Snyder v. Johns
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER: IT IS ORDERED that this 28 USC 2241 proceeding, 0:11-cv-100-HRW, including the pending motion to dismiss DE# 4 is TRANSFERRED to the Eastern District of North Carolina, Western Division, for all further disposition. Signed by Judge Henry R. Wilhoit, Jr on 9/16/2011.(KSS)cc: COR
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
NORTHERN DIVISION AT ASHLAND
BRIAN D. SNYDER,
TRACY W. JOHNS, Warden,
Civil Action No. 0:11-00100-HRW
** ** ** ** **
For the reasons set forth below, this 28 U.S.C. § 2241 proceeding will be
transferred back to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North
Carolina, Western Division, for all further disposition.
On September 7, 2010, Brian D. Snyder filed a pro se 28 U.S.C. § 2241
petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District for the Eastern District
of North Carolina, Western Division ("the Eastern District of North Carolina"). See
Snyderv. Johns, No. 5:10-HC-2199-FL (E.D.N.C.) [D. E. No.1]. Snyder sought an
Order directing the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") to transfer him to a halfway house.
At that time, Snyder was confined in the Federal Correctional Institution-Butner
("FCI-Butner"), a BOP institution located in Butner, North Carolina.
On January 6, 2011, the United States moved to dismiss Snyder's §2241
petition, arguing that because Snyder's request for half-way house placement was
premature, his § 2241 petition was not ripe for review [D. E. Nos. 4 and 5]. On
January 24,2011, Snyder filed a response [D. E. No.7]. No action was taken on the
United States' motion to dismiss and Snyder's response.
Six months later, on July 28, 2011, Snyder filed a motion asking the Eastern
District of North Carolina to transfer his § 2241 petition to this Court [D. E. No.8].
Snyder stated that he had been transferred to the Federal Correctional Institution in
Ashland, Kentucky, ("FCI-Ashland") and alleged that the Eastern District of North
Carolina would not rule in his favor, and that even if it did, the Warden of FCI
Ashland would not abide by any ruling of that court, "...because this new institution
has their own Unit Managers who would then be overseeing and determining how
long Petitioner's consideration for placement in a Residential Re-entry Center
(Halfway house), should be" [Id., p. 2].
On September 14, 2011, the Eastern District of North Carolina transferred
Snyder's § 2241 entire proceeding, including the United States' pending motion to
dismiss to this Court [D. E. No.9]. The court stated that transferring the proceeding
here would "serve the interests of justice," but notably, it neither explained why it
lacked jurisdiction over Snyder's § 2241 petition, nor identified what specific
interests of justice would be served by the transfer.
Snyder properly filed his § 2241 in the Eastern District of North Carolina on
September 7,2010, because at that time, he was confined in a BOP institution located
in that judicial district. A habeas corpus petition brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2241
must be filed in the district having jurisdiction over the petitioner's custodian. See
Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426,443(2004); Braden v. 30th Judicial Cir. Ct., 410
U.S. 484,499-500 (1973); In re Hanserd, 123 F.3d 922,925 (6th Cir.1997).
This Court respectfully disagrees with decision to transfer Snyder's § 2241
petition here, even though Snyder was subsequently transferred to a BOP institution
located in this judicial district and requested his § 2241 petition be transferred here.
The Eastern District of North Carolina based its decision to transfer Snyder's § 2241
petition on 28 U.S.C. § 1631, which provides as follows:
Whenever a civil action is filed in a court as defined in section 610 of
this title or an appeal, including a petition for review of administrative
action, is noticed for or filed with such a court and that court finds that
there is a want of jurisdiction, the court shall, if it is in the interest
of justice, transfer such action or appeal to any other such court in
which the action or appeal could have been brought at the time it
was filed or noticed, and the action or appeal shall proceed as if it had
been filed in or noticed for the court to which it is transferred on the date
upon which it was actually filed in or noticed for the court from which
it is transferred.
28 U.S.C. § 1631(emphasis added).
The Eastern District of North Carolina's reliance on this statute was improper
because (1) the "want ofjurisdiction," in that district, which § 1631 requires, did not
exist and (2) Snyder could not have brought his § 2241 petition in Eastern District of
Kentucky on September 7,2010.
Snyder properly filed his § 2241 in the Eastern District of North Carolina on
September 7, 2010, because at that time he was confined in FCI-Butner, which is
located in the judicial district of the Eastern District of North Carolina. The Eastern
District of North Carolina clearly had jurisdiction over Snyder's § 2241 petition, and
was in fact the only judicial district in which Snyder could have brought his petition.
Further, Snyder was not incarcerated in this district on September 7,2010, so
he could not have brought his § 2241 petition in this Court. Therefore, transfer ofthis
proceeding here, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631, was not justified.
Once a petitioner initially files a habeas petition in the district where he is
confined, that district court acquires jurisdiction the petitioner's immediate custodian,
and thatjurisdiction is not destroyed by the petitioner's subsequent transfer to another
district and the accompanying change in custody. Rums/eld, 542 U.S at 441, 124
S.Ct. at2721; Ex Parte Endo, 323 U.S. 283,306 (1944). The Sixth Circuit has stated
that jurisdiction over a § 2241 petition is determined at the time the proceeding is
filed and that the subsequent transfer of the prisoner will not defeat habeas
jurisdiction. White v. Lamanna, 42 F. App'x. 670, 671 (6th Cir. 2002).
On numerous occasions, this Court has followed White v. Lamanna when
faced with the reverse facts: a federal prisoner, confined in this district, filed a § 2241
petition in this Court, but was subsequently transferred to another BOP institution
located outside of this district. Rather than simply transferring those cases to the
judicial district where the prisoner-petition had been transferred, the Court retained
jurisdiction over those § 2241 petitions despite the prisoner's subsequent transfer
elsewhere. See, e.g., Spearman v. Wilson, No. 10-CV-237-HRW, [R. 11,p. 1, n.1,
July 21,2011, Mem. Op. & Ord.] (holding that because prisoner had filed his § 2241
petition while he was incarcerated in this district, this Court retained jurisdiction over
it despite his subsequent transfer); Walker v. Hogsten, No. 10-CV-276-ART, 2011
WL 2149098, at *2, n.2 (E.D. Ky. May 31, 2011) (same); Roberts v. United States,
No.7:08-CV-046-KKC, 2008 WL 821899, at *3 (E.D. Ky. March 26, 2008) (same);
Graika v. United States, No. 04-CV-360-KKC, 2005 WL 1048695, at *1 (E.D. Ky.
May 04, 2005) (same). 1
Compare these cases with Dunne v. Zuercher, No. 10-CV-71-ART (E.D. Ky). On June 1,
2010, William D. Dunne, then confined in this district, filed a § 2241 petition in this Court [Id., R.
2]. After Dunne filed his § 2241 petition, he was transferred to a prison located in another judicial
district. On September 10, 2010, Judge Amul R. Thapar transferred Dunne's § 2241 petition to the
United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, finding that because Dunne was
no longer confined here, he no longer had jurisdiction over either the Kentucky warden whom Dunne
had originally named as the respondent, nor Dunne's new Warden [Id., R. 12].
On November 30, 2010, the Western District ofLouisiana transferred the § 2241 proceeding
Over the past forty years, numerous other courts have held that jurisdiction
over a § 2241 petition is determined at the time the petition is filed, and that the
subsequent transfer of the prisoner will not defeat habeas jurisdiction. Prevatte v.
Gunja, 167 F. App'x. 39,42 (10th Cir. 2006); Mujahid v. Daniels, 413 F.3d 991,994
(9th Cir. 2005); Lee v. Wetzel, 244 F.3d 370, 375 n. 5 (5th Cir. 2001); Stokes v.
United States Parole Comm'n, 374 F.3d 1235, 1239 (D.C.Cir. 2004); Sweatv. White,
829 F.2d 1121, 1121 (4th Cir. 1987) (table, text in Westlaw); Weeks v. Wyrick,638
F.2d 690, 692 (8th Cir. 1981); McClure v. Hopper, 577 F.2d 938, 939-40 (5th Cir
.1978); Ross v. Mebane, F.2d 1199, 1202 (7th Cir. 1976); United States ex rel.
Meadows v. State ofN.Y., 426 F.2d 1176, 1182 (2d Cir. 1970); Hanna v. Pettiford,
5:06cv110-DCB, 2008 WL227238, at *1 (S.D. Miss. January 24, 2008) ("... merely
because Hanna has now been transferred outside this district and into the custody of
another warden does not deprive the Court ofjurisdiction. Rather, this Court 'retains
jurisdiction and may direct the writ to any respondent within its jurisdiction who has
legal authority to effectuate the prisoner's release.' "); Chaney v. O'Brien, No.
7:07CV00121, 2007 WL 1189641, at *1 (W.D. Va. April 23,2007) (finding that
back to this Court, finding that: (l) jurisdiction over a § 2241 proceeding is detennined at the time
the petition is filed; (2) the subsequent transfer of a petitioner outside of the jurisdiction would not
defeat personal jurisdiction; and (3) Dunne could not have filed his § 2241 in Louisiana because he
had not been confined in a Louisiana federal prison when he filed his § 2241 petition. See Dunne
v. Sherrod, No. 1:1O-cv-0416 (W.D. La)[R. 19]; transferred andre- filed in this Court on November
30,2011, as Dunne v. Zuercher, 10-CV-155-ART (E.D. Ky.).
jurisdiction over the § 2241 petitioner was determined that the time action was filed,
not based on the petitioner's subsequent transfer to Illinois during the pendency of
his § 2241 petition); United States ex rei. Snyder v. State ofIllinois, 442 F.Supp. 75,
76 n. 2 (N.D. Ill. 1977) (same).
Snyder properly filed the instant § 2241 petition in Eastern District of North
Carolina on September 7, 2010, when he was incarcerated in that district. That court
retains jurisdiction over Snyder's § 2241 petition, notwithstanding his subsequent
transfer to FCI-Ashland. Because the September 14, 2011, transfer of Snyder's §
2241 petition to this district under 28 U.S.C. § 1631 was not warranted, this Court
will transfer this entire proceeding, including the pending motion to dismiss [D. E.
No.4] back to the Eastern District of North Carolina for all further disposition.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that this 28 U.S.C. Section § 2241 proceeding,
0:11-CV-000100-HRW, including the pending motion to dismiss [D. E. No.4] is
TRANSFERRED to the Eastern District of North Carolina, Western Division, for
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