MAYER v. LANE et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER transferring 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by JACK MAYER to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Signed by Magistrate Judge Robert C. Mitchell on 5/23/2017. (spc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
JAY LANE, et al.,
Civil Action No. 17-586
Jack Mayer, an inmate now incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Fayette,
Pennsylvania, has filed a counseled petition for a writ of habeas corpus. According to the
petition, Mayer was convicted on charges of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, theft by
deception, receiving stolen property, criminal use of communication facility, conspiracy, corrupt
organizations, and criminal conspiracy No. 1427 CR 2014 in the Court of Common Pleas of
Chester County, Pennsylvania and sentenced to a 15 to 30 year period of incarceration. This
sentence was imposed on November 21, 2014.
On May 9, 2017, a Memorandum Opinion and Order was entered, directing Mayer to
show cause on or before May 23, 2017 why this case should not be transferred to the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (ECF No. 2). On May 18, 2017,
Petitioner filed a response to the order to show cause (ECF No. 6).
It is provided in 28 U.S.C. § 2241(d) that:
Where an application for a writ of habeas corpus is made by a person in custody
under the judgment and sentence of a State court of a state which contains two or
more Federal judicial districts, the application may be filed in the district court for
the district wherein such person is in custody or in the district court for the district
within which the State court was held which convicted and sentenced him and
each of such district courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction to entertain the
application. The district court for the district wherein such an application is filed
in the exercise of its discretion and in furtherance of justice may transfer the
application to the other district court for hearing and determination.
While the petitioner is in custody in the Western District of Pennsylvania, the trial court
which sentenced him is located in Chester County, which is located in the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania. 28 U.S.C. § 118(a). The practice of the district courts within Pennsylvania is to
transfer habeas corpus petitions to the district where the conviction occurred. As another district
court recently summarized:
Indeed, the United States District Courts for Pennsylvania’s three federal
judicial districts have customarily transferred petitions of this type to the district
of conviction for substantive habeas proceedings. Helfrich v. Coleman, No. 10958, 2010 WL 1337728 (E.D. Pa. April 6, 2010); McKeever v. McGrady, No. 082905, 2008 WL 5101729 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 26, 2008); Fletcher v. Rozum, No. 08716, 2008 WL 2609826 (W.D. Pa. June 26, 2008); Reinhold v. Rozum, No.
4:CV-07-1997, 2007 WL 4248273 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 30, 2007). This course of
action, in turn, is consistent with the guidance of the United States Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit which has “note[d] that it is quite clear that
ordinarily a transfer of a [habeas] proceeding relating to the validity of the
petitioner’s conviction from the district of confinement to the district of
sentencing would be in furtherance of the convenience of the parties and
witnesses.” In re Nwanze, 242 F.3d 521, 526 n. 2 (3d Cir. 2001). Thus, this
practice is permitted by statute, is commonplace, is endorsed by the court of
appeals, achieves a desirable uniformity of approach among the three districts in
the matter of exercising jurisdiction in these cases, and serves the interests of the
litigants in those cases where hearings are required.
Scott v. Del Basio, 2015 WL 3742355, at *2 (M.D. Pa. June 15, 2015) (citations omitted).
In his response, Petitioner states that “the scant caselaw on this matter seems to place the
decision to transfer in the discretion of the district court.” (ECF No. 6 at 1.) However, he argues
that the “furtherance of justice” prong is satisfied only based upon the location of the witnesses
but that this case involves a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence and no evidentiary
hearing will likely take place. Nevertheless, it cannot be said that such a hearing will not take
place. Moreover, Petitioner has not addressed the factors cited above and provides no
compelling reason why they should not apply in this case. An appropriate Order will be entered.
AND NOW, this 23rd day of May, 2017, for the reasons set forth in the foregoing
IT IS ORDERED that this case is transferred forthwith to the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for further proceedings.
s/Robert C. Mitchell_______
United States Magistrate Judge
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