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United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Reginald Anthony FALICE, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 20-7200

Decided: January 22, 2021

Before AGEE, WYNN, and DIAZ, Circuit Judges. Reginald Anthony Falice, Appellant Pro Se.

Reginald Anthony Falice—a federal prisoner who was convicted and sentenced in the Western District of North Carolina but is incarcerated in the Southern District of Illinois—filed a motion in the North Carolina district court seeking an order curtailing the collection by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) of payments toward his criminal monetary penalties during the COVID-19 pandemic. The district court denied Falice's motion, and Falice appeals.

We conclude that Falice's motion challenging the BOP's execution of his sentence was, in substance, a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Fontanez v. O'Brien, 807 F.3d 84, 87 (4th Cir. 2015) (attacks on execution of sentence properly raised in § 2241 petition). The only proper respondent, however, to a prisoner's § 2241 petition is the prisoner's immediate custodian, and a district court may only grant habeas relief within its jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 2241(a); Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 434-35, 442, 124 S.Ct. 2711, 159 L.Ed.2d 513 (2004). Because Falice is incarcerated in the Southern District of Illinois, jurisdiction over his § 2241 petition lies in that district—not in the district court below. See Padilla, 542 U.S. at 442-43, 124 S.Ct. 2711.

Accordingly, we vacate the district court's order and remand for the district court to determine whether transferring Falice's § 2241 petition would serve the interest of justice, see 28 U.S.C. §§ 1406(a), 1631, or whether the petition is more appropriately dismissed without prejudice to his refiling it, if he wishes, in the appropriate district court. We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process.



Vacated and remanded by unpublished per curiam opinion. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.

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