United States District Court, D. New Jersey
WILLIE D. JAMES, Petitioner,
B.M. ANTONELLI, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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