Thomas C. Shrader, Petitioner Below, Petitioner
State of West Virginia, Respondent Below, Respondent
Thomas C. Shrader, pro se, appeals the Circuit Court of
Mercer County's May 11, 2018, order declining to rule on
his "Motion for Court Order or Court Affidavit" and
dismissing the matter for a lack of jurisdiction. The State,
by counsel Scott E. Johnson, filed a summary response in
support of the circuit court's order and a supplemental
appendix. Petitioner filed a reply. On appeal, petitioner
argues that the circuit court erred in concluding that it did
not have jurisdiction in this matter.
Court has considered the parties' briefs and the record
on appeal. The facts and legal arguments are adequately
presented, and the decisional process would not be
significantly aided by oral argument. Upon consideration of
the standard of review, the briefs, and the record presented,
the Court finds no substantial question of law and no
prejudicial error. For these reasons, a memorandum decision
affirming the circuit court's order is appropriate under
Rule 21 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure.
1975, petitioner was charged with murder in two cases arising
from the same incident wherein he allegedly shot multiple
persons." Shrader v. State, No. 17-0299, 2018
WL 679497, at *1 ( W.Va. Feb. 2, 2018)(memorandum decision).
In 1976, the Circuit Court of McDowell County "accepted
petitioner's guilty pleas to two counts of first-degree
murder and one count of unlawful wounding." Id.
at 2. "The circuit court sentenced petitioner to a life
term of incarceration with the possibility of parole with
regard to each murder conviction and sentenced him to a
twelve-month term of incarceration with regard to the
unlawful wounding conviction." Id. The circuit
court ordered that the sentences run concurrently, pursuant
to the plea agreement. Id. Petitioner was released
on parole in 1993 and completed his parole in 1999.
2009, petitioner was arrested by FBI agents at his home in
Mercer County, West Virginia. "In June of 2010,
petitioner was charged by a federal grand jury of being a
felon in possession of a firearm. Ultimately, petitioner was
found guilty of constructive possession of firearms" in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Shrader,
No. 17-0299, 2018 WL 679497, at *2. "Because of
petitioner's record of three violent felonies, his
sentence was enhanced pursuant to the Armed Career Criminal
Act to 235 months of incarceration." Id. His
convictions were upheld by the United States Court of Appeals
for the Fourth Circuit in 2012. See United States v.
Shrader, 675 F.3d 300, 303 (4th Cir. 2012). Petitioner
is currently incarcerated at United States
Penitentiary-Mendota in Mendota, California.
April of 2018, petitioner filed a "Motion for Court
Order or Court Affidavit" in Mercer County, West
Virginia seeking release from federal incarceration. The
circuit court entered an order finding that petitioner's
conviction and sentencing occurred in McDowell County, West
Virginia, and that Mercer County did not have jurisdiction.
The circuit court ordered that the matter be dismissed. In
May of 2018, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration
requesting that the circuit court reconsider its prior
decision. On May 11, 2018, the circuit court affirmed its
earlier decision due to a lack of jurisdiction and again
ordered that the matter be dismissed.
sole assignment of error, petitioner argues that the circuit
court erred in concluding that it did not have jurisdiction
in the matter. Petitioner alleges that because he was
arrested in Mercer County in 2009, Mercer County has
jurisdiction. However, we do not find petitioner's
our review of a circuit court's decision that it lacks
jurisdiction, we have noted that "[w]hether a court has
subject matter jurisdiction over an issue is a question of
law." Snider v. Snider, 209 W.Va. 771, 777, 551
S.E.2d 693, 699 (2001). Further, "[w]here the issue on
an appeal from the circuit court is clearly a question of law
. . . we apply a de novo standard of review."
Syl. Pt. 1, in part, Chrystal R.M. v. Charlie A.L.,
194 W.Va. 138, 459 S.E.2d 415 (1995).
petitioner is not incarcerated by the State of West Virginia.
He was convicted of multiple federal crimes and is currently
incarcerated in federal prison. The State argues that the
circuit court does not have jurisdiction because petitioner
is currently in federal custody after being convicted in
federal court of violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), a
"purely federal law." We agree with the State.
Based on our review of the record, we conclude that the
circuit court did not have jurisdiction and did not err in
dismissing the matter.  See Hinkle v. Bauer Lumber &
Home Bldg. Ctr., Inc., 158 W.Va. 492, 211 S.E.2d 705
(1975) (holding that "[w]henever it is determined that a
court has no jurisdiction to entertain the subject matter of
a civil action, the forum court must take no further action
in the case other than to dismiss it from the
foregoing reasons, the circuit court's May 11, 2018,
order is hereby affirmed.
CONCURRED IN BY: Chief Justice Elizabeth D. Walker, Justice
Margaret L. Workman, Justice Tim Armstead, Justice Evan H.
Jenkins, Justice John A. Hutchison