474 U.S. 34 (1985), 84-489, Pennsylvania Bureau of Correction v. United States Marshals Service

Docket Nº:No. 84-489
Citation:474 U.S. 34, 106 S.Ct. 355, 88 L.Ed.2d 189, 54 U.S.L.W. 4001
Party Name:Pennsylvania Bureau of Correction v. United States Marshals Service
Case Date:November 18, 1985
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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474 U.S. 34 (1985)

106 S.Ct. 355, 88 L.Ed.2d 189, 54 U.S.L.W. 4001

Pennsylvania Bureau of Correction

v.

United States Marshals Service

No. 84-489

United States Supreme Court

Nov. 18, 1985

Argued October 15, 1985

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR

THE THIRD CIRCUIT

Syllabus

A Pennsylvania state prisoner temporarily confined in the Philadelphia County jail brought suit in Federal District Court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against various county officials, alleging that they had beaten and harassed him. The court assigned the action to a Magistrate, who issued writs of habeas corpus ad testificandum for the producing of state prisoners, including the plaintiff, as witnesses. The order directed the state Wardens to transport the prisoners to the county jail nearest the federal court, and then directed the United States Marshals Service (respondent) to transport the prisoners from the county jail to the federal court. Respondent's motion for reconsideration of the latter part of the order was denied. The Court of Appeals reversed in pertinent part, holding that the All Writs Act did not [106 S.Ct. 357] confer power on the District Court to compel noncustodians to bear the expense of producing the prisoner-witnesses.

Held: There is no statutory authority for the order in question. Pp. 37-43.

(a) Title 28 U.S.C. §§ 567 and 569(b) merely enumerate respondent's obligations to obey a federal court's mandate and to transport prisoners if the court so orders. The court's authority to issue such mandates must derive from some independent source. Pp. 37-38.

(b) The habeas corpus statutes -- 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241(c)(5) and 2243 -- do not authorize a federal court to direct a writ ad testificandum to parties who do not have custody of the prisoner. There is no evidence in the language of §§ 2241 and 2243, in their legislative history, or in the common law writ ad testificandum that courts are empowered to cause third parties who are neither custodians nor parties to the litigation to bear the cost of producing the prisoner in federal court. Nor does Carbo v. United States, 364 U.S. 611, support an expansive reading of the power conferred upon federal district courts by the writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum. Pp. 38-39.

(c) The All Writs Act does not confer authority upon a federal court to issue an order such as the one at issue. An examination of the Act, its legislative history, and this Court's past interpretations of the Act all support this conclusion. Although the Act empowers federal courts to

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fashion extraordinary remedies when the need arises, it does not authorize them to issue ad hoc writs whenever compliance with statutory procedures appears inconvenient or less appropriate. Pp. 40-43.

737 F.2d 1283, affirmed.

POWELL, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and BRENNAN, WHITE, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, REHNQUIST, and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 43.

POWELL, J., lead opinion

JUSTICE POWELL delivered the opinion of the Court.

The question presented is whether a United States district court may compel the United States Marshals Service to transport state prisoners to the federal courthouse to testify in an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by a state prisoner against county officials.

I

In June, 1980, Richard Garland brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against various Philadelphia County officials in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging that he had been beaten and harassed by the defendant deputy sheriffs and prison guards. At the time Garland filed this suit, he was incarcerated in the Philadelphia County jail, but was subsequently transferred to a state facility. The District Court assigned the action to a Magistrate for disposition on the merits.

In December, 1982, the Magistrate issued writs of habeas corpus ad testificandum to produce five witnesses, including plaintiff Garland. At that time, Garland was in a state correctional

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facility in Huntingdon, approximately 220 miles from Philadelphia. The other four witnesses were all confined in state facilities over 100 miles from Philadelphia. The orders directed the Wardens of the state facilities to transport inmates from state prison to the county jail nearest the federal courthouse in Philadelphia. The orders then commanded the United States Marshals Service (Marshals)1 to transport the inmates from that [106 S.Ct. 358] county facility to the federal court and to maintain custody of them during trial. The Marshals unsuccessfully moved for reconsideration of that portion of the order that directed them to transport the state prisoners from the county jail to the federal courthouse and to guard them during trial.

On the Marshals' appeal from this denial, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed in part, holding that the All Writs Act did not confer power upon the District Court

to compel non-custodians to bear the expense of [the production of witnesses] simply because they have access to a deeper pocket.

Garland v. Sullivan, 737 F.2d 1283, 1287 (1984) (emphasis in original).2 The Court of Appeals did find, however, that the District Court has the power to compel the Marshals to take custody of state prisoners while those prisoners are in the federal courthouse in connection

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with federal judicial proceedings. Ibid. Finally, the court held that the District Court could order the Marshals to take custody of state prisoners if the trial court made a specific finding that special security risks required that state prisoner-witnesses be in the Marshals' custody away from the federal courthouse. Id. at 1289.

The Commonwealth Bureau of Correction (Commonwealth) petitioned this Court for a writ of certiorari on the question whether a federal court can command the Marshals to share responsibility with state officials for transporting state inmates to the federal courthouse when neither the State nor any state official is a party.3 Because this case presents a recurrent problem on which the Circuits differ, we granted the writ. 469 U.S. 1206 (1985). We find that there is no statutory authority for a United States district court to command the Marshals to take custody of state prisoners outside the federal courthouse during the normal course of producing state prisoner-witnesses for trial, and accordingly affirm.

II

The Commonwealth argues that the Marshals have a statutory obligation to obey the lawful orders and writs of the federal courts, 28 U.S.C. § 569(b), and are statutorily authorized to expend funds for the specific purpose of transporting prisoners, § 567. It also contends that these provisions recognize the authority of the district courts to seek assistance from the Marshals. Two Circuits have summarily agreed. Ford v. Allen, 728 F.2d 1369, 1370 (CA11 1984) (per curiam); Ballard v. Spradley, 557 F.2d 476, 481 (CA5 1977). Two other Circuits have relied in part on these provisions in

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imposing the responsibility for transport upon the Marshals. Wiggins v. County of Alameda, 717 F.2d 466 (CA9 1983), cert. denied sub nom. California Dept. of Corrections v. United States, 465 U.S. 1070 (1984); Ford v. Carballo, 577 F.2d 404 (CA7 1978). The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is the only Circuit to deny a district court authority to compel the Marshals to assist in transporting state prisoner-witnesses to the federal courthouse.

Sections 569(b) and 567 merely enumerate obligations of the Marshals. The Marshals must obey the mandates of federal [106 S.Ct. 359] courts and transport prisoners if the court so orders. The courts' authority to issue such writs, however, must derive from some independent statutory source. We therefore must look to the habeas corpus statute or the All Writs Act to see if they authorize federal courts to order the transportation of state prisoners to the federal courthouse.

III

The Court of Appeals reasoned that the Magistrate's order amounted to a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum4 properly directed only to the custodian, and that there was no basis in the habeas corpus statute for the District Court's authority to direct a writ ad testificandum to a noncustodian. We agree.

Since 1867, the writ of habeas corpus has incorporated the common law command that the writ "shall be directed to the person in whose custody the party is detained." Act of Feb. 5, 1867, ch. 28, 14 Stat. 386 (emphasis added). See In re Thaw, 166 F. 71, 74-75 (CA3 1908). It was the custodian who then was to "make return of said writ and bring the party before the judge who granted the writ." Ibid. Congress

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preserved this unambiguous directive throughout subsequent revisions, and the current habeas corpus statute states that the writ "shall be directed to the person having custody of the person detained." 28 U.S.C. § 2243. Section 2243 also specifically provides that "the person to whom the writ is directed shall be required to produce at the hearing the body of the person detained."

The language of the statute thus expressly commands the custodian to bring his prisoner to the court, but extends this duty to no other. See also Fed.Rule Civ.Proc. 81(a)(2) ("The writ of habeas corpus . . . shall be directed to the person having custody of the person detained"). We find no evidence in the language of §§ 2241 and 2243, in their legislative history, or in the common law writ ad testificandum to suggest that courts are also empowered to cause third parties who are neither custodians nor parties to the litigation to bear the cost of producing the prisoner in a federal court. We therefore conclude that there is no basis in...

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