United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Robert J. Jonker
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
PHILLIP J. GREEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Thomas Smith's Habeas
Corpus Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (ECF No. 1).
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), the
undersigned recommends that his petition be transferred to
the United States District Court for the Northern District of
about May 17, 2012, a federal grand jury sitting in the
Western District of Michigan charged Petitioner with
conspiracy, fraud, and identity theft. United States v.
Smith, 1:12-cr-138, ECF No. 23 (W.D. Mich.). A warrant
authorizing Petitioner's arrest was issued the same day
and Petitioner was arrested in Chicago, Illinois, on May 24,
2012. Smith, 1:12-cr-138, ECF No. 38.
Petitioner's initial appearance before a United States
judicial officer occurred in the Northern District of
Illinois. United v. Smith, 1:12-cr-393, ECF No. 1-12
(N.D.Ill.). Petitioner subsequently appeared in this Court
where he was convicted and sentenced, in part, to serve 92
months in the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons
(BOP). Smith, 1:12-cr-138, ECF No. 64, 98.
about March 11, 2019, Petitioner filed in the Northern
District of Illinois a Habeas Corpus Petition under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241. (ECF No. 1). In his petition, Smith alleges the
following. On June 19, 2018, he was transferred from the
Oxford Prison Camp to the Salvation Army Halfway House in
Chicago. On September 2, 2018, Petitioner provided a urine
sample which tested positive for codeine, a violation of BOP
rules. As a result, Petitioner was returned to custody and is
presently confined at a BOP facility in Chicago. Petitioner
filed the present action challenging the determination that
he violated BOP rules.
March 12, 2019, the Honorable Jeffrey Cole, interpreting the
present action as a challenge by Petitioner to his 2012
conviction, concluded that “we do not have jurisdiction
[over the present matter] since the case was transferred
seven years ago to the Western District of Michigan.”
(ECF No. 2). Thus, the matter was transferred to this Court.
For the reasons articulated below, however, the undersigned
finds that jurisdiction properly lies in the Northern
District of Illinois and, accordingly, recommends that the
matter be transferred to that court.
federal statutes, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241 and 2255,
confer jurisdiction on federal courts to resolve petitions
for writ of habeas corpus filed by prisoners in federal
custody. For present purposes, the relevant distinction
between these two provisions is that § 2255 confers
jurisdiction over challenges to the validity of a
prisoner's conviction or sentence, whereas § 2241
confers jurisdiction over challenges to the manner of
execution of a federal prisoner's sentence. See,
e.g., Cardona v. Bledsoe, 681 F.3d 533, 535-36 (3d Cir.
2012). Jurisdiction over actions brought pursuant to §
2241 “lies in only one district: the district of
confinement.” Ramos Perez v. Decker, 355
F.Supp.3d 185, 187 (S.D.N.Y. 2019). On the other hand,
actions brought pursuant to § 2255 must be heard by the
court which imposed the conviction or sentence being
challenged. See, e.g., Light v. Caraway, 761 F.3d
809, 812 (7th Cir. 2014). Thus, determining which statute
applies to the present action is dispositive on the question
where the present action must be heard.
The drug test that Petitioner is challenging was administered
while Petitioner was residing at a halfway house in Chicago.
Placement in a halfway house is a matter left to the
BOP's discretion, see, e.g., Henderson v. Davis,
2010 WL 4627802 at *1 (D. Colo., Nov. 8, 2010), and a federal
prisoner placed in a halfway house is considered to still be
in the custody of the BOP. See, e.g., United States v.
Matthews, 2015 WL 5918749 at *1 (W.D. Pa., Oct. 9,
2015). Thus, the challenge by Petitioner to the decision by
the BOP to remove him from the halfway house and return him
to custody concerns not the validity of his sentence but
rather the manner in which it is executed. See, e.g.,
Matlack v. Wiley, 2007 WL 4116017 at *1 (D. Colo., Nov.
present action is, therefore, properly considered under
§ 2241 rather than § 2255. Accordingly, because
this Court lacks jurisdiction to resolve a petition asserted
under § 2241 by a prisoner confined in another district,
this matter must be transferred to the district in which
Petitioner is confined. See, e.g., Answers in Genesis of
Kentucky, Inc. v. Creation Ministries Intern., Ltd., 556
F.3d 459, 465 (6th Cir. 2009) (federal courts have a duty to
consider their subject matter jurisdiction in regard to every
case and may raise the issue sua sponte); 28 U.S.C.
reasons articulated herein, the undersigned recommends that
this matter be transferred to the United States District
Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
to this Report and Recommendation must be filed with the
Clerk of Court within 14 days of the date of service of this
notice. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).
Failure to file objections within the specified time waives
the right to appeal the District Court's order.