A)(ii). ECF 1, p. 8, ECF 1-1, p. 3.

         During his removal hearing before the immigration court, on February 17, 2010, Ameyapoh admitted he was removable under INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(iii) for his convictions relating to rape or sexual abuse of a minor but denied removability under the other two INA provisions. ECF 1-1, p. 12. The immigration court found Ameyapoh removable under INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(iii). Id.

         Subsequently, Ameyapoh successfully petitioned for post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County and his convictions were vacated. Id.; ECF 1, p. 9. As a result of the vacating of Ameyapoh's convictions, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) remanded the case to the immigration court, noting that the immigration court had not addressed DHS's charge that Ameyapoh was removable under § 237(a)(1)(D)(i) due to termination of his lawful permanent resident status on a conditional basis and that such a charge, if sustained, would independently establish removability. ECF 4-1, p. 1.

         Ameyapoh was retried in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County on July 16, 2014. He was found guilty of the same charges, and sentenced to a fifteen- year term of confinement. ECF 1, p. 9; ECF 1-1, pp. 5-6, 9, 12-13.

         On June 10, 2016, based on these convictions, DHS took Ameyapoh from state custody into ICE custody. ECF 1, p. 10; ECF 1-1, p. 10. On July 5, 2016, DHS charged Ameyapoh with removability pursuant to INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(iii) (for being convicted of aggravated felonies); § 237(A)(1)(D)(i) (for his conditional permanent resident status having been terminated); and § 237(A)(2)(E)(i) (for being an alien who after admission was convicted of a crime of domestic violence, stalking, or a crime of child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment). ECF 1-1, pp. 12-13.

         At a hearing before the immigration court, Ameyapoh admitted to his criminal convictions and to his removability under § 237(a)(2)(A)(iii), § 237(A)(1)(D)(i), and § 237(a)(2)(A)(ii) (for having been convicted of two crimes involving moral turpitude not arising out of a single scheme of criminal conduct). Id., p. 13. He denied his removability under § 237(a)(2)(E)(i), but the immigration court determined he was removable under this statute as well. Id.

         Ameyapoh's request for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) was denied by the immigration court on November 29, 2016, after the court found that Ameyapoh's testimony claiming he was gay was not credible. The court determined that Ameyapoh was not likely to be tortured if he returned to Togo and that no other evidence supported relief under CAT. Id., pp. 14-23.

         On appeal to the BIA, Ameyapoh argued that he could not be removed because his criminal convictions were not final and because he intended to file a belated appeal of his state criminal convictions. Id., pp. 5-7. On May 22, 2017, the BIA affirmed the immigration court's removal order, ...

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