United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DISMISSING PETITION AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF
DERRICK K. WATSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is Petitioner Steven Deon Turner, Jr.'s
petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. §
2254. Turner is a California state prisoner incarcerated at
the California Correctional Institution, located in
petition is largely incoherent. Turner apparently challenges
his October 10, 2014 conviction in the Los Angeles County
Superior Court. See Pet., ECF. No. 1, at PageID #12.
In support of the Petition, Turner alleges that he is a
political prisoner and sovereign, “natural-born, free,
living, breathing, flesh and blood being, ” who is not
“STEVEN DEON TURNER JR or any variation or derivative
thereof.” Id. at PageID #6. Turner invokes
relief under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United
States Constitution, alleging he has sovereign immunity from
prosecution by the State of California. He seeks release.
district court may grant a writ of habeas corpus only
“within [its] respective jurisdiction[.]” 28
U.S.C. § 2241(a); see also Braden v. 30th Judicial
Circuit Court of Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484, 495443 (1973)
(discussing language in Ahrens v. Clark, 335 U.S.
188 (1948), “indicating that the prisoner's
presence within the territorial confines of the district is
an invariable prerequisite to the exercise of the District
Court's habeas jurisdiction”) (emphasis
added). Section 2241(d) also states that, when a habeas
petition is brought in a state with two or more federal
judicial districts, venue lies in either the district of
confinement or the district of conviction. Petitions
challenging a conviction generally are heard in the district
of conviction, see, e.g., Dannenberg v.
Ingle, 831 F.Supp. 767, 768 (N.D. Cal. 1993), and
petitions challenging the execution of a sentence are
preferably heard in the district of confinement, Dunne v.
Henman, 875 F.2d 244, 249 (9th Cir. 1989).
has no apparent connection to Hawaii; neither state nor
federal court databases show that he has ever been convicted
or incarcerated in Hawaii. Nothing within the Petition
supports any other connection to Hawaii or basis for his
filing this Petition in the District of Hawaii. Consequently,
this Court lacks jurisdiction and venue over this action. A
district court has discretion to dismiss or transfer a
Petition laid in the wrong venue “in the interest of
justice.” See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1406(a)
& 2241(d). For the following reasons, the Court declines
to transfer this Petition.
Turner has already challenged his conviction and sentence by
way of a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United
State District Court for the Central District of California.
See Turner v. Sullivan, Civ. No. 17-0290-PA (C.D.
Cal.). United States District Judge Percy Anderson denied
that petition on its merits on January 26, 2019 and denied a
certificate of appealability. See id., ECF Nos. 47,
49. Thus, any subsequent challenge to Turner's 2014
conviction and sentence requires prior authorization from the
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit before
filing. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b). Without
appellate certification, any transferee court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction to consider this Petition and transfer
would be futile. See Burton v. Stewart, 549 U.S.
147, 152-53 (2007).
Turner has filed thirty-one habeas petitions, civil rights
complaints, or appeals in the federal courts. See
e.g., Turner v. Sullivan, Civ. No. 17-5903
(C.D. Cal. Aug. 29, 2017) (dismissing petition as patently
frivolous); Turner v. Bacigalupo, Civ. No. 17-01209
(D.C.D.C. July 17, 2017) (dismissing habeas petition for lack
of jurisdiction and declining to transfer); Turner v.
Alfaro, Civ. No. 2:2015-cv-00599 (C.D. Cal. 2015)
(dismissing habeas petition). This shows that Turner is
well-acquainted with how and where to file an action in the
federal court and suggests his filing here is malicious and
Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases states that a
district judge “must dismiss” a petition
“[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any
attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to
relief.” Summary dismissal is appropriate when a
petition is “patently frivolous or false.”
Hendricks v. Vasquez, 908 F.2d 490, 491 (9th Cir.
1990) (quoting Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63,
76 (1977)); see also Crone v. Snook, 269 U.S. 540,
540 (1926) (per curiam) (denying application for in forma
pauperis status because question presented in appeal from
denial of habeas petition was “frivolous”).
argument that he is a sovereign citizen who is not subject to
the laws of the State of California or the United States has
been soundly rejected by the courts. See e.g.,
United States v. Benabe, 654 F.3d 753, 767 (7th Cir.
2011) (“Regardless of an individual's claimed
status of descent, be it as a ‘sovereign citizen,'
a ‘secured-party creditor,' or a
‘flesh-and-blood human being,' that person is not
beyond the jurisdiction of the courts.”); United
States v. Schneider, 910 F.2d 1569, 1570 (7th Cir. 1990)
(describing the “sovereign citizen” defense as
having “no conceivable validity in American
law”); California v. Harris, 2019 WL 2493621,
at *2 (N.D. Cal. May 6, 2019), adopted, 2019 WL 2492082 (N.D.
Cal. June 14, 2019) (same); Williams v. Scheingart,
2015 WL 7351388, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 20, 2015) (rejecting
habeas petitioner's argument that the state court lacked
jurisdiction to convict him because he is a “sovereign
citizen”). Allowing him to proceed with this frivolous
Petition in another court does not further the interests of
Court lacks jurisdiction and venue over this Petition, and
the interests of justice do not support transfer. The
Petition is DISMISSED.
of reason cannot disagree that Turner fails to make a
substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right,
and thus any request for a certificate of appealability is
DENIED. See Miller-El v. Cockrell,537 U.S. 322, 327
(2003); 28 U.S.C. § ...