The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES McCLURE JR., District Judge
Floyd Murray Bruce, a/k/a Murray Floyd Bruce, a/k/a Joseph
Nnandi Ekwensi, a/k/a Michael Olusegun Oduyoye ("Petitioner"),
filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241 regarding his present detention at the Lackawanna
County Prison, Scranton, Pennsylvania. Named as Respondents are
Warden Paul Jennings of the Lackawanna County Prison; the Bureau
of Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"); ICE Field Office
Director Thomas Decker; and Secretary Michael Chertoff of the
Department of Homeland Security. The petition is accompanied by
an in forma pauperis application.
Petitioner states that he is 41 years old and was born in
Hamilton, Bermuda. Bruce adds that he was detained by immigration officials upon
entering the United States in 1989. An Immigration Judge ordered
his exclusion from this country in 1990. However, during 1993 the
Petitioner was granted his release on supervision. He was
subsequently convicted of "a violation of a Federal Bank Statute"
in the United States District Court for the Western District of
Ohio. Record document no. 1, ¶ 19. Upon completing service of his
federal sentence, Petitioner was taken into ICE custody and the
prior order of exclusion was reinstated. See id. at ¶ 20.
Bruce states that he has been in custody of the ICE since
October 15, 2004. His present petition challenges "his prolonged
detention pending deportation." Id. at ¶ 31. As relief,
Petitioner seeks his release on supervision pending deportation.
Habeas corpus petitions brought under § 2241 are subject to
summary dismissal pursuant to Rule 4 ("Preliminary Consideration
by the Judge") of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the
United States District Courts, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254 (1977)
(applicable to § 2241 petitions under Rule 1(b)). See, e.g.,
Patton v. Fenton, 491 F. Supp. 156, 158-59 (M.D. Pa. 1979).
Rule 4 provides in pertinent part: "If it plainly appears from
the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the
judge shall make an order for its summary dismissal and cause the petitioner to be notified." A petition may be dismissed without
review of an answer "when the petition is frivolous, or obviously
lacking in merit, or where . . . the necessary facts can be
determined from the petition itself. . . ." Allen v. Perini,
424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 906
(1970). Accord Love v. Butler, 952 F.2d 10, 15 (1st Cir.
1991). The Allen court also stated that "the District Court has
a duty to screen out a habeas corpus petition which should be
dismissed for lack of merit on its face." 424 F.2d at 141.
Attached to Bruce's petition are various supporting documents.
One of those submissions is a copy of an August 17, 2005 grand
jury indictment from this district court, United States v.
Bruce, Criminal No. 3:05-CR-318 (Vanaskie, J.). See id. at
A review of the record from Petitioner's ongoing federal
criminal prosecution provides that Magistrate Judge Thomas
Blewitt issued an Order of Detention Pending Trial on August 31,
2005. See Bruce, Criminal No. 3:CV-05-CR-318, record document
no. 14. Pursuant to Magistrate Judge Blewitt's Order, the
Petitioner shall be detained in a correctional facility pending
trial in his criminal case.
The Petitioner is not presently in ICE custody. As noted above,
Bruce has been placed in pre-trial detention pending the outcome
of his ongoing federal criminal prosecution. Thus, his present
petition seeking release on supervision from ICE custody pending deportation is clearly premature and will be
dismissed without prejudice. Consequently,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. The petition for writ of habeas corpus is
dismissed without prejudice as premature.
2. The Clerk of Court is ...