Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer

Exceptions to the Mootness Doctrine

Mootness occurs when there is no longer an actual controversy between the parties to a lawsuit. For example, the problem in the case has already been resolved. If a court were to issue a ruling in such a case, there would be no actual impact on the result. In general, if a case becomes moot the courts can no longer hear it. But as mentioned in our overview of the mootness doctrine, there are exceptions to the rule.

What Are the Exceptions to the Mootness Doctrine?

United States Library of Congress, The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation

The Supreme Court has recognized several exceptions to the general mootness principles. These exceptions are known as the voluntary cessation doctrine and the capable of repetition, yet evading review exception. The Court has also developed special mootness principles that govern criminal cases and class action cases.

Voluntary Cessation

First, the Supreme Court has held that a party's voluntary cessation of an unlawful practice will usually not moot its opponent's challenge to that practice.1 Thus, "a defendant cannot automatically moot a case by simply ending its unlawful conduct once sued."2 This exception to the mootness doctrine exists because if a litigant could defeat a lawsuit simply by temporarily ceasing its unlawful activities, there would be nothing to stop that litigant from engaging in that unlawful behavior again after the court dismissed the case3—the litigant would effectively "be free to return to [its] old ways."4

The 1982 case of City of Mesquite v. Aladdin's Castle, Inc. illustrates how this "voluntary cessation" doctrine applies in practice.5 The plaintiff in City of Mesquite challenged the constitutionality of a municipal ordinance.6 While the case was pending, however, the city repealed the offending provisions of the ordinance.7 The Court, explaining that "a defendant's voluntary cessation of a challenged practice does not deprive a federal court of its power to determine the legality of the practice," concluded that the city's revision of the ordinance did not render the plaintiff's challenge moot.8 Because "the city's repeal of the objectionable language" in the ordinance "would not preclude it from reenacting precisely the same provision" if the case were dismissed on mootness grounds, the Court concluded that it needed to "confront the merits of the" plaintiff's constitutional challenge.9

DeFunis v. Odegaard, by contrast, exemplifies when the voluntary cessation doctrine will not save a case from dismissal.10 The petitioner in DeFunis claimed that certain law school admissions practices and criteria discriminated against him on the basis of race.11 While the case was pending, however, the petitioner began taking classes at the law school, and had almost completed his law degree by the time the case reached the Supreme Court.12 The Court rejected the petitioner's argument that the voluntary cessation doctrine rendered the case justiciable because the case's mootness had "partially stem[med] from a policy decision on the part of the respondent Law School authorities" to allow the petitioner to complete his law school studies and receive his diploma.13 The Court emphasized that the respondents had not voluntarily ceased the allegedly discriminatory admissions practices that the petitioner challenged as unconstitutional; instead, the case became moot because the petitioner was just a few credits shy of completing his degree.14 In other words, the case was moot not because the school stopped engaging in allegedly unlawful activity, but rather because the petitioner would "receive his diploma regardless of any decision th[e] Court might reach on the merits of th[e] case."15

The Court has clarified several other aspects of the voluntary cessation doctrine. For one, if it is "absolutely clear" that the allegedly wrongful behavior will not recur after the court dismisses the case, then a case can become moot notwithstanding a party's voluntary cessation of that unlawful behavior.16 "The 'heavy burden of persua[ding]' the court that the challenged conduct cannot reasonably be expected to start up again lies with the party asserting mootness."17 To illustrate, in Preiser v. Newkirk, a prisoner claimed that prison officials had unlawfully transferred him from a medium security institution to a more restrictive maximum security institution, and asked the court to order his return to the medium security prison.18 While the case was pending, however, officials transferred the prisoner back to the medium security institution, and then subsequently transferred him to an even less restrictive minimum security institution.19 According to the Court, these subsequent developments made it "clear that correction authorities harbor[ed] no animosity toward" the plaintiff, such that there was "no reasonable expectation that the wrong challenged by the prisoner would be repeated.'"20 The Court therefore deemed the case nonjusticiable even though the prison officials themselves had rendered the case moot by transferring the prisoner to a less restrictive institution.21

Additionally, the voluntary cessation doctrine typically applies only when a party to the case voluntarily discontinues an allegedly unlawful action. If, instead, a case becomes moot because "of the voluntary acts of a third party non-defendant," the voluntary cessation doctrine will usually not save that case from dismissal.22 For instance, in Iron Arrow Honor Society v. Heckler, the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (Secretary) promulgated a regulation barring recipients of federal funding from "providing significant assistance to any . . . organization . . . which discriminates on the basis of sex."23 The petitioner, an all-male honorary organization at a public university, commenced a lawsuit seeking to prevent the Secretary from interpreting that regulation in a manner that would require the university to ban the organization from conducting activities on campus so long as it continued to exclude women.24 While the lawsuit was pending, however, the university determined that no matter whether the Secretary's regulation required the university to ban the organization, the university's own non-discrimination code independently barred the organization from operating on campus until it discontinued its male-only membership policy.25 Because no judicial ruling with respect to the Secretary's interpretation of the regulation would have any effect on the university's independent decision to ban the organization pursuant to its own non-discrimination policy, the Court concluded that "the dispute as to how the [r]egulation should be interpreted" was "classically 'moot.'"26 The Court concluded that the voluntary cessation doctrine did not save the case from dismissal, as it was "the voluntary acts of a third party non-defendant"—namely, the university—that rendered the case moot, rather than the voluntary acts of the Secretary herself.27

Similarly, the voluntary cessation doctrine will not save a case from dismissal when it is the losing party, rather than the prevailing party, whose voluntary actions render the case moot during the pendency of an appeal.28 Thus, in City News & Novelty, Inc. v. City of Waukesha, a retailer of sexually explicit materials challenged a municipality's decision to deny its adult business license.29 After the lower courts ruled against the retailer, the retailer asked the Supreme Court to review the judgment in the municipality's favor.30 While the appeal was pending, however, the retailer opted to close its business.31 The Court determined that the retailer's decision to cease operations had rendered the case moot because the retailer no longer had any cognizable interest in the outcome of the case.32 Even though the circumstance rendering the case moot was the retailer's voluntary decision to close its business, the Court nonetheless concluded that the voluntary cessation doctrine did not render the case justiciable.33 The Court emphasized that because the lower courts had ruled against the retailer, the retailer "left the fray as a loser, not a winner."34 The Court therefore reasoned that the retailer's voluntary cessation of its business therefore did "not keep [its opponent] under the weight of an adverse judgment" or "reward an arguable manipulation of [the Court's] jurisdiction."35

Capable of Repetition, Yet Evading Review

The Supreme Court has generally declined to deem cases moot that present issues or disputes that are "capable of repetition, yet evading review."36 This exception to the mootness doctrine applies "only in exceptional situations"37 in which (1) "the challenged action is in its duration too short to be fully litigated prior to cessation or expiration;" and (2) "there is a reasonable expectation that the same complaining party will be subject to the same action again."38 According to the Court, if this exception to mootness did not exist, then certain types of time-sensitive controversies would become effectively unreviewable by the courts.39

The classic example of a dispute that is "capable of repetition, yet evading review" is a pregnant woman's constitutional challenge to an abortion regulation.40 Once a woman gives birth, abortion is no longer an option for terminating that particular pregnancy. However, litigation of national political significance can rarely be fully resolved in a mere nine months; "the normal 266-day human gestation period is so short that [a] pregnancy will come to term before" the parties and the court could realistically litigate a constitutional challenge to an abortion statute to its conclusion.41 Thus, if a challenge to an abortion regulation became moot as soon as the challenger gave birth, "pregnancy litigation seldom w[ould] survive much beyond the trial stage, and appellate review w[ould] be effectively denied."42 Because the Supreme Court has decided that "[o]ur law should not be that rigid," the Court ruled in its 1973 opinion in Roe v. Wade that "[p]regnancy provides a classic justification for a conclusion of nonmootness."43 The Roe Court reasoned that, because "[p]regnancy often comes more than once to the same woman, and . . . if man is to survive, it will always be with us," challenges to the constitutionality of abortion statutes usually will not become moot at the conclusion of an individual challenger's pregnancy.44

The Court has deemed certain controversies "capable of repetition, yet evading review" outside the abortion context as well.45 For example, in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., an advocacy organization claimed that restrictions on "electioneering communications" established by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 unconstitutionally prohibited the organization from broadcasting certain political advertisements shortly before the 2004 election.46 Even though the case did not reach the Supreme Court until long after the 2004 election had passed, the Court nonetheless concluded that the case was not moot.47 The Court reasoned that the organization "credibly claimed that it planned on running 'materially similar' future targeted broadcast ads" in advance of future elections,48 and the period between elections was too short to allow the organization sufficient time to fully litigate its constitutional challenges sufficiently in advance of the election date.49

By contrast, the Court determined that the constitutional challenge in the DeFunis case mentioned above was not "capable of repetition, yet evading review."50 To reiterate, the petitioner in DeFunis claimed that certain law school admissions practices and criteria unconstitutionally discriminated against him on the basis of race.51 While the case was pending, however, the petitioner began taking classes at the law school, and was just about to receive his diploma.52 Unlike the challenger to the abortion statute in Roe, who could very well have become pregnant again in the future,53 the petitioner in DeFunis would "never again be required to run the gantlet of the Law School's admissions process" once he received his juris doctorate.54 The DeFunis Court therefore concluded that the petitioner's constitutional challenges were "not 'capable of repetition' so far as [the petitioner was] concerned."55 The Court further opined that challenges raised by other disappointed applicants would not evade future review either, as the Court had "no reason to suppose that a subsequent case attacking [the law school's admission] procedures w[ould] not come with relative speed to th[e] Court."56

Mootness Exceptions in Criminal Cases

The Supreme Court has also articulated special mootness principles that apply in criminal cases.57 Because criminal sentences are generally limited in duration, courts will sometimes be unable to rule on the merits of a criminal defendant's appeal before that defendant's sentence expires.58 Thus, the Court has ruled that a criminal defendant who "wish[es] to continue his appeals after the expiration of his sentence must suffer some 'continuing injury' or 'collateral consequence' sufficient to satisfy Article III."59 Put another way, if the defendant can point to some "disabilities or burdens (which) . . . flow from" his conviction even after his release from prison, then he retains "a substantial stake in the judgment of conviction which survives the satisfaction of the sentence imposed on him" and therefore presents a justiciable controversy.60 If, by contrast, the defendant cannot make such a showing, then the expiration of the defendant's criminal sentence will render the defendant's appeal moot.61 Thus, in Carafas v. LaVallee, the petitioner faced lingering legal "disabilities or burdens" as a result of his conviction even though he had already "been unconditionally released from custody."62 Specifically, the laws of the state in which the petitioner resided prohibited convicted felons from "engag[ing] in certain businesses," "serv[ing] as an official of a labor union," "vot[ing] in any election held in his state of residence," and "serv[ing] as a juror."63 The petitioner therefore retained "a substantial stake" in challenging the validity of his conviction so that he could engage in activities that his criminal record would otherwise prohibit.64 The Supreme Court thus determined that, "[o]n account of these 'collateral consequences'" of his conviction, the petitioner's case was "not moot."65 "When the defendant challenges his underlying conviction," the Supreme Court generally "presume[s] the existence of collateral consequences" sufficient to save the defendant's appeal from dismissal on mootness grounds.66 The Court has justified this presumption on the ground that "most criminal convictions do in fact entail adverse collateral legal consequences."67 The Court has generally declined to presume, however, that collateral consequences will result from other types of criminal sanctions, such as a revocation of parole.68


  1. See, e.g.United States v. Sanchez-Gomez, 138 S. Ct. 1532, 1537 n.* (2018)Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, 137 S. Ct. 2012, 2019 n.1 (2017)Knox v. Serv. Emps. Int'l Union, Local 1000, 567 U.S. 298, 307 (2012)Buckhannon Bd. & Care Home, Inc. v. W. Va. Dep't of Health & Human Res., 532 U.S. 598, 609 (2001)City of Erie v. Pap's A.M., 529 U.S. 277, 287–89 (2000)Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs. (TOC), Inc., 528 U.S. 167, 189 (2000)Ne. Fla. Chapter of Associated Gen. Contractors of Am. v. City of Jacksonville, Fla., 508 U.S. 656, 662 (1993)Chi. Teachers Union, Loc al No. 1, AFT, AFL-CIO v. Hudson, 475 U.S. 292, 305 n.14 (1986)United States v. Generix Drug Corp., 460 U.S. 453, 456 n.6 (1983)City of Mesquite v. Aladdin's Castle, Inc., 455 U.S. 283, 289 (1982)Cty. of Los Angeles v. Davis, 440 U.S. 625, 631 (1979)Allee v. Medrano, 416 U.S. 802, 810 (1974).
  2. Already, LLC v. Nike, Inc., 568 U.S. 85, 91 (2013).
  3. See id. (explaining that, in the absence of the voluntary cessation doctrine, "a defendant could engage in unlawful conduct, stop when sued to have the case declared moot, then pick up where he left off, repeating this cycle until he achieves all his unlawful ends"); Knox, 567 U.S. at 307 ("[A] dismissal for mootness would permit a resumption of the challenged conduct as soon as the case is dismissed."); City News & Novelty, Inc. v. City of Waukesha, 531 U.S. 278, 284 n.1 (2001) ("[A] party should not be able to evade judicial review, or to defeat a judgment, by temporarily altering questionable behavior."); City of Mesquite, 455 U.S. at 289 ("In this case the city's repeal of the objectionable language would not preclude it from reenacting precisely the same provision if the District Court's judgment were vacated."); United States v. Trans-Mo. Freight Ass'n, 166 U.S. 290, 309 (1897) ("If the mere dissolution of the association worked an abatement of the suit as to all the defendants . . . it is plain that they have thus discovered an effectual means to prevent the judgment of this court being given upon the question really involved in the case. The defendants having succeeded in the court below, it would only be necessary thereafter to dissolve their association and instantly form another of a similar kind, and the fact of the dissolution would prevent an appeal to this court or procure its dismissal if taken. This result does not and ought not to follow.").
  4. Allee, 416 U.S. at 811 (quoting Gray v. Sanders, 372 U.S. 368, 376 (1963)). See also, e.g.Friends of the Earth, 528 U.S. at 189 (same).
  5. 455 U.S. 283.
  6. Id. at 284–86.
  7. Id. at 288.
  8. Id. at 288–89.
  9. Id. at 289. The Court subsequently elaborated that "City of Mesquite does not stand for the proposition that it is only the possibility that the selfsame statute will be enacted that prevents a case from being moot; if that were the rule, a defendant could moot a case by repealing the challenged statute and replacing it with one that differs only in some insignificant respect." Ne. Fla. Chapter of Associated Gen. Contractors of Am. v. City of Jacksonville, Fla., 508 U.S. 656, 662 (1993)But see Princeton Univ. v. Schmid, 455 U.S. 100, 103 (1982) (per curiam) (deeming case moot, without explicitly mentioning the voluntary cessation doctrine, where intervening party "substantially amended its regulations" "while the case was pending on appeal").
  10. See 416 U.S. 312, 318 (1974) (per curiam).
  11. Id. at 314–15.
  12. Id. at 315–17.
  13. Id. at 317.
  14. See id. at 318.
  15. Id. at 317.
  16. Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, 137 S. Ct. 2012, 2019 n.1 (2017) (quoting Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs. (TOC), Inc., 528 U.S. 167, 189 (2000)). See also, e.g., Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Slater, 528 U.S. 216, 222 (2000) (per curiam) ("Voluntary cessation of challenged conduct moots a case, however, only if it is 'absolutely clear that the allegedly wrongful behavior could not reasonably be expected to recur.'") (quoting United States v. Concentrated Phosphate Export Ass'n, 393 U.S. 199, 203 (1968)).
  17. Friends of the Earth, 528 U.S. at 189 (quoting Concentrated Phosphate Export Ass'n, 393 U.S. at 203). See also, e.g.Trinity Lutheran Church, 137 S. Ct. at 2019 n.1; Adarand Constructors, 528 U.S. at 222. See also Already, LLC v. Nike, Inc., 568 U.S. 85, 91 (2013) (explaining that a party's burden to avoid the voluntary cessation doctrine is "formidable").
  18. 422 U.S. 395, 396–98 (1975).
  19. Id. at 401.
  20. Id. at 402 (quoting Concentrated Phosphate Export Ass'n, 393 U.S. at 203); United States v. W. T. Grant Co., 345 U.S. 629, 633 (1953)).
  21. Id. ("We have before us more than a mere voluntary cessation of allegedly illegal conduct, where we would leave the defendant free to return to his old ways.") (ellipses, brackets, and internal quotation marks omitted).
  22. Iron Arrow Honor Soc'y v. Heckler, 464 U.S. 67, 72 (1983) (per curiam) (emphasis added). See also Deakins v. Monaghan, 484 U.S. 193, 200 n.4 (1988) ("The Court's ability to prevent respondents from renewing their claims after they are dismissed as moot distinguishes this case from one in which a defendant attempts to avoid appellate review by voluntarily ceasing the challenged conduct without losing the ability to reinitiate the conduct once the mooted case is dismissed.").
  23. Iron Arrow, 464 U.S. at 68 (quoting 45 C.F.R. § 86.31(b)(7) (1975)) (emphasis omitted).
  24. Id. at 69.
  25. Id. at 69–70.
  26. Id. at 70–71.
  27. Id. at 72.
  28. City News & Novelty, Inc. v. City of Waukesha, 531 U.S. 278, 284 (2001).
  29. Id. at 281–82.
  30. Id. at 282.
  31. Id. at 282–83.
  32. Id. at 283–85.
  33. Id. at 283–84.
  34. Id. at 284.
  35. Id.
  36. See, e.g.Kingdomware Techs., Inc. v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 1969, 1976 (2016)Turner v. Rogers, 564 U.S. 431, 439–41 (2011)Davis v. FEC, 554 U.S. 724, 735–36 (2008)FEC v. Wis. Right to Life, Inc., 551 U.S. 449, 462 (2007)Norman v. Reed, 502 U.S. 279, 287–88 (1992)Int'l Org. of Masters, Mates & Pilots v. Brown, 498 U.S. 466, 473 (1991)Meyer v. Grant, 486 U.S. 414, 417 n.2 (1988)Honig v. Doe, 484 U.S. 305, 317–23 (1988)Burlington N. R.R. Co. v. Bhd. of Maint. of Way Emps., 481 U.S. 429, 436 n.4 (1987)Brock v. Roadway Express, Inc., 481 U.S. 252, 257–58 (1987)Cal. Coastal Comm'n v. Granite Rock Co., 480 U.S. 572, 577–78 (1987)Press-Enter. Co. v. Super. Ct. of Cal. for Cty. of Riverside, 478 U.S. 1, 6 (1986)Globe Newspaper Co. v. Super. Ct. for Cty. of Norfolk, 457 U.S. 596, 603 (1982)Democratic Party of U.S. v. Wisconsin ex rel. La Follette, 450 U.S. 107, 115 n.13 (1981)Gannett Co. v. DePasquale, 443 U.S. 368, 377 (1979)Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 526 n.5 (1979)First Nat'l Bank of Bos. v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765, 774 (1978)United States v. N.Y. Tel. Co., 434 U.S. 159, 165 n.6 (1977)Neb. Press Ass'n v. Stuart, 427 U.S. 539, 546–47 (1976)Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 110 n.11 (1975)Super Tire Eng'g Co. v. McCorkle, 416 U.S. 115, 125–27 (1974)Storer v. Brown, 415 U.S. 724, 737 n.8 (1974)Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 333 n.2 (1972)S. Pac. Terminal Co. v. ICC, 219 U.S. 498, 514–16 (1911)But see, e.g.United States v. Sanchez-Gomez, 138 S. Ct. 1532, 1540–42 (2018) (rejecting litigants' argument that defendants' allegedly unlawful practice was capable of repetition yet evading review); Alvarez v. Smith, 558 U.S. 87, 93–94 (2009) (same); Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 17–18 (1998) (same); Lewis v. Cont'l Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 481–82 (1990) (same); Lane v. Williams, 455 U.S. 624, 633–34 (1982) (same); Ill. State Bd. of Elections v. Socialist Workers Party, 440 U.S. 173, 187 (1979) (same); Kremens v. Bartley, 431 U.S. 119, 133 (1977) (same); Weinstein v. Bradford, 423 U.S. 147, 148–49 (1975) (per curiam) (same); Preiser v. Newkirk, 422 U.S. 395, 403 (1975) (same); Diffenderfer v. Cent. Baptist Church of Miami, Fla., Inc., 404 U.S. 412, 414 (1972) (per curiam) (same).
  37. Kingdomware Techs., 136 S. Ct. at 1976 (quoting Spencer, 523 U.S. at 17).
  38. United States v. Juvenile Male, 564 U.S. 932, 938 (2011) (per curiam) (quoting Spencer, 523 U.S. at 17). See also, e.g., Sanchez-Gomez, 138 S. Ct. at 1540 (same); Kingdomware Techs., 136 S. Ct. at 1976 (same); Turner, 564 U.S. at 439–40 (quoting Weinstein, 423 U.S. at 149) (same); Wis. Right to Life, 551 U.S. at 462 (same); Lewis, 494 U.S. at 482 (same); Meyer, 486 U.S. at 417 n.2 (quoting Murphy v. Hunt, 455 U.S. 478, 482 (1982)) (per curiam) (same); Reeves, Inc. v. Stake, 447 U.S. 429, 434 n.5 (1980) (same); Gannett, 443 U.S. at 377 (same); Ill. State Bd. of Elections, 440 U.S. at 187 (same); SEC v. Sloan, 436 U.S. 103, 109 (1978) (same); Bellotti, 435 U.S. at 774 (same). The Court has explained, however, that the "capable of repetition yet evading review" doctrine "will not revive a dispute which became moot before the action commenced." Renne v. Geary, 501 U.S. 312, 320 (1991).
  39. See, e.g.Sosna v. Iowa, 419 U.S. 393, 400 (1975) ("[T]he case before us is one in which state officials will undoubtedly continue to enforce the challenged statute and yet, because of the passage of time, no single challenger will remain subject to its restrictions for the period necessary to see such a lawsuit to its conclusion.").
  40. See Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 125 (1973) (quoting S. Pac. Terminal Co. v. ICC, 219 U.S. 498, 515 (1911)).See generally Amdt5. Right to an Abortion (analyzing Supreme Court jurisprudence regarding abortion).But see Azar v. Garza, 138 S. Ct. 1790, 1791–93 (2018) (dismissing abortion case as moot without applying, analyzing, or mentioning the capable of repetition yet evading review doctrine).
  41. See Roe, 410 U.S. at 125.
  42. See id.
  43. Id.
  44. Id. (quoting S. Pac. Terminal Co., 219 U.S. at 515). See also Singleton v. Wulff, 428 U.S. 106, 117 (1976) ("A woman who is no longer pregnant may nonetheless retain the right to litigate the point because it is 'capable of repetition yet evading review.'") (quoting Roe, 410 U.S. at 124–25).
  45. See supra note 36.
  46. FEC v. Wis. Right to Life, Inc., 551 U.S. 449, 457–60 (2007).
  47. Id. at 462–64.
  48. Id. at 463.
  49. See id. at 462–63. See also Davis v. FEC, 554 U.S. 724, 735–36 (2008) (rejecting mootness challenge in case whose facts "closely resemble[d]" those at issue in Wisconsin Right to Life).
  50. 416 U.S. at 318–19.
  51. Id. at 314–15.
  52. Id. at 315–17.
  53. See Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 125 (1973).
  54. 416 U.S. at 319.
  55. Id.
  56. Id.
  57. See, e.g., United States v. Juvenile Male, 564 U.S. 932, 936 (2011) (per curiam); Turner v. Rogers, 564 U.S. 431, 439 (2011)Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 3–16 (1998)Minnesota v. Dickerson, 508 U.S. 366, 371 n.2 (1993)Evitts v. Lucey, 469 U.S. 387, 391 n.4 (1985)Lane v. Williams, 455 U.S. 624, 630–34 (1982)Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106, 108 n.3 (1977) (per curiam); Sibron v. New York, 392 U.S. 40, 50–58 (1968)Carafas v. LaVallee, 391 U.S. 234, 236–38 (1968).
  58. See, e.g.Sibron, 392 U.S. at 50, 52 ("It is asserted that because Sibron has completed service of the six-month sentence imposed upon him as a result of his conviction, the case has become moot . . . We have concluded that the case is not moot . . . There was no way for Sibron to bring his case here before his six-month sentence expired.").
  59. Juvenile Male, 564 U.S. at 936. See also, e.g.Dickerson, 508 U.S. at 371 n.2 ("We have often observed . . . that 'the possibility of a criminal defendant's suffering collateral legal consequences from a sentence already served' precludes a finding of mootness.") (quoting Mimms, 434 U.S. at 108 n.3).
  60. 391 U.S. at 237 (quoting Fiswick v. United States, 329 U.S. 211, 222 (1946)).
  61. E.g.Juvenile Male, 564 U.S. at 936.
  62. Carafas, 391 U.S. at 236–37.
  63. Id. at 237.
  64. Id. (quoting Fiswick, 329 U.S. at 222).
  65. Id. at 237–38 (quoting Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629, 633–34 & n.2 (1968)).
  66. Juvenile Male, 564 U.S. at 936. See also, e.g.Evitts v. Lucey, 469 U.S. 387, 391 n.4 (1985) (deeming case "not moot" where "some collateral consequences of [the party's] conviction remain[ed]").
  67. Sibron v. New York, 392 U.S. 40, 55 (1968).
  68. Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 14 (1998) ("declin[ing] to presume that collateral consequences adequate to meet Article III's injury-in-fact requirement" would result from a petitioner's parole revocation). See also, e.g.Juvenile Male, 564 U.S. at 936–37 ("[W]hen a defendant challenges only an expired sentence, no such presumption [of non-mootness] applies, and the defendant must bear the burden of identifying some ongoing 'collateral consequence' that is 'traceable' to the challenged portion of the sentence and is 'likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision.'") (quoting Spencer, 523 U.S. at 7) (brackets omitted).
Was this helpful?

Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Constitutional rights are essential, but complex
  • These cases often involve government entities
  • An attorney can help protect your rights

Get tailored advice and ask your legal questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

Copied to clipboard