United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia
ORDER TRANSFERRING CASE
PRESTON BAILEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before this Court is a habeas corpus proceeding brought by
petitioner Wilbert Eugene Proffitt [Doc. 1], which was
recently transferred to this Court by the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Ohio [Doc. 8].
This Court is of the opinion that this case was improvidently
transferred and, accordingly, is returning the case to its
petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 was filed on December
18, 2017, in the Northern District of Ohio. At the time the
petition was filed, the petitioner was confined in
Youngstown, Ohio, within the Northern District of Ohio. At a
later date, the petitioner was transferred to FCI Hazelton,
triggering the transfer to this Court.
clear that the Northern District of Ohio continues to have
jurisdiction over this case. As noted in Smith v.
Campbell, 450 F.2d 829 (9th Cir. 1971):
It is generally accepted that in civil cases, jurisdiction is
measured at the time the action is filed, and subsequent
events cannot divest the court of that jurisdiction. St.
Paul Mercury Indemnity Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283
(1938). This rule is consistent with a concern for both
practicality and fairness. Mullen v. Torrance, 22
U.S. (9 Wheat.) 536 (1824). In Metcalf v. Watertown,
128 U.S. 586 (1888), the Court held that jurisdiction in
diversity of citizenship cases is determined at the time the
action is commenced. However, “Though habeas corpus is
technically ‘civil', it is not automatically
subject to all the rules governing ordinary civil actions.
See Harris v. Nelson, 394 U.S. 286.”
Schlanger v. Seamans, 401 U.S. 487, n. 4 at 490.
In regard to habeas corpus matters, the courts have uniformly
followed the rule regarding jurisdiction that is followed in
civil cases. In Schlanger v. Seamans,
supra, the Supreme Court based its ruling of lack of
jurisdiction upon the facts as they existed at the time the
action was filed. Furthermore, Justice Douglas stated:
“Had petitioner, at the time of the filing of the
petition, been under the command of the Air Force
officer assigned as liaison officer at Arizona State to
supervise the Education and Commissioning Program, we would
have a different question.” (Emphasis added.) 401 U.S.
In Bishop v. Medical Superintendent, 377 F.2d 467
(6th Cir. 1967), the court held that the district court was
correct in dismissing the petition for writ of habeas corpus
for not stating a cause of action, but was in error for
dismissing it for lack of jurisdiction. In that case the
petitioner, a patient at a state mental hospital within the
Western District of Michigan, filed his habeas corpus
petition with the district court for the western district.
Subsequently, the petitioner was transferred to a hospital
within the Eastern District of Michigan. The district court
held that it no longer had jurisdiction. The court of appeals
held: “We conclude that this latter ruling of the court
is in error. The District Court for the Western District of
Michigan, having jurisdiction of the action at the time the
petition was filed, did not lose jurisdiction when the
appellant was subsequently transferred to the Ypsilanti State
Hospital in the Eastern District of Michigan.” 377 F.2d
In Harris v. Ciccone, 417 F.2d 479 (8th Cir.
1969)[cert. denied, 397 U.S. 1078 (1970)], Justice Blackmun
(then Judge Blackmun) stated that a transfer of a petitioner
from Missouri to Pennsylvania did not defeat the jurisdiction
of the District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
417 F.2d 479 n. 1 at 480. The court reaffirmed the ruling in
its prior per curiam opinion in Holland v.
Ciccone, 386 F.2d 825 (8th Cir. 1967), that,
“Having had jurisdiction when the petition was filed,
the retransfer of the petitioner did not destroy that
jurisdiction.” 386 F.2d at 827.
450 F.2d at 832.
Third Circuit, in Ex parte Catanzaro, 138 F.2d 100,
101 (3d Cir. 1943), stated that “we do not believe that
passing about of the body of a prisoner from one custodian to
another after a writ of habeas corpus has been applied for
can defeat the jurisdiction of the Court to grant or refuse
the writ on the merits of the application. It is a general
rule of law that where one has become subject to the
jurisdiction of a court, the jurisdiction continues in all
proceedings arising out of the litigation such as appeals and
writs of error. 1 Beale, The Conflict of Laws (1935)
§ 76.1.” The Fifth Circuit, in Griffin v.
Ebbert, 751 F.3d 288, 290 (5th Cir. 2014), noted that
“[j]urisdiction attached on that initial filing for
habeas corpus relief, and it was not destroyed by the
transfer of petitioner and accompanying custodial
change.” (citations omitted). See also Lee v.
Wetzel, 244 F.3d 370 (5th Ci. 2001).
noted above, the Sixth Circuit is consistent with these other
holdings, Bishop v. Medical Superintendent, 377 F.2d
467 (6th Cir. 1967), as is the Eighth Circuit, Harris v.
Ciccone, 417 F.2d 479 (8th Cir. 1969), cert. denied, 397
U.S. 1078 (1970).
Tenth Circuit, in Santillanes v. U.S. Parole Comm.,
754 F.2d 887, 888 (10th Cir. 1985), held that “[i]t is
well established that jurisdiction attaches on the initial
filing for habeas corpus relief, and is not destroyed by a
transfer of the petitioner and accompanying custodial
clear then that the Northern District of Ohio has
jurisdiction to decide this case. The transfer order,