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Scarmazzo v. Langford

United States District Court, C.D. California

November 16, 2017

LUKE SCARMAZZO, Petitioner,
v.
S. LANGFORD, Respondent.

          ORDER DENYING AS MOOT PETITIONER'S REQUEST TO FILE AMENDED PETITION (ECF NO. 15) ORDER GRANTING PETITIONER'S REQUEST TO REINSTATE CASE TO THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA (ECF NO. 10) ORDER TRANSFERRING CASE TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

          LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL, UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE

         Petitioner Luke Scarmazzo is a federal prisoner proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus.

         I.

         BACKGROUND

         Petitioner is confined at the Federal Correctional Institution in Victorville, California, which is located within the Central District of California. On August 28, 2017, Petitioner filed a federal habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, challenging his incarceration and seeking dismissal of his criminal judgment in United States v. Scarmazzo, No. 1:06-cr-00342-LJO-1 (E.D. Cal.), “because the expenditure of funds to continue his incarceration violates § 537 and the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution of the United States.” (ECF No. 1; ECF No. 2 at 18).[1] The United States District Court for the Central District of California found that that § 2255 is the exclusive means by which Petitioner may bring his claim and transferred the petition to this Court. (ECF No. 6).

         On September 14, 2017, Petitioner filed a request that the case be transferred back to the Central District of California, arguing that he “is challenging the conditions (funding) of his incarceration” and “does not consent to his case being transferred to the Eastern District[].” (ECF No. 10 at 1, 2). On September 29, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued findings and recommendation to categorize the petition as a § 2255 motion and to deny Petitioner's request to transfer the case back to the United States District Court for the Central District of California. (ECF No. 12). On October 4, 2017, Petitioner filed a motion to request further judicial review of the Central District's transfer order. Petitioner also sought leave to file an amended petition. (ECF No. 15). On October 25, 2017, Petitioner filed objections to the findings and recommendation with an amended petition attached thereto. (ECF No. 16).

         II.

         DISCUSSION

         A. Amendment

         The Ninth Circuit has held that “Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), which allows litigants to amend their pleadings once ‘as a matter of course' before a responsive pleading has been filed, applies to habeas corpus actions.” Anthony v. Cambra, 236 F.3d 568, 574 (9th Cir. 2000). No responsive pleading has been filed in the instant case, and thus, Petitioner is entitled to amend his pleading once as a matter of course. Accordingly, the Court denies as moot Petitioner's request for leave to amend and will consider Petitioner's amended petition.[2]

         B. Jurisdiction

         A district court must address the threshold question whether a petition was properly brought under § 2241 or § 2255 in order to determine whether the district court has jurisdiction.

         Hernandez v. Campbell, 204 F.3d 861, 865 (9th Cir. 2000) (per curiam). “Generally, motions to contest the legality of a sentence must be filed under § 2255 in the sentencing court, while petitions that challenge the manner, location, or conditions of a sentence's execution must be brought pursuant to § 2241 in the custodial court.” Id. at 867.

         In the instant case, the United State District Court for the Central District of California summarized the original petition as follows: Petitioner “alleges that his continued incarceration is unlawful because congressional appropriations enacted postconviction prohibit the Department of Justice from using appropriated funds to prosecute crimes related to state-sanctioned marijuana activities.” (ECF No. 6 at 2). The Central District found that Petitioner's claims fall under § 2255 because “Petitioner does not challenge the manner, location, or conditions of his sentence; rather, he seeks to contest the legality of his sentence in light of recent congressional acts and Ninth Circuit law.” (ECF No. 6 at 1). The Central District also found that Petitioner could not proceed pursuant to § 2241 on the basis that the remedy available under § 2255 was “inadequate or ineffective to test the ...


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