United States District Court, N.D. New York
JOHN R. McCOOL, Petitioner,
PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL, et al., Respondents.
DECISION AND ORDER
LAWRENCE E. KAHN U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
John R. McCool has filed a petition for a writ of mandamus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1361, as well as supporting
exhibits. Dkt. No. 1 (“Petition”); Dkt. No. 1-1
(“Exhibits”). For the reasons that follow, this
action is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
who is presently in state custody in the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania, contends that, while he was a prisoner in New
York State, he “laid claim” that “detainers
out of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania and Snyder County,
Pennsylvania were” no longer valid under the Interstate
Agreement on Detainers (“IAD”). Pet. at 1.
According to Petitioner, under the terms of “the
Article IV IAD Agreement of 1981, ” Pennsylvania
authorities were required to “dismiss with
prejudice” the criminal charges lodged against him in
two specific complaints because he was “returned back
to New York” on or about June 10, 1981, before those
Pennsylvania criminal charges were disposed of. Id.
at 2. In support, Petitioner points to a
“Prosecutor's Acceptance of Temporary Custody
Offered in Connection With Another Prosecutor's Request
for Disposition of a Detainer” and a Request for
Temporary Custody, the latter of which was executed by the
Northumberland County District Attorney in October 1988 and
directed to the superintendent of Auburn Correctional
Facility in Pennsylvania, where Petitioner was then
incarcerated. Exs. at 3. The Northumberland County prosecutor
sought Petitioner's attendance for trial on charges of,
inter alia, kidnapping, rape, and robbery, after
which Petitioner would be returned to New York custody.
Id. at 4. Petitioner appears to assert that he was
returned to New York authorities before the Pennsylvania
charges were adjudicated, requiring dismissal of those
charges. Pet. at 2.
states that, on February 27, 1989, a “New York Habeas
Court” granted him relief by ordering that “any
criminal charges that were prosecuted” against him
in absentia due to his New York incarceration be
“set aside.” Id. at 2-3. One of
Petitioner's Exhibits is an order from the Cayuga County
Supreme Court, dated February 27, 1989, dismissing a
“detainer application filed by the District Attorney of
North Cumberland [sic] County.” Exs. at 6. The
court's order refers to a “petition for habeas
corpus submitted by Petitioner seeking to block removal to
the State of Pennsylvania and declaring the detainer
application to be illegal, ” but does not further
explain the content of the habeas petition. Id.
contends that “the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its
Chief Law Enforcement Officer(s) suppressed evidence of the .
. . IAD . . . Agreement and . . . New York Habeas Court
Order, ” and “misrepresented the facts” of
his case by alleging that he was a fugitive from justice.
Pet. at 3. He requests that the Court compel Respondents
“to accord full faith and credit to the New York Habeas
Court's” order, and “transfer venue”
to the United States District Court for the Middle District
of Pennsylvania for a hearing to determine whether he is
“being held in state custody on the same charges
requiring . . . immediate relief.” Id. at 3-4.
invokes 28 U.S.C. § 1361, which grants federal district
courts “original jurisdiction of any action in the
nature of mandamus to compel an officer or employee of the
United States or any agency thereof to perform a duty owed to
the plaintiff.” The Supreme Court “repeatedly has
observed that the writ of mandamus is an extraordinary
remedy, to be reserved for extraordinary situations, ”
and that “federal courts traditionally have used the
writ only ‘to confine an inferior court to a lawful
exercise of its prescribed jurisdiction or to compel it to
exercise its authority when it is its duty to do
so.'” Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. v. Mayacamas
Corp., 485 U.S. 271, 289 (1988) (quoting Roche v.
Evaporated Milk Ass'n., 319 U.S. 21, 26 (1943)).
“The prerequisites for issuance of a writ of mandamus
are peremptory: ‘(1) a clear right in the plaintiff to
the relief sought; (2) a plainly defined and peremptory duty
on the part of the defendant to do the act in question; and
(3) no other adequate remedy available.'”
Anderson v. Bowen, 881 F.2d 1, 5 (2d Cir. 1989)
(quoting Lovallo v. Froehlke, 468 F.2d 340, 343 (2d
carefully considering Petitioner's Petition and Exhibits,
the Court concludes that he has demonstrated no basis upon
which to grant him mandamus relief. Section 1361 “does
not authorize an action to compel a state or state officials
to perform a particular duty.” Moore v. N.Y. State
Appellate Div., Fourth Dep't, No. 10-CV-5952, 2011
WL 703711, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 17, 2011). This Court has no
jurisdiction to compel Respondents-who are Pennsylvania state
officials-to perform any duty or issue any type of decision
or order in this case. See Id. at *3 (“[The]
petition is couched in terms of habeas corpus but [the
petitioner] essentially seeks from the federal court what he
failed to obtain in the state courts-relief in the nature of
mandamus or prohibition directed to [the state court judge].
The federal courts have no general power to compel action by
state officials, however.”)
it is hereby:
that the Petition (Dkt. No. 1) is DISMISSED with