Wilson v. Higgins et al

Filing 17

ORDER: Defendant Higgins's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 8 ) and Defendants Carlyon and Rhoton's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 10 ) are granted. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk enter judgment dismissing this action without prejudice to raising Plaintiff's assertions as claims or defenses in the state court proceedings. Signed by Judge Neil V Wake on 10/01/2015. (REK)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Kenneth Jay Wilson, Plaintiff, 10 11 ORDER v. 12 No. CV-15-08125-PCT-NVW Robert J. Higgins, Brad Carlyon, Blaine Rhoton, 13 14 Defendants. 15 16 Before the Court are Defendant Higgins’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 8) and 17 Defendants Carlyon and Rhoton’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 10). The time to file 18 responses has expired and no responses have been filed. 19 considers the Motions on their merits and grants them to the extent stated in this order. Nevertheless, the Court 20 Plaintiff alleges in propria persona that he is a defendant in a criminal proceeding 21 pending in the Superior Court of Navajo County, in which Defendant Higgins is the 22 judge, Defendant Carlyon is the prosecuting County Attorney, and Defendant Rhoton is 23 his Deputy. He sues all three because (1) the Judge denied, on the prosecutors’ objection, 24 his request to appear telephonically from Houston, Texas, where he needs a stem cell 25 transplant, (2) the prosecutors sought and the Judge ordered Plaintiff’s arrest, and (3) the 26 prosecutors have failed to produce and have authorized the destruction of records needed 27 for Plaintiff’s defense. 28 The Complaint alleges some injuries to Plaintiff, but the Complaint does not seek 1 any damages from any defendant. If the Complaint did seek damages, it would be barred 2 by the absolute judicial or prosecutorial immunity of each Defendant. Pierson v. Ray, 3 386 U.S. 547, 553-54 (1967) (judicial); Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 423-24 (1976) 4 (prosecutorial). The Complaint seeks only injunctive relief, so it is not barred by those 5 immunities. 6 The Complaint seeks injunctive relief ordering the Judge to order that Plaintiff 7 may travel to Houston and appear from there by telephone, quashing the arrest warrant, 8 and ordering production of documents, or in the alternative dismissing all charges against 9 Plaintiff. The Complaint and this action must be dismissed for overlapping reasons. 10 First, the relief sought is barred by the Anti-Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2283, 11 which bars federal courts from staying proceedings in a State court “except as expressly 12 authorized by Act of Congress, or where necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect 13 or effectuate its judgments.” Id. Second, principles of federal equity preclude federal 14 courts from interfering in ongoing state criminal proceedings except in rare 15 circumstances not present here. Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-46 (1971). All 16 Plaintiff’s contentions of federal right can be presented in and decided in the Superior 17 Court. 18 interlocutory review in the discretion of the Arizona appellate court under Arizona’s 19 flexible remedy of special action for matters that cannot be effectively remedied upon 20 review of a later appealable order. Rule 1(a), Arizona Rules of Procedure for Special 21 Actions (“Relief previously obtained against a body, officer, or person by writs of 22 certiorari, mandamus, or prohibition in the trial or appellate courts shall be obtained in an 23 action under this Rule . . . .”); see generally 1 Arizona Appellate Handbook, ch. 7 (2015). 24 This case is the paradigm for application of Younger v. Harris. Rulings that are not immediately appealable may still be presented for 25 The limited jurisdictional bar against direct federal district court relief that by its 26 terms overturns a final state court order does not fit here because none of the challenged 27 superior court orders is final. See Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 28 U.S. 280, 291 (2005) (“Rooker and Feldman exhibit the limited circumstances in which -2- 1 [the Supreme] Court’s appellate jurisdiction over state-court judgments precludes a 2 United States district court from exercising subject-matter jurisdiction in an action it 3 would otherwise be empowered to adjudicate . . . .”) (citations omitted). Here, relief is 4 not barred by jurisdictional limitations, as in the Rooker/Feldman doctrine, but by the 5 clear boundaries of federal equity as in Younger v. Harris. 6 It is apparent that the failings in Plaintiff’s Complaint cannot be cured by an 7 amended pleading. Nor could Plaintiff plead a claim for money damages. Therefore, 8 leave to amend would be futile. 9 10 IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendant Higgins’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 8) and Defendants Carlyon and Rhoton’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 10) are granted. 11 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk enter judgment dismissing this action 12 without prejudice to raising Plaintiff’s assertions as claims or defenses in the state court 13 proceedings. 14 The Clerk shall terminate this case. 15 Dated: October 1, 2015. 16 17 Neil V. Wake United States District Judge 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -3-

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