Jackson v. State of Alabama et al (INMATE2)

Filing 4

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 1 Inmate 1983 Complaint filed by Tony Maurice Jackson, that Plaintiff's complaint be DISMISSED with prejudice prior to service of process under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). Objections to R&R due by 1/23/2007. Signed by Judge Wallace Capel Jr. on 1/11/2007. (dmn)

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Jackson v. State of Alabama et al (INMATE2) Doc. 4 Case 1:06-cv-01152-MEF-WC Document 4 Filed 01/11/2007 Page 1 of 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT F O R THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA SO U T H E R N DIVISION _____________________________ T O N Y MAURICE JACKSON, #54566 * Plaintiff, v. ST AT E OF ALABAMA, et al., D e f e n d a n ts . _____________________________ * * * * 1:06-CV-1152-MEF (W O ) R E C O M M E N D A T I O N OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE P la in tiff, Tony Jackson, is incarcerated in the Houston County Jail located in Dothan, A la b a m a . He files this pro se 42 U.S.C. 1983 complaint alleging that rights, privileges, o r immunities afforded him under the Constitution or laws of the United States were a b rid ge d due to the conduct and actions of Defendants. Plaintiff names as defendants the State of Alabama, the Honorable Denny Holloway, and District Attorney Doug Valeska. Plaintiff seeks as relief his immediate release from custody. Upon review of the complaint, th e court concludes that dismissal of this case prior to service of process is appropriate under 2 8 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). 1 A prisoner who is allowed to proceed in forma pauperis in this court will have his complaint screened in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). This screening procedure requires the court to dismiss a prisoner's civil action prior to service of process if it determines that the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary damages from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). 1 Dockets.Justia.com Case 1:06-cv-01152-MEF-WC Document 4 Filed 01/11/2007 Page 2 of 6 I. DISCUSSION F o llo w in g his arrest on September 23, 2006, Plaintiff filed a request for a preliminary h e a rin g on October 12, 2006. The clerk of court returned the motion to Plaintiff stamped "no ru lin g." After the time allowed by state law for commencement of a preliminary hearing la p s e d , Plaintiff requested dismissal of the charges pending against him. This motion also re c eive d a "no ruling" stamp from Judge Holloway. Plaintiff complains that he still has not re c eive d a preliminary hearing and at no time entered a waiver of said hearing or received n o tice of a postponement. (Doc. No. 1.) A. The State of Alabama P lain tiff names the State of Alabama as a defendant. The Eleventh Amendment bars su it directly against a state or its agencies, regardless of the nature of relief sought. Pennhurst S ta te School & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89 (1984). B. The Claims Against Judge Holloway T o the extent Plaintiff seeks declaratory or injunctive relief as a result of rulings or d e c is io n s issued during proceedings before the Circuit Court for Houston County, Alabama, th is court lacks jurisdiction to render such judgment in an action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983. A federal court has no jurisdiction or right to grant relief under 1983 with respect to challenges to state court decisions in particular cases arising out of state judicial p ro c e e d in gs even if those challenges allege that the state court's action was unconstitutional. D a t z v. Kilgore, 51 F.3d 252 (11 th Cir. 1995); Berman v. Florida Board of Bar Examiners, 2 Case 1:06-cv-01152-MEF-WC Document 4 Filed 01/11/2007 Page 3 of 6 7 9 4 F.2d 1529 (11 th Cir. 1986); District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 4 6 2 (1983). An action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 may not be used to compel a state co u rt to take a particular course of action. Cf. Datz v. Kilgore, supra. Likewise, a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action cannot operate as a substitute to appeal a state court decision. Id. at 254 (a 1 9 8 3 suit arising from alleged erroneous decisions of a state court is merely a prohibited a p p e a l of the state court judgment); see also Rolleston v. Eldridge, 848 F.2d 163 (11 th Cir. 198 8 ). Consequently, any request Plaintiff makes for declaratory and/or injunctive relief with re sp e c t to rulings and/or decisions made by the Circuit Court for Houston County is properly d ismissed under 1915(e)(2)(B). See Clark v. State of Georgia Pardons and Paroles Board, 9 1 5 F.2d 636 (11 th Cir. 1990). C . The Claims Against District Attorney Valeska P la in tiff files suit against District Attorney Doug Valeska. The court understands P la in tiff to challenge the actions of Defendant Valeska regarding matters related to the c rim in a l charges pending against him. "A prosecutor is entitled to absolute immunity for all a c tio n s he takes while performing his function as an advocate for the government." Buckley v . Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259, 273 (1993). The prosecutorial function includes the initiation an d pursuit of criminal prosecution, Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 424 (1976), and all ap p ea ran ce s before the court, including examining witnesses and presenting evidence. See B u r n s v. Reed, 500 U.S. 478, 492 (1991)." Rowe v. Fort Lauderdale, 279 F.3d 1271, 1279 (1 1 th Cir. 2002); see also Mastroianni v. Bowers, 60 F.3d 671, 676 (11 th Cir. 1998). P la in tiff's challenge to the conduct and/or actions of Defendant Valeska arise from 3 Case 1:06-cv-01152-MEF-WC Document 4 Filed 01/11/2007 Page 4 of 6 th is defendant's role "as an `advocate' for the state" and such actions are "intimately a ss o c ia te d with the judicial phase of the criminal process." Mastroianni, 60 F.3d at 676. (c ita tio n s omitted). Defendant Valeska is, therefore, "entitled to absolute immunity for that c o n d u c t." Id. D . The Request for a Preliminary Hearing T h e re is no federal requirement that States afford preliminary hearings to persons a c c u s e d of state criminal offenses. Furthermore, if the omissions about which Plaintiff c o m p la in s were found to violate his federal rights, it is clear that his claims concern criminal c h a rge s which are currently pending before the state courts of Houston County, Alabama, an d , thus, not currently appropriate for consideration by this court. In Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-44 (1971), the Supreme Court held that a fe d e ra l court must refrain from interfering with pending state criminal proceedings "when th e moving party has an adequate remedy at law and will not suffer irreparable injury if d e n ie d injunctive relief." The Younger abstention doctrine is premised upon a fundamental "p u b lic policy against federal interference with state criminal prosecutions." Id. at 43. In th is case, Plaintiff has an adequate remedy at law because he may pursue all of his federal co n stitutio n al issues through the state court system. See generally Doby v. Strength, 758 F . 2 d 1405 (11th Cir. 1985). Plaintiff can present the factual and legal bases for the alleged c o n s titu tio n a l violations in the on-going state court criminal proceedings. Moreover, P la in tiff has not alleged the existence of any special circumstances which create a threat of irre p a ra b le harm. The mere fact that Plaintiff must endure state criminal prosecution fails 4 Case 1:06-cv-01152-MEF-WC Document 4 Filed 01/11/2007 Page 5 of 6 to demonstrate irreparable harm. Younger, 401 U.S. at 45. The court must, therefore, a b sta in from considering the merits of Plaintiff's challenge to his confinement. F in a lly , with respect to Plaintiff's challenge to the validity of his current confinement a s a result of the conduct about which he complains, a civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 is not an appropriate remedy. Where a prisoner is challenging the very fact or d u ra tio n of his physical imprisonment and the relief sought is a determination that he is e n t i t le d to immediate release or a speedier release from that imprisonment, the inmate's fed era l remedy is by way of a writ of habeas corpus. See Preiser v. Rodriquez, 411 U.S. 475, 5 0 0 (1973) (habeas corpus is the exclusive remedy for prisoners attacking the validity of their conviction or confinement). In light of the foregoing, the court concludes that Plaintiff's complaint against the n am ed defendants is subject to dismissal under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). See Neitzke v. W illia m s, 490 U.S. 319 (1989). I I . CONCLUSION Ac co rd in gly , it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that Plaintiff's co m p lain t be DISMISSED with prejudice prior to service of process under 28 U.S.C. 1 9 1 5 (e)(2)(B ). It is further ORDERED that the parties are DIRECTED to file any objections to the said R e c o m m e n d a tio n on or before January 23, 2007. Any objections filed must specifically id e n tify the findings in the Magistrate Judge's Recommendation to which the party is 5 Case 1:06-cv-01152-MEF-WC Document 4 Filed 01/11/2007 Page 6 of 6 o b je c tin g. Frivolous, conclusive or general objections will not be considered by the District C o u rt. The parties are advised that this Recommendation is not a final order of the court a n d , therefore, it is not appealable. F a ilu re to file written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations in the M a gis tra te Judge's report shall bar the party from a de novo determination by the District C o u rt of issues covered in the report and shall bar the party from attacking on appeal factual fin d in gs in the report accepted or adopted by the District Court except upon grounds of plain erro r or manifest injustice. Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404 (5 th Cir. 1982). See Stein v . Reynolds Securities, Inc., 667 F.2d 33 (11 th Cir. 1982). See also Bonner v. City of P ric h a r d , 661 F.2d 1206 (11 th Cir. 1981) (en banc), adopting as binding precedent all of the d e c i s i o n s of the former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to the close of business on Se p te m b e r 30, 1981. D o n e , this 11 th day of January 2007. / s / Wallace Capel, Jr. W A LLA C E CAPEL, JR. U N IT E D STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 6

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