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James L. Jackson v. Unknown

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


February 25, 2011

JAMES L. JACKSON,
PETITIONER,
v.
UNKNOWN,
RESPONDENT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: United States District Judge William Q. Hayes

ORDER DENYING IN FORMA PAUPERIS APPLICATION AND DISMISSING CASE WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

Petitioner, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, has not paid the $5.00 filing fee and has filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, together with a request to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).

MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

The request to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED because Petitioner has not provided the Court with sufficient information to determine Petitioner's financial status. A request to proceed in forma pauperis made by a state prisoner must include a certificate from the warden or other appropriate officer showing the amount of money or securities Petitioner has on account in the institution. Rule 3(a)(2), 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254; Local Rule 3.2. Petitioner has failed to provide the Court with the required Prison Certificate.

FAILURE TO NAME PROPER RESPONDENT

Review of the Petition reveals that Petitioner has failed to name a proper respondent. On federal habeas, a state prisoner must name the state officer having custody of him as the respondent. Ortiz-Sandoval v. Gomez, 81 F.3d 891, 894 (9th Cir. 1996) (citing Rule 2(a), 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254). Federal courts lack personal jurisdiction when a habeas petition fails to name a proper respondent. See id.

The warden is the typical respondent. However, "the rules following section 2254 do not specify the warden." Id. "[T]he 'state officer having custody' may be 'either the warden of the institution in which the petitioner is incarcerated . . . or the chief officer in charge of state penal institutions.'" Id. (quoting Rule 2(a), 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254 advisory committee's note). If "a petitioner is in custody due to the state action he is challenging, '[t]he named respondent shall be the state officer who has official custody of the petitioner (for example, the warden of the prison).'" Id. (quoting Rule 2, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254 advisory committee's note).

A long standing rule in the Ninth Circuit holds "that a petitioner may not seek [a writ of] habeas corpus against the State under . . . [whose] authority . . . the petitioner is in custody. The actual person who is [the] custodian [of the petitioner] must be the respondent." Ashley v. Washington, 394 F.2d 125, 126 (9th Cir. 1968). This requirement exists because a writ of habeas corpus acts upon the custodian of the state prisoner, the person who will produce "the body" if directed to do so by the Court. "Both the warden of a California prison and the Director of Corrections for California have the power to produce the prisoner." Ortiz-Sandoval, 81 F.3d at 895.

Here, Petitioner has not named a Respondent. In order for this Court to entertain the Petition filed in this action, Petitioner must name the warden in charge of the state correctional facility in which Petitioner is presently confined or the Director of the California Department of Corrections. Brittingham v. United States, 982 F.2d 378, 379 (9th Cir. 1992) (per curiam). / / /

CONCLUSION

Accordingly, the Court DENIES Petitioner's motion to proceed in form pauperis and DISMISSES the Petition without prejudice and with leave to amend. To have the case reopened, Petitioner must, no later than May 11, 2011: (1) pay the $5.00 filing fee OR submit adequate proof of his inability to pay the fee; AND (2) file a First Amended Petition that cures the pleading deficiencies outlined in this Order. The Clerk of Court is directed to mail Petitioner a blank motion to proceed in forma pauperis form and a blank First Amended Petition form together with a copy of this Order.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20110225

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