District Judge Lawrence Vilardo
Nguti, a native and citizen of Cameroon, was taken into ICE custody in Aug. 2015 and has remained a civil immigration detainee—at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility—pursuant to 8 USC §1226(a) thereafter. Despite prior convictions for driving while intoxicated, Nguti has not been convicted of a crime triggering mandatory detention under 8 USC §1226(c). On Oct. 27, 2016, Nguti petitioned for 28 USC §2241 habeas relief. District court granted Nguti habeas relief holding—as it did in Enoh v. Sessions in February—that the Second Circuit’s 2015 decision in Lora v. Shanahan, 804 F.3d 601, and the due process concerns raised by indefinite detention, require that §1226(a) detainees in prolonged detention exceeding six months receive a Lora bond hearing. At such a hearing the government must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the alien poses a risk of flight or danger to the community. In finding Nguti entitled to a Lora bond hearing, the court rejected, as counterintuitive, the government’s “simplistic syllogism” that non-criminal aliens in prolonged detention under §1226(a) may not avail themselves of the same procedural protection available to their criminal counterparts under §1226(c).