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James v. Antonelli

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

February 19, 2019

WILLIE D. JAMES, Petitioner,
v.
B.M. ANTONELLI, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         IT APPEARING THAT:

         1. Petitioner Willie D. James filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, to challenge his career offender designation under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Specifically, he argues that his predicate convictions no longer qualify as “crimes of violence” as that phrase is used in the Guidelines. See ECF No. 1.

         2. At the time he filed the Petition, Petitioner was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution at Williamsburg in Salters, South Carolina, within the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, see ECF No. 1 at 9, 10, and he thus filed the Petition in the District of South Carolina. See No. 18-cv-1839 (D.S.C.).

         3. After the filing was received by the District of South Carolina, the case was referred for pretrial proceedings to a U.S. Magistrate Judge and an order was issued to the parties, which included a direction to the Petitioner that he must update his address with the court if it changes. See ECF No. 7 at 3.

         4. Pursuant to the order, Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 10. In the Motion, the Respondent argued that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the Petition based on the type of claim raised in the Petition, which, in the alternative, should also be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

         5. Petitioner filed an opposition to the Motion, and in doing so, also updated his address with the court because he was transferred from FCI Williamsburg to the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix, in Fort Dix, New Jersey. See ECF Nos. 16, 17.

         6. The magistrate judge then issued a Report and Recommendation, sua sponte raising and recommending transfer of the Petition to this Court, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The Report and Recommendation provides, in pertinent part:

Although Petitioner was incarcerated in the District of South Carolina when he filed his § 2241 petition, he is presently incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix in New Jersey. Petitioner's current custodian, the Warden of FCI Fort Dix, is therefore the proper party respondent to Petitioner's § 2241 petition. Accordingly, this court lacks jurisdiction to entertain his petition. See Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. at 445 (“[T]he custodian's absence from the territorial jurisdiction of the district court is fatal to habeas jurisdiction.”). Because Respondent has filed a motion to dismiss that has been fully briefed by both parties, the undersigned finds transfer of the instant petition to the District of New Jersey would serve the interests of justice and would not prejudice either party. See Feller v. Brock, 802 F.2d 722, 729 n.7 (4th Cir. 1986) (“Although a motion by one of the parties is ordinarily required for transfer, the district court may consider the possibility of transfer sua sponte.”).

ECF No. 20 at 2-3 (citations to the docket omitted). No. statute authorizing the transfer is cited or referenced in the Report and Recommendation.

         7. After no objections were filed to the Report and Recommendation, the district court entered an order providing, in pertinent part:

A de novo review of the record indicates that the magistrate judge's report accurately summarizes this case and the applicable law. Accordingly, the magistrate judge's report and recommendation is AFFIRMED, and this case is TRANSFERRED to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a certificate of appealability is denied because petitioner has failed to make a “substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional ...

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