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Tinsley v. United States

United States District Court, District Circuit

December 2, 2013

Fabian Tinsley, Petitioner,
v.
United States of America, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Petitioner, a District of Columbia prisoner at the Federal Correctional Institution in Fairton, New Jersey, has submitted pro se a document captioned Petition for Commitment While Serving Pursuant to D.C. Code § 24-502, and 18 U.S.C. § 4241, and an application to proceed in forma pauperis. For the following reasons, the Court will grant the application to proceed in forma pauperis and will dismiss this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Petitioner is serving a sentence imposed by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia following his guilty plea to one count of Kidnapping while Armed and one count of Aggravated Assault while Armed. See Pet. at 1; United States v. Tinsley, No. 2004 FEL 004393 (Super. Ct. Docket). Petitioner seeks in this action to enforce the sentencing judge's recommendation to place him in a psychiatric facility where he can "serve out the remaining seven to ten years" of his sentence. Compl. at 10; see Compl. Attach., July 12, 2005 Order at 1 n.2 ("The defendant's Judgment and Commitment Order already reflects the Court's recommendation that Mr. Tinsley be placed in a psychiatric facility."). Plaintiff states that "[i]t is [] very clear that a commitment to Saint Elizabeth's [sic] Hospital. . . would be in [his] best interest[, ] ... as well as [] the public['s]." Compl. at 10.

As a general rule applicable here, a convicted prisoner has no constitutional right to be placed at a particular facility, see Johnson v. U.S., 590 F.Supp.2d 101, 109-10 (D.D.C. 2008) (citing, inter alia, Olim v. Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 248 (1983)), and the Bureau of Prisons, under the direction of the Attorney General, otherwise has discretion in deciding where to place a prisoner committed to its custody. See 18 U.S.C. § 3621 ("Imprisonment of a convicted person"), § 4042 ("Duties of Bureau of Prisons"). In addition, neither the federal statute petitioner invokes, 18 U.S.C. § 4241, nor the case he cites, Bension v. Meredith, 455 F.Supp. 662 (D.D.C. 1978), applies here because petitioner is not challenging a civil commitment. See Id . (granting habeas petition of civil committee involuntarily detained at St. Elizabeths Hospital under the Federal Reservation Act, D.C. Code § 21-903(a) (1973)). To the extent that petitioner seeks hospitalization under 18 U.S.C. § 4245, governing that of "imprisoned person[s] suffering from mental disease or defect, " a motion filed under that statute is properly heard by "the court for the district in which the [petitioner's] facility is located, " § 4245(a), which for petitioner is the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. A separate Order of dismissal accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.


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