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Cook v. Chapdelaine

United States District Court, D. Maryland

October 28, 2014

GERALD J. COOK Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN CHAPDELAINE, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM

WILLIAM M. NICKERSON, District Judge.

Gerald Jamar Cook ("Cook"), a prisoner housed at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut, filed this 28 U.S.C. § 2241 Petition on October 6, 2014. Affording the self-represented Petition a generous interpretation, Cook complains about an "involuntary transfer" to Connecticut and his inability to access Maryland law, statutes, and rules while in the out-of-state facility so as to continue his "legal fight." ECF No. 1. He claims that his transfer occurred without any form of a hearing and he was placed on administrative segregation in a Connecticut facility after already serving his segregation time in Maryland.[1] Cook complains that such an assignment violated his double jeopardy rights and his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. He asks to be transferred back to Maryland, so that he may have contact with his family and access to Maryland research materials. Id.

Cook, who has paid the $5.00 habeas filing fee, seeks federal habeas corpus relief. The case, however, shall be construed as a hybrid 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action and 28 U.S.C. § 2241 habeas corpus petition and shall be summarily dismissed.

To the extent that plaintiff seeks declaratory relief under § 1983 to challenge his assignment to administrative segregation while in Connecticut, his claims shall be dismissed without prejudice.[2] Without commenting on the constitutional viability of such a claim, as all of the events giving rise to the alleged unconstitutional conduct occurred in Connecticut, it is clear there is no venue for this Court to take review over such claims. The claim is properly brought in the District of Connecticut, where Cook is currently in custody.

Further, to the extent that Cook is seeking to raise a § 2241 challenge to his transfer to Connecticut, the Court finds that it lacks jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over this habeas corpus petition lies in the federal district court where Cook's custodian is located. See Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 434-35 (2004) (confirming that proper respondent in habeas action is a petitioner's warden); Stokes v. United States Parole Comm'n, 374 F.3d 1235, 1239 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (district court "may not entertain a habeas petition involving present physical custody unless respondent custodian is within its territorial jurisdiction").[3] After Padilla, a Court may only entertain a habeas petition involving current physical custody if the immediate custodian is within that court's jurisdiction. Cook filed this action while confined at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Connecticut. He is not confined in Maryland. Given these circumstances, this Court has no personal jurisdiction to adjudicate his 28 U.S.C. § 2241 Petition. A separate Order will be entered reflecting this opinion.[4]


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