United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MEIR HELLER & SHAINDY HELLER on behalf of her infant son S.H., as his next friend, Petitioners,
WILLIAM P. BARR, in his Official Capacity as Attorney General of the United States; THOMAS R. DECKER, in his Official Capacity as New York Field Office Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; JAMES MCHENRY, in his Official Capacity as Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, Respondents.
ORDER & OPINION
Edgardo Ramos, U.S.D.J.
Meir Heller (“Petitioner”) and Shaindy Heller, on
behalf of her infant son, S.H., as his next friend
(collectively, “Petitioners”), filed the instant
petition for a writ of habeas corpus and complaint for
declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241; the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651; the
Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C.
§ 701 et seq.; the Immigration and Nationality Act
(“INA”), 8 U.S.C. § 1101 et seq.; and
Article I, Section 9, of the U.S. Constitution. Doc. 1.
Petitioner challenges his continued detention by immigration
authorities and seeks injunctive and declaratory relief, as
well as immediate release from detention.
3, 2019, Petitioners filed with the Court a petition for
habeas corpus challenging the sufficiency of process of
Petitioner's bond hearing, at which he was denied his
request to be released on bond. Petitioners argue that the
presiding Immigration Judge improperly placed on Petitioner
the burden of proof to show that continuing civil detention
was unwarranted. On May 14, 2019, Respondents submitted a
letter with the Court arguing that the case should be
transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of
New Jersey, the district where Petitioner is confined.
20, 2019, the Court held a hearing with the parties, during
which the Court granted the government's motion to
transfer the case the New Jersey, setting forth its reasoning
on the record. The Court noted that an order and opinion
would follow. This is that order and opinion.
entertain a habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. §
2241, a court must have jurisdiction over the
petitioner's custodian. See Braden v. 30th Judicial
Circuit Court of Ky., 410 U.S. 484, 494-95 (1973)
(explaining that writ of habeas corpus does not act upon
prisoner seeking relief, but upon his or her custodian).
Accordingly, a habeas corpus petition should name as the
respondent “the person who has custody over [the
petitioner], ” 28 U.S.C. § 2242, that is, the
petitioner's “immediate custodian, ”
Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 439-40 (2004).
“[I]n habeas challenges to present physical
confinement-‘core challenges'-the default rule is
that the proper respondent is the warden of the facility
where the prisoner is being held, ” and the writ is
issuable only in “the district of confinement.”
Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. at 436, 442.
“Non-core” challenges include challenges to forms
of custody other than physical confinement, including orders
of removal. See, e.g., Somir v. United
States, 354 F.Supp.2d 215, 217 n.2 (E.D.N.Y. 2005)
the Supreme Court in Padilla “left open the
question whether the Attorney General is a proper respondent
to a habeas petition filed by an alien detained pending
deportation, ” id. at 435 n.8, “a
majority of district courts in this Circuit have applied the
immediate custodian rule to such challenges, ”
Cesar v. Shanahan, No. 17 Civ. 7974 (ER), 2018 WL
1747989, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 5, 2018) (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted).
Court finds that Petitioners raise a “core”
habeas challenge and thus venue is only proper in the
District of New Jersey, the district of Petitioner's
confinement. Petitioners' argument that they are
challenging the legal process of the bond hearing, as opposed
the confinement that resulted from the legal insufficiency of
the bond hearing, relies upon a false distinction.
Petitioners seek as relief a bond hearing at which Petitioner
can challenge his current detention.
argument that venue is proper in this district because infant
S.H. is also a petitioner but not subject to confinement,
such that the immediate custodian rule is inapplicable, is
also unavailing. Allowing the case to proceed in this venue
simply because one of the nominal petitioners in this case is
not confined would provide an end-run around the immediate
custodian rule that has no basis in Padilla.
this is a “core” habeas challenge, the immediate
custodian rule of Padilla applies. At the time he
filed his habeas petition and now, Petitioner was detained at
the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, New Jersey, which is in
the District of New Jersey. However, Petitioner does not name
as respondent his immediate custodian. Rather, Petitioner
names several individuals who are best considered
“remote supervisory officials.” See
Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. at 435 (“[T]he 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.”).
Consequently, neither the present district nor the present
respondents are proper.
Petitioner was confined in New Jersey at the time he filed
this petition, and because the warden of the Bergen County
Jail is his immediate custodian, the government's motion
to transfer this petition to the United States District Court
for the District of New Jersey is GRANTED. See 28
U.S.C. § 1406(a). The Clerk of Court is respectfully
directed to transfer this action to the United States
District Court for the District of New Jersey as
expeditiously as feasible.
 Local Civil Rule 83.1 provides that
"the Clerk [of Court], unless otherwise ordered, shall
upon the expiration of seven (7) days effectuate the transfer
of the case to the transferee court." To the extent this
Local Rule applies, the Court hereby ...