United States District Court, District of Columbia
Robert B. Kugler United States District Judge
Petitioner, Preston Pearson, is currently an inmate incarcerated at F.C.I. Fort Dix in Fort Dix, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. For the following reasons, this Court will transfer this habeas petition to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
This Court received petitioner’s habeas petition in April, 2016. Petitioner challenges his 2009 judgment and conviction from the District of Columbia Superior Court for second degree murder. Petitioner received a sentence of 120 months. Petitioner raises several claims in this habeas petition related to that 2009 District of Columbia Superior Court judgment and conviction; specifically: (1) denial of counsel choice; (2) denial of an impartial jury; (3) prosecutorial misconduct; (4) improper suppression of exculpatory evidence; and (5) ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel.
III. STANDARD FOR SUA SPONTE REVIEW OF HABEAS PETITION
With respect to screening the instant petition, 28 U.S.C. § 2243 provides in relevant part:
A court, justice or judge entertaining an application for a writ of habeas corpus shall forthwith award the writ or issue an order directing the respondent to show cause why the writ should not be granted, unless it appears from the application that the applicant or person detained is not entitled thereto.
As petitioner is proceeding pro se, his petition is held to less stringent standards than those pleadings drafted by lawyers. See Rainey v. Varner, 603 F.3d 189, 198 (3d Cir.2010) (“It is the policy of the courts to give a liberal construction to pro se habeas petitions.”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); United States v. Otero, 502 F.3d 331, 334 (3d Cir.2007) (“we construe pro se pleadings liberally.”) (citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)). Nevertheless, “a district court is authorized to dismiss a [habeas] petition summarily when it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court[.]” Lonchar v. Thomas, 517 U.S. 314, 320 (1996).
Because petitioner was convicted and sentenced in the District of Columbia Superior Court, he is considered a state prisoner. See Morgan v. LaManna, 150 F. App’x 145, 147 (3d Cir. 2005) (citing Madley v. United States Parole Comm’n, 278 F.3d 1306, 1309 (D.C. Cir. 2002)). Accordingly, as petitioner is clearly challenging the 2009 District of Columbia Superior Court judgment and conviction, he should bring this habeas action under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, not 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Id. (finding that a petitioner challenge to his sentence in the District of Columbia Superior Court make him a state prisoner whose only recourse for federal habeas relief is under § 2254); see also Ganeous v. Zickefoose, No. 14-0443, 2014 WL 2940583, at *3 (M.D. Pa. June 30, 2014) (collecting cases which hold that where petitioner is challenging a District of Columbia Superior Court conviction and sentence that habeas petition is correctly filed under § 2254, not § 2241).
Section 2241 provides in relevant part:
Where an application for a writ of habeas corpus is made by a person in custody under the judgment and sentence of a State court of a State which contains two or more Federal judicial districts, the application may be filed in the district court for the district wherein such person is in custody or in the district court for the district within which the State court was held which convicted and sentenced him and each of such district courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction to entertain the application.
28 U.S.C. § 2241(d). Nevertheless “[t]he district court for the district wherein such an application is filed in the exercise of its discretion and in furtherance of justice may transfer the application to the other district court for hearing and determination.” Id. Accordingly, Petitioner's original petition was properly filed in this district as he is confined at FCI Fort Dix, ...