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Sluss v. United States DOJ

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

January 13, 2015

MATTHEW SLUSS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Respondent

MATTHEW SLUSS, Petitioner, Pro se, PETERSBURG, VA.

For UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, International Prisoner Transfer Unit, Respondent: Carl Ezekiel Ross, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

Page 62

MEMORANDUM OPINION

CHRISTOPHER R. COOPER, United States District Judge.

Petitioner Matthew Sluss, a federal prisoner incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Center in Petersburg, Virginia, seeks a writ of mandamus compelling the Department of Justice (" DOJ" ) to transfer him--pursuant to an international treaty--to his birthplace of Canada to carry out the remainder of his sentence.[1] DOJ

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moves to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Rule 12(b)(6). Because the Attorney General has " unfettered discretion" to grant or deny the requested transfer, Bagguley v. Bush, 953 F.2d 660, 662, 293 U.S.App.D.C. 264 (D.C. Cir. 1991), the Court will grant DOJ's motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim.[2]

I. Background

Sluss previously sought to renounce his United States citizenship but the Court found that " he cannot lose his nationality" as long as he is incarcerated. Sluss v. U.S. Citizenship and Immig. Servs., 899 F.Supp.2d 37, 42 (D.D.C. 2012) (citing 8 U.S.C. § 1483(a)). In July 2013, Sluss submitted a request to his prison case manager, " [p]ursuant to the Treaty Between the United States and Canada On the Execution of Penal Sentences," to be transferred to his birthplace of Canada to serve out the remainder of his sentence. Mot. for Writ of Habeas Corpus (" Pet." ), Attach. 5, ECF No. 1-7. DOJ's International Prisoner Transfer Unit denied that request on March 5, 2014, Attach. 1, ECF No. 1-3, and Sluss filed this action against the agency in April 2014. Although Sluss captioned his initial filing as a motion for a writ of habeas corpus, he states in the opening paragraph that he is " seeking relief under the Administrative Procedure Act . . . [through] a writ of mandamus compelling agency action in accordance with the laws and treaties of the United States of America." Pet. at 1. The Court therefore characterized Sluss' initial pleading as a civil action and directed Sluss to comply with the filing fee requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act. See May 14, 2014 Order, ECF No. 4. Sluss complied, see June 6, 2014 Order, ECF No. 6, and this action proceeded.[3] Sluss has opposed DOJ's motion to dismiss, ECF Nos. 21, 25, and DOJ has replied, ECF No. 23.

II. Legal Standards

A. Motion to Dismiss

Dismissal is warranted if the allegations in Sluss' petition do not " contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.' " Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). In order to survive DOJ's motion to dismiss, Sluss must have

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alleged facts that would entitle him to the requested relief. See Stokes v. Cross,327 F.3d 1210, 1215, 356 U.S.App.D.C. 73 (D.C. Cir. 2003). Although the Court must accept the facts pled as true, legal allegations devoid of factual support are not entitled to this assumption. See Kowal v. MCI ...


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