United States District Court, District of Columbia
L. FRIEDRICH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is pro se petitioner David Carroll Stephenson's
“1st Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a
Person Detained in Federal Custody Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 and Petition for Declaratory Judgment Pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2201 (28 U.S.C. § 2242 and F.R. Cv. P.
Rule 15(a)), ” Dkt. 2. Stephenson's 118-page
petition offers a wide-range of queries presented in the form
of twelve “questions” and appears to seek relief
under both 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and 28 U.S.C. § 2441.
See 1st Am. Pet. at 15 (asserting that he is
“exclusively challeng[ing] the legality of
detention”), 17 (asserting that he “suffer[s]
daily injury and damage as a direct and proximate result of
being subjected to detention”). For the reasons that
follow, the Court will deny the petition without prejudice
for lack of jurisdiction.
federal district courts have limited jurisdiction, they must
“examine, sua sponte, [their] jurisdiction to
entertain a case.” Maldonado-Torres v.
Mukasey, 576 F.Supp.2d 57, 58 (D.D.C. 2008). “If
the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3). See also Hurt v. U.S.Ct. of
Appeals for D.C. Cir. Banc, No. 07-5019, 2008 WL 441786,
at **1 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (unpublished) (“It was proper
for the district court to analyze its own jurisdiction sua
sponte and dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.”
(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3))); Rules Governing § 2255
Proceedings for the U.S. Dist. Cts. 4(b),
(“If it plainly appears from the motion, any attached
exhibits, and the record of prior proceedings that the moving
party is not entitled to relief, the judge must dismiss the
motion and direct the clerk to notify the moving
Stephenson is challenging the constitutionality of his
conviction under § 2255, this Court lacks jurisdiction
because it did not sentence him. Under § 2255, only
“the court which imposed the sentence” may
“set aside or correct the sentence.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255(a). As a result, “actions governed by
§ 2255 are to be brought in the sentencing court.”
Starnes v. McGuire, 512 F.2d 918, 932 (D.C. Cir.
1974). Stephenson does not assert, and the record does not
reflect, that he was sentenced in this district. To the
contrary, Stephenson appears to have been sentenced in the
Western District of Washington. See United States v.
Stephenson, No. 06-30299, 2007 WL 2298030, at **1 (9th
Cir. 2007) (unpublished), as amended on denial of
reh'g and reh'g en banc (Nov. 27, 2007).
extent Stephenson is challenging the execution or manner of
his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, he failed to
identify the proper respondent and filed in the wrong
district. “Whenever a § 2241 habeas petitioner
seeks to challenge his present physical custody within the
United States, he should name his warden as respondent and
file the petition in the district of confinement.”
Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 447 (2004).
Neither “the Attorney General [n]or [any] other remote
supervisory official” is the proper respondent.
Id. at 435. Stephenson is confined at the Federal
Correctional Institution at Terminal Island, which is located
in San Pedro, California. Petition, 1, Dkt. 1. Accordingly,
the proper respondent to Stephenson's § 2241 claim
is the warden at Terminal Island. See Stokes v. U.S.
Parole Comm'n, 374 F.3d 1235, 1239 (D.C. Cir. 2004).
And his petition should be filed in the United States
District Court for the Central District of California, which
has jurisdiction over his district of confinement-Terminal
Island in San Pedro, California.
Stephenson is invoking 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e), which
provides a so-called “savings clause” that
permits a federal prisoner to file a § 2241 habeas
petition when a § 2255 motion “is inadequate or
ineffective to test the legality of his detention, ”
Stokes, 374 F.3d at 1239, only the district court
where he is confined has jurisdiction over such a claim,
id. Stephenson therefore must pursue such relief in
the district court that has jurisdiction over Terminal
Island, which, again, appears to be the United States
District Court for the Western District of California.
Stephenson invokes 28 U.S.C. § 2201 for the purpose of
seeking a declaratory judgment that “Rulings, Holdings,
and Decrees of Federal and state judges are not included as
Supreme Law.” 1st Am. Pet. at 34. But § 2201 does
not provide a cause of action and is not an independent
source of jurisdiction. “Rather, the availability of
[declaratory] relief presupposes the existence of a
judicially remediable right.” Ali v. Rumsfeld,
649 F.3d 762, 778 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (quoting C & E
Servs., Inc. of Washington v. D.C. Water & Sewer
Auth., 310 F.3d 197, 201 (D.C.Cir.2002)). Stephenson has
not identified a judicially remediable right over which this
Court has jurisdiction, so he cannot pursue a declaratory
these reasons, the Court will dismiss Stephenson's
petition without prejudice and deny as moot his Motion/Demand
for Expedited Consideration of Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus, Dkt. 3, and Motion and Demand for Issurance [sic] of
Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2243, Dkt.