United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE
Jacquelyn D. Austin, United States Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the Court on Petitioner's motion to
transfer. [Doc. 23.] Petitioner, proceeding pro se, is a
federal prisoner seeking relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2241. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c), D.S.C.,
this magistrate judge is authorized to review post-trial
petitions for relief and submit findings and recommendations
to the District Court.
filed this Petition for writ of habeas corpus on July 31,
2017. [Doc. 1.] At the time he filed the
Petition, Petitioner was incarcerated at the federal
correctional institution in Edgefield, South Carolina (?FCI
Edgefield”). [Doc. 1 at 1-2.] On October 18, 2017,
Respondent filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative,
for summary judgment. [Doc. 17.] On October 19, 2017, the
Court filed an Order pursuant to Roseboro v.
Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), advising
Petitioner of the summary judgment procedure and of the
possible consequences if he failed to adequately respond to
the motion. [Doc. 18.] On October 23, 2017, Petitioner's
notice of change of address was entered on the docket. [Doc.
20.] In the notice, Petitioner notified the Court that he had
been transferred to the medium security federal correctional
institution in White Deer, Pennsylvania (?FCI Allenwood
Medium”), and that this facility would be his permanent
location. [Id.] On November 20, 2017,
Petitioner's motion to transfer was entered on the
docket. [Doc. 23.] On December 21, 2017, Respondent filed a
response to the motion to transfer. [Doc. 29.]
motion to transfer, Petitioner seeks an Order transferring
this matter to the proper territorial jurisdiction, asserting
that because he is currently housed at FCI Allenwood Medium,
this Court no longer has jurisdiction over the matter. [Doc.
23.] Respondent neither objects nor consents to
Petitioner's motion to transfer, recognizing a split
within the District of South Carolina regarding whether the
Court retains jurisdiction over habeas corpus petitions after
a prisoner is transferred out of the district. [Doc. 29.]
courts are authorized to grant writs of habeas corpus
“within their respective jurisdictions, ” 28
U.S.C. § 2241(a), and such writs “shall be
directed to the person having custody of the person detained,
” 28 U.S.C. § 2243. Therefore, in a traditional
prisoner habeas action, “there is generally only one
proper respondent”-the “person who has the
immediate custody of the party detained, with the
power to produce the body of such party before the court or
judge.” Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426,
434-35 (2004) (emphasis in original). Similarly, because
“the court issuing the writ [must] have jurisdiction
over the custodian, ” generally in “habeas
petitions challenging present physical confinement,
jurisdiction lies in only one district: the district of
confinement.” Id. at 442-43 (citation
omitted). As Respondent noted in the response, the decisions
in the District of South Carolina have split on the issue of
whether the Court retains jurisdiction over habeas corpus
petitions after a prisoner is transferred out of the
district. Compare Plaskett v. Cruz, ___ F.Supp.3d
___, 2017 WL 4773342 (D.S.C. 2017) (holding that after a
petitioner's release from federal custody in South
Carolina, his supervised release agent was the proper
respondent in a § 2241 petition, and because the agent
was in the Virgin Islands, the court lacked habeas
jurisdiction to entertain the petition), and Smith v.
Owen, No. 0:09-2310-JFA-PJG, 2011 WL 743212 (D.S.C. Feb.
24, 2011) (transferring a § 2241 petition and holding
that the court was divested of jurisdiction over the petition
after the petitioner was transferred out of the district),
with Warren v. United States, No. 3:10-1245-MBS-JRM,
2011 WL 4435655 (D.S.C. Sept. 23, 2011) (holding that once a
district court acquires jurisdiction over a petition, a
transfer of the prisoner to a prison in a different district
does not deprive the court of jurisdiction to consider the
merits of the petition).
the Court need not decide whether it retains jurisdiction
following Petitioner's transfer to FCI Allenwood Medium
because Petitioner is seeking the transfer and Respondent
does not oppose the transfer. Moreover, neither party
contends the Middle District of Pennsylvania is without
jurisdiction over the Petition. Notably, in most of the
decisions addressing this issue in the District of South
Carolina, the petitioner has challenged the transfer;
however, in this case, Petitioner seeks the transfer.
Accordingly, the undersigned recommends that Petitioner's
motion to transfer be granted.
based upon the foregoing, the Court recommends that
Petitioner's motion to transfer be GRANTED.
A prisoner's pleading is
considered filed at the moment it is delivered to prison
authorities for forwarding to the court. See Houston v.
Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 270 (1988). Accordingly, this action
was filed on July 31, 2017. [Doc. 1-4 at 2 (envelope ...