WASSON v. HIGHTOWER
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 3/23/2016. (tf, n.m.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 16-1552 (JBS)
SIMANDLE, Chief Judge:
This matter comes before the Court on Petitioner’s motion
for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 65. (Motion, Docket Entry 1).
Petitioner is convicted and sentenced federal prisoner
presently incarcerated in FCI Fort Dix, New Jersey. He was
sentenced by the United States District Court for the Central
District of Illinois on June 29, 2010. United States v. Starns,
et al., No. 06-20055 (C.D. Ill. Jun. 29, 2010).
Petitioner was represented on his direct appeal by
Tracy Hightower, a private practitioner located in Omaha,
Nebraska. Upon the conclusion of the direct appeal, Ms.
Hightower did not return what Petitioner describes as “60 banker
boxes of Federal Evidence” to him. (Motion at 2).
According to Petitioner, he has sought to have these
boxes sent to him ever since the conclusion of his direct
appeal. On November 24, 2015, Petitioner mailed Ms. Hightower a
letter indicating his desire to have these boxes shipped to him
and requesting that she not do anything with the boxes until he
has had time to seek assistance from the Court. (Petitioner’s
On February 8, 2016, Ms. Hightower sent a letter to
Petitioner indicating that if he did not make arrangements to
prepay the costs of shipping the boxes by March 21, 2016, she
would begin shredding the documents. (Petitioner’s Exhibit B).
Petitioner thereafter filed this motion for a TRO,
which was received by the Clerk’s Office on March 21, 2016.
Petitioner invokes this Court’s jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 2241. Section 2241 confers jurisdiction on district
courts only for the purpose of issuing a writ of habeas corpus
in response to a petition from a prisoner who is “in custody in
violation of the Constitution or law and treaties of the United
States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3).
Petitioner does not allege his confinement or sentence
violates the Constitution or laws of the United States. Rather,
he alleges he has a private dispute with Ms. Hightower and that
Ms. Hightower’s refusal to send the evidence boxes to Petitioner
violates the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. (Motion at 1).
Therefore, this Court has no jurisdiction under § 2241 to hear
this matter, and the motion must be dismissed because this Court
has no subject matter jurisdiction.
An appropriate order follows.
March 23, 2016
s/ Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
Chief U.S. District Judge
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