United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER TO SUBSTITUTE RESPONDENT AND ORDER TO
Richard Creatura United States Magistrate Judge
District Court has referred this petition for a writ of
habeas corpus to United States Magistrate Judge J. Richard
Creatura. The Court's authority for the referral is 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B), and local Magistrate
Judge Rules MJR3 and MJR4. Petitioner Lowell Edward Jackson
filed the petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
alleges that he is being unlawfully held in the Oregon State
Penitentiary based on either a conviction or an arrest
warrant from Clark County in Washington. Though he initially
named the Clark County Sheriff as the respondent, he has
since requested that the proper respondent, namely the
superintendent of the prison in which he is housed, be
substituted in this case.
petitioner is challenging the conviction on which he is
currently being held, the superintendent is not within the
Western District of Washington's territorial jurisdiction
and the Court cannot exercise personal jurisdiction over him.
However, if petitioner is challenging future custody in Clark
County, the Court would have personal jurisdiction.
Therefore, before making a determination on petitioner's
motion to transfer, petitioner must file an amended complaint
clarifying whether he is challenging the conviction on which
he is being held.
petitioner is being given an opportunity to clarify this by
identifying the conviction he is challenging.
is an inmate housed in the Oregon State Penitentiary.
Petitioner originally filed this action in Oregon, naming the
Clark County Sheriff as respondent and alleging that he was
being illegally detained under a Clark County order. Dkt. 1.
Because petitioner named a Washington resident as respondent
and challenged a Washington order, the Oregon court
transferred the case to the Western District of Washington.
Dkt. 3. This Court ordered petitioner to show cause or amend
his complaint to include the appropriate respondent, namely
the person with custody of petitioner. Dkt. 7. Petitioner
subsequently substituted the correct respondent and filed a
motion to transfer the case back to Oregon. Dkt. 8.
Petitioner's habeas petition is unclear as to whether he
is challenging a Washington order or whether he is
challenging a Washington conviction for which he will be
imprisoned in the future.
Substitution of Respondent
originally named Chuck Atkins, the Clark County Sheriff, as
the respondent in this action. As noted in the Court's
previous order, under Rule 2(a) of the Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases, “the petition must name as
respondent the state officer who has custody.” The
appropriate state officer is the person “with the
ability to produce the prisoner's body before the habeas
court.” Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 435
petitioner has submitted a motion to transfer that indicates
he desires to change the respondent to Brandon Kelly. Dkt. 8.
Brandon Kelly is the superintendent of the Oregon State
Penitentiary, the prison in which petitioner is housed.
Because of this, Kelly is the proper respondent in this
habeas action. Therefore, the Court directs the Clerk to
substitute Brandon Kelly as the respondent. The Court
emphasizes that, although petitioner's original petition
has not been amended to reflect the new respondent, the Court
treats the petition as though Brandon Kelly has replaced
Chuck Atkins as the respondent.
Motion to Transfer
has also filed a motion to transfer his case to the District
of Oregon, indicating that, because Kelly is now the
respondent, the “jurisdiction has changed” in his
case. Dkt. 8. The Court interprets this as a motion to
transfer the case for lack of personal jurisdiction.
courts have authority to grant writs of habeas corpus
‘within their respective jurisdictions.'”
Malone v. Calderon, 165 F.3d 1234, 1237 (9th Cir.
1999) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2241). As noted above, the
proper respondent in a habeas case is petitioner's
custodian. Padilla, 542 U.S. at 434. Because of
this, a petitioner need not be confined in the district where
he files the petition, so long as the Court retains personal
jurisdiction over petitioner's custodian. SeeBraden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court, 410 U.S. 484,
495 (1973). To determine jurisdiction “[i]n habeas
challenges to present physical confinement . . . the
district of confinement is synonymous with the
district court that has territorial jurisdiction over the
proper respondent.” Padilla, 542 U.S. at 444
(emphasis in original). Therefore, when the petitioner names
a respondent who is beyond the district court's
territorial jurisdiction, the Court generally lacks personal