United States District Court, District of Columbia
ROBERT W. BARROCA, Petitioner,
JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, et al., Respondents.
P. MEHTA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Robert W. Barroca urges the court to reconsider its decision
to transfer this matter to the United States District Court
for the Central District of California. For the reasons
discussed below, the court recognizes that it departed from
binding D.C. Circuit precedent by transferring the matter sua
sponte without first providing Petition an opportunity to be
heard in this court. Accordingly, the court treats
Petitioner's “Motion to Stay, ” which is
presently before the court for review, as a motion for
reconsideration, which allows Petitioner an opportunity to be
heard. After thoroughly reviewing Petitioner's Motion,
however, the court once again finds that this District is not
the proper forum in which to hear Petitioner's claim.
Accordingly, the court denies Petitioner's Motion and
transfers this case to the United States District Court for
the Central District of California.
September 4, 2017, the court sua sponte transferred the
instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 to the United States District Court for the
Central District of California. In its Transfer Order, the
court explained that Petitioner had incorrectly named the
Attorney General and Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of
Prisons, rather than the warden of the prison facility in
which he is being held, as the respondent to his petition.
See Transfer Order, ECF No. 2. Because
Petitioner is an inmate at the Victorville Medium II Federal
Correctional Institution in Adelanto, California, the court
held that the proper respondent in this matter is the Warden
of the Victorville facility and, accordingly, ordered the
case transferred to the Central District of California.
this matter could be transferred, Petitioner filed both a
“Motion to Stay” and a Notice of Appeal. In his
Motion to Stay, Petitioner contends that the court's sua
sponte transfer of the Petition was error. Specifically, he
maintains that he has not challenged “his present
physical confinement or its lawfulness thereof, he is
challenging the incorrect calculation by the Attorney General
of his sentence.” Pet.'s Mot. to Stay, ECF No. 3
[hereinafter Pet.'s Mot.], at 4. Such a challenge, he
maintains, is properly brought against the Attorney General
in this District. Id. Additionally, Plaintiff
asserts that the court's transfer of the Petition without
allowing him an opportunity to be heard was itself improper.
Id. at 5-6. Notwithstanding his filing of a Notice
of Appeal, Petitioner asks the court to reconsider and vacate
its Transfer Order. See Id. at 2-3, 7; Notice of
Appeal, ECF No. 4.
requirements of habeas petitions are well settled. If an
inmate wishes to challenge the length of his confinement,
then the inmate must file a habeas petition. See White v.
Bowie, 194 F.3d 175, 1999 WL 187769, at *1 (D.C. Cir.
1999) (per curiam) (stating that inmate could
“challeng[e] the computation of his sentence”
under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 “in an appropriate
forum”); Blair-Bey v. Quick, 151 F.3d 1036,
1039 (D.C. Cir. 1998); Crawford v. Barry, No.
95-7073, 1996 WL 734096, at *2 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (per curiam)
(treating appellant's challenge to “the calculation
of his sentence” as a request for habeas relief);
Chatman-Bey v. Thornburgh, 864 F.2d 804, 809 (D.C.
Cir. 1988) (en banc) (holding that challenge to parole
eligibility date must be brought as a habeas petition);
see also Alston v. United States, 590 A.2d 511,
514-15 (D.C. 1991) (holding that D.C. Code offender
incarcerated in California and challenging sentencing
computation could seek redress in the “proper court in
California”); 16A Stacy L. Davis, et al., Fed. Proc.
§ 41:137 (L. Ed. 2017) (“A claim for credit
against the sentence attacks the computation and execution of
the sentence rather than the sentence itself, and review by
way of habeas corpus must therefore be sought in the district
of confinement rather than in the sentencing court.”).
That rule applies even when the prisoner “is not laying
claim to immediate release or release in the near
future.” Chatman-Bey, 864 F.2d at 809.
Additionally, any habeas challenge to a prisoner's
present physical confinement must name as the respondent
“the warden of the facility where the prisoner is being
held.” Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 435
court concludes, again, that Petitioner's case is not in
the proper forum. Petitioner asserts that the Bureau of
Prisons has wrongly calculated the time remaining on his
sentence because the Bureau has run his sentences on two
separate convictions consecutively, as opposed to
concurrently, thereby illegally increasing the length of his
sentence. See Pet., ECF No. 1, at 13. Such a claim
is a challenge to the conditions of Petitioner's
confinement. See White, 1999 WL 187769, at *1. Thus,
Petitioner's claim must be brought (1) as a habeas
petition that (2) names as the respondent the warden of the
prison in which Petitioner is housed. See Rumsfeld,
542 U.S. at 435; Chatman-Bey, 864 F.2d at 809.
Plaintiff has done the former, but not the latter. Although
Petitioner properly asserts his claim in the form of a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus, he brings his Petition
both against the wrong parties (the Attorney General and
Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons) and in the
wrong jurisdiction (the District of Columbia). The proper
respondent in this case is the Warden of the Victorville
prison facility. See Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. at 435. The
court does not have personal jurisdiction over that
individual because the Victorville prison facility is not
located in the District of Columbia. See
Chatman-Bey, 864 F.2d at 810. Therefore, the court
correctly decided in its Transfer Order that this District is
not the proper forum to hear Petitioner's Writ.
was proper for the court to order the transfer of this matter
sua sponte. In Chatman-Bey, the D.C. Circuit held
that a district court may sua sponte transfer a habeas
petition “to the jurisdiction of confinement.”
Id. at 814-15. That is precisely what the court did
here-it ordered that the case be transferred to the federal
district court that has jurisdiction over the Warden of the
Victorville facility, which is the District Court for the
Central District of California. The court, therefore, did not
make an error in sending this case to another District.
court, however, did err in one respect. Contrary to the D.C.
Circuit's direction in Chatman-Bey, the court
failed to issue an order to show cause before it sua sponte
transferred Petitioner's case. Id. The court
should have given Petitioner an opportunity to be heard in
this District prior to transferring the case to another
District. Remedying that procedural error at this juncture,
however, would be futile because Petitioner's assertion
that he filed his Petition in the proper jurisdiction is
squarely foreclosed by Circuit precedent. Therefore, issuing
an order to show cause now only would delay the inevitable
transfer order that would follow. Thus, the court
acknowledges its error but declines to needlessly prolong
because the proper respondent in this matter is the Warden of
the Victorville Medium II Federal Correctional Institution in
Adelanto, California, the court properly transferred this
matter sua sponte to the ...