United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton United States District Judge
reasons stated below, the Court orders that this action be
transferred to the United States District Court for the
Western District of Louisiana.
April 12, 2017, immigration detainee Sinn Pen
(“Pen”), through counsel, filed a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Pen
represents that, just before the petition was filed, he was
transferred from the Suffolk County House of Correction in
Boston, Massachusetts to the Federal Correctional Institution
in Oakdale, Louisiana (“FCI Oakdale”). Pen seeks
immediate release on the ground that he has been in
post-removal confinement for more than six months and his
removal to Cambodia is not reasonably foreseeable. See
Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678 (2001).
names as respondents Attorney General Jeff Sessions,
Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly, ICE Director
Thomas Homan, and FCI Oakdale Warden J.P. Young. The
petitioner states that venue is proper because he resides in
Lowell, Massachusetts and his immigration proceedings and
initial detention occurred in Boston, Massachusetts.
petition has not been served so that the Court may review the
petition to determine whether the respondent should be
required to reply to the petition. See 28 U.S.C.
confinement at FCI Oakdale raises the question of this
Court's jurisdiction. The question of whether the Court
has jurisdiction over this matter breaks down into two
subquestions: (1) who the proper respondent is; and (2)
whether the Court has jurisdiction over him or her. See
Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 434 (2004).
the first question, the proper respondent to a habeas
petition is “the person who has custody over [the
petitioner].” 28 U.S.C. § 2242. In challenges to
present physical confinement, “the default rule is that
the proper respondent is the warden of the facility where the
prisoner is being held, not the Attorney General or some
other remote supervisory official.” Padilla,
542 U.S. at 435. Although the Supreme Court has not decided
whether the Attorney General is a proper respondent to a
habeas petition filed by an alien pending deportation,
see id. at 436, n.8, in the First Circuit, “an
alien who seeks a writ of habeas corpus contesting the
legality of his detention by the INS normally must name as
the respondent his immediate custodian, that is, the
individual having day-to-day control over the facility in
which he is being detained, ” Vasquez v. Reno,
233 F.3d 688, 696 (1st Cir. 2000). Therefore, the proper
respondent is the warden of the institution where Pen was
confined when the petition was filed. Because Pen was at FCI
Oakdale at the time, the proper respondent is Warden Young.
The other persons identified as respondents are not proper
parties to this action.
regards to the second question, district courts are limited
to granting habeas relief ‘within their respective
jurisdictions.'” Padilla, 542 U.S. at 442.
This means “nothing more than that the court issuing
the writ have jurisdiction over the custodian.”
Id. (quoting Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit
Court of Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484, 495 (1973)). Thus,
jurisdiction over Pen's petition only lies in the
District of Massachusetts if the Court has jurisdiction over
Warden Young. However, the “general rule” is that
“for core habeas petitions challenging present physical
confinement, jurisdiction lies in only one district: the
district of confinement.” Id. at 443. Because
the District of Massachusetts is not the district of
Pen's confinement, this Court lacks jurisdiction to
entertain the present petition.
of dismissing the petition, the Court will transfer this case
to the appropriate United States District Court. See
28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) (“[I]in the interest of
justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to
any other district or division where it might have been
brought.”). The Court notes that the adjudication of
all pending motions shall be left up to the transferee court.
for the reasons set forth above, the Court orders that this
action be TRANSFERRED to the United States District Court for
the Western District of Louisiana.