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Mendez v. Rio Grande Detention Center

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

June 4, 2018

Rufino Loredo Mendez, Petitioner,
v.
Rio Grande Detention Center, Respondent.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

         Petitioner, proceeding pro se, brings this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 for habeas relief. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c), D.S.C., the undersigned is authorized to review such petitions for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the District Court. The Petition is subject to summary dismissal.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se pleadings and motion to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. The review has been conducted in light of the following precedents: Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Maryland House of Correction, 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995)(en banc); Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983); Loe v. Armistead, 582 F.2d 1291 (4th Cir. 1978); and Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). The Petitioner is a pro se litigant, and thus his pleadings are accorded liberal construction. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)(per curiam); Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972). Even under this less stringent standard, the petition is subject to summary dismissal. The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v. Department of Social Services, 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir. 1990).

         Furthermore, this court is charged with screening Petitioner's lawsuit to determine if “it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court.” Rule 4 of Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts.[1] Following the required initial review, it is recommended that the Petition should be summarily dismissed.

         DISCUSSION

         Petitioner has filed a § 2241 Petition. Petitioner is currently in federal custody in Texas. The District Court for the District of South Carolina was the sentencing court for a 2009 charge, reentry of deported alien, which Petitioner is contesting. See No. 6:09-cr-00447-GRA (D.S.C). Petitioner was sentenced in July 2009. Petitioner has already fully served this sentence and is in custody in Texas under charges from two other district courts. See No. 5:14-cr-1050, Southern District of Texas; No. 3:17-cr-2228-AJB, Southern District of California. In South Carolina in 2009, Petitioner was sentenced to 41 months and two years supervised release. Petitioner has already served out the sentence of this Court and is not in custody on this charge. United States district courts have jurisdiction to entertain petitions for habeas relief only from persons who are “in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3); see also 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). The United States Supreme Court “interpreted the statutory language as requiring that the habeas petitioner be ‘in custody' under the conviction or sentence under attack at the time his petition is filed.” Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S. 488, 490-91 (1989)(citing Carafas v. LaVallee, 391 U.S. 234, 238 (1968). The Petition is subject to summary dismissal because Petitioner is not in custody under the conviction under attack in his Petition.

         Second, to the extent the § 2241 Petition is an attempt to file a § 2255 motion in the sentencing court, such motion would also be subject to dismissal because Petitioner is not in custody on this charge. Moreover, the time for filing a § 2255 motion is one year from “the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final” and Petitioner is well outside that time period. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255.

         Further, this court is without territorial jurisdiction of the respondent. To the extent Petitioner attempts to file a § 2241 Petition for his current confinement in Texas, “[w]henever a § 2241 habeas petitioner seeks to challenge his present physical custody within the United States, he should name his warden as respondent and file the petition in the district of confinement.” Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 447 (2004)(emphasis added). This court is not the district of confinement. “Congress intended to limit the jurisdiction of a district court to prisoners in custody within its territorial jurisdiction.” Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484, 509 (1973). The United States Supreme Court recognized the purpose behind this rule:

This rule, derived from the terms of the habeas statute, serves the important purpose of preventing forum shopping by habeas petitioners. Without it, a prisoner could name a high-level supervisory official as respondent and then sue that person wherever he is amenable to long-arm jurisdiction. The result would be rampant forum shopping, district courts with overlapping jurisdiction, and the very inconvenience, expense, and embarrassment Congress sought to avoid when it added the jurisdictional limitation 137 years ago.

Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 447 (2004).

         RECOMMENDATION

         Accordingly, it is recommended that the Petition in this case be dismissed without prejudice and without requiring the respondent to file a return.

         IT IS ...


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