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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. KEENAN POWELL-RYDER a/k/a Kenan Powell-Ryder
Case Number: 20-2617
Judge: Raymond Corley Fisher
Court: UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
Plaintiff's Attorney: Gretchen C.F. Shappert, United States Attorney
Everard E. Potter ARGUED
Office of United States Attorney
Philadelphia, PA - Criminal defense lawyer represented defendant Keenan Powell-Ryder with a one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana charge.
We cannot reach the merits of Powell-Ryder’s appeal without first considering our
own jurisdiction.2 That jurisdiction is lacking if, as the Government contends, the appeal
was mooted by Powell-Ryder’s release from prison. “To say that an appeal is moot
* This disposition is not an opinion of the full Court and pursuant to I.O.P. 5.7
does not constitute binding precedent.
1 Although the constitutional basis of our jurisdiction is lacking, the statutory basis
is not. 28 U.S.C. § 1291. As for the District Court, it had jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. §
2 State Nat’l Ins. Co. v. Cnty. of Camden, 824 F.3d 399, 404 (3d Cir. 2016). On the
other hand, we always have jurisdiction to determine our own jurisdiction. United States
v. Ruiz, 536 U.S. 622, 628 (2002).3
means that the court cannot provide the prevailing party with any relief.”3 “If this is true,
there is no longer a controversy to decide as required by Article III of the United States
Constitution,” and “the appeal must be dismissed.”4
Typically, “jurisdictional issues on account of mootness do not arise when a
defendant who is imprisoned during the pendency of his appeal challenges . . . his
sentence.”5 After release, however, “[a] defendant who is serving a term of supervised
release and challenges only his completed sentence of imprisonment must show collateral
consequences” to maintain a live case or controversy.6
This requirement applies to Powell-Ryder. He is now serving a mandatory
minimum two-year term of supervised release, and he challenges only his completed
sentence of imprisonment.7 His opening and reply briefs focus entirely on that 21-month
sentence; they do not mention, much less challenge, his term of supervised release. The
same goes for Powell-Ryder’s supplemental brief on mootness: it refers in passing to
hypothetical future violations of supervised release, but it does not refer to the two-year
term imposed by the District Court, and it certainly does not challenge “whether that term
3 Constand v. Cosby, 833 F.3d 405, 409 (3d Cir. 2016) (citing Chafin v. Chafin,
568 U.S. 165, 172 (2013)).
4 Id. (quoting Church of Scientology of Cal. v. United States, 506 U.S. 9, 12
5 United States v. Jackson, 523 F.3d 234, 241 (3d Cir. 2008).
7 The District Court imposed the minimum of two years’ supervised release
required by 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(D).4
of supervised release is reasonable.”8 Powell-Ryder must therefore show some collateral
consequences to avoid mootness.
We have recognized, in cases involving non-mandatory-minimum terms of
supervised release, that “the possibility of a credit for improper imprisonment against a
term of supervised release is sufficient to give us jurisdiction.”9 But here, as PowellRyder conceded at oral argument, the District Court lacks the discretion to grant such a
credit at resentencing. That is because Powell-Ryder’s statute of conviction requires the
District Court to “impose a term of supervised release of at least 2 years.”10 And as the
Supreme Court has explained, “a supervised release term does not commence until an
individual ‘is released from imprisonment.’”11
Powell-Ryder argues that the appeal is not moot for two reasons. First, he says that
if we were to rule in his favor, the Bureau of Prisons could credit him eleven months of
alleged over-imprisonment as “banked time,” which Powell-Ryder could then apply
against any hypothetical future revocation sentence. But this argument assumes that
Powell-Ryder will violate the terms of his supervised release, something he is “able—and
8 United States v. Prophet, 989 F.3d 231, 235 (3d Cir. 2021) (quoting Jackson, 523
F.3d at 242).
9 Id. (quoting Jackson, 523 F.3d at 241); see also United States v. Cottman, 142
F.3d 160, 165 (3d Cir. 1998).
10 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(D).
11 United States v. Johnson, 529 U.S. 53, 57 (2000) (quoting 18 U.S.C. § 3624(e)).5
indeed required by law—to prevent.”12 Accordingly, a prospective award of banked time
cannot give Powell-Ryder “a legally cognizable interest in the outcome” of his appeal.13
Powell-Ryder’s second argument against mootness fares no better. He says a
favorable ruling on the merits would increase his likelihood of success on a motion for
early termination of supervised release under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(1). But that purported
benefit is too speculative to “breathe life” back into the appeal.14 Powell-Ryder has not
filed a motion under § 3583(e)(1). Even if he had, the District Court could grant relief, if
at all, only “after the expiration of one year of supervised release.”15 Moreover, any relief
presupposes that the District Court has considered eight different sentencing factors and
assured itself that early termination would be “warranted by the conduct of the defendant
released and the interest of justice.”16
12 United States v. Kissinger, 309 F.3d 179, 182 (3d Cir. 2002) (quoting Spencer v.
Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 15 (1998)).
13 Chafin, 568 U.S. at 172 (quoting Already, LLC v. Nike, Inc., 568 U.S. 85, 91
14 Kissinger, 309 F.3d at 182; see also Constand, 833 F.3d at 409 (noting that
“mere speculation ‘afford[s] no basis for finding the existence of a continuing
controversy as required by Article III’” (quoting Blanciak v. Allegheny Ludlum Corp., 77
F.3d 690, 700 (3d Cir. 1996))).
15 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(1). For purposes of this analysis, we assume without
deciding that a statutory mandatory minimum term of supervised release is eligible for
early termination. See United States v. Damon, 933 F.3d 269, 275 n.3 (3d Cir. 2019)
(declining to reach the issue), cert. denied, 140 S. Ct. 1212 (2020).
16 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(1). The sentencing factors that must be considered include
“the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the
defendant,” and “the need for the sentence imposed . . . to afford adequate deterrence to
criminal conduct.” Id. § 3553(a)(1), (2)(B).6
In evaluating that last factor, the interest of justice, the District Court might well
consider any conclusion of ours on the merits of Powell-Ryder’s appeal. But nothing in
the text of § 3583(e)(1) requires it to do so. And we certainly cannot exercise the District
Court’s discretion under § 3583(e)(1) on its behalf. Accordingly, we think it insufficient
to avoid mootness here that a favorable ruling on the merits could possibly impact “one
factor, among many, that may be considered by the” District Court if Powell-Ryder
eventually decides to move for early termination.17 Nor does Powell-Ryder’s citation of
contrary, non-binding authority persuade us otherwise.18 For the reasons already stated,
we will not assume that a favorable ruling here “would necessarily inform”19 or “would
carry great weight in”20 the District Court’s ruling on a hypothetical future § 3583(e)(1)
Outcome: For these reasons, we will dismiss the appeal as moot.21