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State ex rel. Harris v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

June 13, 2019

State ex rel. Herman Harris, Jr., Petitioner,
v.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction et al., Respondents.

         IN HABEAS CORPUS ON OBJECTIONS

          Herman Harris, Jr., pro se.

          DECISION

          BROWN, J.

         {¶ 1} Petitioner, Herman Harris, Jr., an inmate at London Correctional Institution, has filed an original action requesting a writ of habeas corpus. Petitioner's complaint named as respondents the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the warden of London Correctional Institution.

         {¶ 2} The matter was referred to a magistrate of this court pursuant to Civ.R. 53 and LocR. 13(M) of the Tenth District Court of Appeals. The magistrate issued the appended decision, including findings of fact and conclusions of law, recommending this court sua sponte dismiss the complaint on grounds this court lacks jurisdiction in habeas corpus over petitioner, who is confined in Madison County.

         {¶ 3} Petitioner has filed pro se objections to the magistrate's decision. Petitioner appears to acknowledge this court's lack of territorial jurisdiction over this action, but requests this court grant a "waiver" of jurisdiction. (Petitioner's Objs. at 4.)

         {¶ 4} R.C. 2725.03 states:

If a person restrained of his liberty is an inmate of a state benevolent or correctional institution, the location of which is fixed by statute and at the time is in the custody of the officers of the institution, no court or judge other than the courts or judges of the county in which the institution is located has jurisdiction to issue or determine a writ of habeas corpus for his production or discharge. Any writ issued by a court or judge of another county to an officer or person in charge at the state institution to compel the production or discharge of an inmate thereof is void.

         {¶ 5} As set forth in the magistrate's findings of fact, petitioner is currently incarcerated in London Correctional Institution, located in Madison County, Ohio. This court has previously held that "R.C. 2725.03 requires that petitions for habeas corpus be filed in the county where an inmate is detained," and such statute "has been found to be constitutional by the Supreme Court of Ohio in Bridges v. McMackin (1989), 44 Ohio St.3d 135." Gillespie v. Ohio Dept. of Youth Servs. (In re Writ of Habeas Corpus), 10th Dist. No. 02AP-460, 2002-Ohio-4507, ¶ 4. See also State ex rel. McCardle v. Hageman, 10th Dist. No. 06AP-1176, 2007-Ohio-3290, ¶ 4, citing R.C. 2725.03 ("[T]his court has no power to grant habeas corpus relief to an inmate incarcerated outside the limits of our jurisdiction, Franklin County, Ohio. Instead, [petitioner] must file his complaint for a writ of habeas corpus in the county in which he is confined."). Accordingly, the magistrate properly concluded this court lacks jurisdiction to determine petitioner's habeas petition.

         {¶ 6} In the alternative, petitioner requests this court to "transfer the entire proceedings to the Twelfth Appellate District Court of Appeals of Ohio." (Petitioner's Objs. at 4.) However, because this court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the petition, we similarly "lack the authority to transfer venue to the appropriate court or to allow petitioner to amend his petition." Lopez v. Warden, Trumbull Corr. Inst, 11th Dist. No. 2017-T-0015, 2017-Ohio-7460, ¶ 7, citing Dayton Regional Transit Auth. v. State Emp. Relations Bd., 10th Dist. No. 14AP-876, 2015-Ohio-2049, ¶ 40.

         {¶ 7} In accordance with the magistrate's recommendation, which we adopt in its entirety, petitioner's objections are overruled and we sua sponte dismiss the action.

         Objections overruled; action dismissed.

          DORRIAN and LUPER ...


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