State of Alabama v. Pearson
OPINION AND ORDER directing that this case is remanded to the District Court of Dale County, Alabama; further ORDERED that all pending motions are left for resolution by the state court after remand; the Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to take the steps necessary to effect remand to state court. Signed by Honorable Judge Myron H. Thompson on June 25, 2015. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Appeals Checklist)(scn, )
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, SOUTHERN DIVISION
STATE OF ALABAMA,
CIVIL ACTION NO.
OPINION AND ORDER
Lorenzo Pearson’s removal of a criminal case currently
pending against him in a state court.
Pearson seeks to
Pursuant to § 1443:
“Any of the following civil actions or
criminal prosecutions, commenced in a
State court may be removed by the
defendant to the district court of the
United States for the district and
division embracing the place wherein
it is pending:
(1) Against any person who is denied
or cannot enforce in the courts of
such State a right under any law
providing for the equal civil rights
of citizens of the United States, or
of all persons within the jurisdiction
(2) For any act under color of
providing for equal rights, or for
refusing to do any act on the ground
that it would be inconsistent with
28 U.S.C. § 1443.
When a defendant seeks the removal
of a state-court prosecution, the district court is
required to “examine the notice promptly” to determine
whether removal is appropriate, and, if it “clearly
appears on the face of the notice and any exhibits
annexed thereto that removal should not be permitted,
The Supreme Court addressed the scope of removal
under § 1443 in Georgia v. Rachel, 384 U.S. 780 (1966),
First, a defendant must show “that the
right upon which [he] rel[ies] is a ‘right under any
law providing for ... equal civil rights.’” Id. at 788
(quoting § 1443(1)).
Second, the defendant must show
that he is “‘denied or cannot enforce’ that right” in
the state court in which the action currently sits. Id.
Pearson argues that the state court’s actions of
As to Pearson’s reliance upon
available to all persons or citizens,” and § 1443(1)
Alabama v. Conley, 245 F.3d 1292, 1295–96
(11th Cir. 2001) (quoting Rachel, 384 U.S. at 792).
Pearson’s allegation of the violation of his rights
Pearson’s notice of removal cites “§ 203 of the
Act.” He appears to refer to § 203 of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, codified as 42 U.S.C. § 2000a–2.
2. Pearson also repeatedly cites 28 U.S.C. § 1964.
This citation appears to be in error, as that statute
does not pertain to civil rights.
afforded under § 1981, however, would support a valid
claim for removal under § 1443(1).
Id. at 1296.
is because, as the Supreme Court explained in City of
Greenwood, Mississippi v. Peacock, 384 U.S. 808, 825
(1966), § 1981 is a statute “providing for ‘equal civil
rights’ within the meaning of § 1443(1).”
applies to his claim under § 2000a–2.
See Wyche v.
State of La., 394 F.2d 927, 929 (5th Cir. 1967) (in
prosecution removed to federal court by defendant who
alleged violation of
§ 2000a–2, reversing motion to
remand based on Rachel).
Despite meeting prong one of the test provided in
because he is unable to meet Rachel’s second prong.
“Generally, the denial of the petitioner’s equal civil
state law.’” Conley, 245 F.3d at 1296 (quoting Rachel,
3. In Bonner v. City of Pritchard, 661 F.2d 1206,
1207 & 1209 (11th Cir. 1981) (en banc), the Eleventh
Circuit adopted as binding precedent the decisions of
the Fifth Circuit rendered prior to October 1, 1981.
explained, “This requirement ensures that removal is
available only in cases where the denial of the right
can be clearly predicted and avoids involving federal
judges in ‘the unseemly process of prejudging their
brethren of the state courts.’” Id. (quoting Rachel,
384 U.S. at 803–04).
Under Rule 9.2 of the Alabama
Rules of Criminal Procedure, a facially neutral rule,
an Alabama state court may have a disruptive criminal
4. The rule provides in relevant part:
defendant engages in disruptive or
disorderly conduct so that the trial
or other proceeding cannot be carried
on in an orderly manner, the court,
after having warned the defendant of
the consequences of such conduct, may,
if such conduct continues, order the
defendant to be bound and gagged, or
otherwise restrained or removed from
defendant continues such disruptive or
disorderly conduct after warning, he
shall be deemed to have forfeited the
right to be present at that trial or
Ala. R. Crim. P. 9.2.
The Supreme Court has created a narrow exception to
violation of a facially neutral law “if the very act of
bringing the state court proceedings will constitute a
federal statute. Id.
To fall within this exception,
however, it is not enough to allege that one’s civil
rights have been “illegally and corruptly” denied prior
to trial, “that the charges are false, or that the
particular state court.”
City of Greenwood, 384 U.S.
As the Supreme Court has highlighted, it is
insufficient to rely solely upon allegations as to the
underlying motives of the charging officers or other
necessitate that a defendant will be found guilty in
state court if he is innocent “or that in any other
manner the defendant will be ‘denied or cannot enforce
in the courts’ of the State any right under a federal
law providing for equal civil rights.”
Unlike Rachel, in which the defendants
were prosecuted in state court despite being immunized
appropriately left to the state courts because those
rights are not being denied by the mere act of bringing
him to trial.
See Rachel, 384 U.S. at 804; Conley, 245
F.3d at 1298 (“In Rachel, it was only because section
applicable activity] ... that ‘the mere pendency of the
prosecution enable[d] the federal court to make the
clear prediction that the defendants w[ould] be ‘denied
or c[ould] enforce in the courts of (the) State’ the
right to be free of any ‘attempt to punish’ them for
[the] protected activity.”).
Based on the foregoing analysis, it is ORDERED that
this case is remanded to the District Court of Dale
It is further ORDERED that all pending motions are
left for resolution by the state court after remand.
The Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to take the
steps necessary to effect remand to state court.
This case is closed in this court.
DONE, this the 25th day of June, 2015.
/s/ Myron H. Thompson
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?