Southern District of Illinois. But the Court can say, without question, that an inmate who fears that his safety is endangered anywhere in the federal prison system is more likely to risk harm by traveling through the system to attend court in the District of Columbia than by remaining in one facility. This is especially true where, as here, that inmate does not claim that the facility in which he is now incarcerated is less capable of protecting him than other federal facilities might be.
Moreover, plaintiff's claim will require extensive factfinding. His testimony, and that of other inmates familiar with the alleged risks to his life, may be key. Where inmate testimony is required, the inconvenience of transporting prisoners, and in this instance the possibility of physical harm to them, strongly suggest the propriety of transfer. In re Chatman-Bey, 231 U.S. App. D.C. 72, 718 F.2d 484, 488 (D.C. Cir. 1983); Starnes v. McGuire, 512 F.2d at 931.
Plaintiff's arguments against transfer are not convincing. First, plaintiff has stated that he may need to examine files in congressional offices, the Bureau of Prisons, as well as files and personal papers of inmates in the Terre Haute and Marion penitentiaries. While the files in congressional offices and the Bureau of Prisons would be available regardless of where plaintiff pursued his case, the files, and particularly the personal papers of inmates, at Terre Haute and Marion may be available more easily, if not exclusively, to counsel in those areas. As such, this factor does not support keeping the case before this Court.
Similarly, plaintiff argues that his case should not be transferred because he will need to call expert witnesses located throughout the country, and they would be inconvenienced by a transfer to the Southern District of Illinois. But experts located throughout the country would be equally inconvenienced by a trip to Washington, D.C. Because travel to either location would inconvenience plaintiff's expert witnesses, the Court cannot find that this argument overcomes the presumption favoring transfer developed by Starnes and its progeny.
Finally, plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to the Government's Motion suggests, although elliptically, that a Court in the Southern District of Illinois would not find inmates in the Marion penitentiary credible witnesses. Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law at 10. For support, plaintiff cites to recommendations of a Magistrate of that Court. Those recommendations are unpublished, unavailable on legal research computer programs (i.e., LEXIS and Westlaw), and have not been provided by plaintiff. Whether or not the recommendations support plaintiff's suggestion of inescapable bias, the Court cannot accept such bald assertions of prejudice, which go to the integrity of the judicial process, without a substantial offer of proof.
In sum, plaintiff's only justification for pursuing a remedy in this Court is his relationship with counsel. Counsel may continue to represent plaintiff pro haec vice in the Southern District of Illinois or may informally advise and work with counsel there. While the Court would not wish to burden a lawyer who has undertaken to represent an imprisoned client for a token fee, that fact alone does not mitigate against the substantial reasons for transfer. As such, even if the Court could view this case as something other than a habeas corpus petition, it would have to transfer the action the Southern District of Illinois.
Accordingly, the Court will issue a separate Order, of even date herewith, transferring petitioner's habeas corpus claim to that district.
January 15, 1987
In accordance with the Opinion, issued of even date herewith, in the above-captioned case, and for the reasons stated therein, it is this 15th day of January, 1987,
ORDERED that defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's claim that his incarceration in the federal prison system is unlawful shall be, and hereby is, dismissed; and it is further
ORDERED that defendant's motion to transfer the remaining claim in this action, plaintiff's petition for habeas corpus, to the Southern District of Illinois, shall be, and hereby is, granted.
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