KIRKLAND v. BARR et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 11/16/2020. (zsb)
Case 1:20-cv-02945-UNA Document 3 Filed 11/16/20 Page 1 of 2
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
WAYLAND DEE KIRKLAND,
WILLIAM BARR et al.,
Civil Action No. 20-2945 (UNA)
Petitioner, appearing pro se, has filed a Petition for Writ of Mandamus and an application
to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court will grant the application and dismiss this action
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) (requiring dismissal of a case upon a determination that
the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted).
A writ of mandamus is available to compel an “officer or employee of the United States
or any agency thereof to perform a duty owed to plaintiff.” 28 U.S.C. § 1361. Mandamus
actions are reserved for “extraordinary situations.” In re Cheney, 406 F.3d 723, 729 (D.C. Cir.
2005) (internal quotation marks omitted). Mandamus relief is warranted where “(1) the plaintiff
has a clear right to relief; (2) the defendant has a clear duty to act; and (3) there is no other
adequate remedy available to the plaintiff.” Power v. Barnhart, 292 F.3d 781, 784 (D.C. Cir.
2002) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). The “word ‘duty’ in § 1361 must be
narrowly defined, and [the] legal grounds supporting the government’s duty to [petitioner] must
‘be clear and compelling.’ ” In re Cheney, 406 F.3d at 729 (citations omitted). The petitioner
bears the burden of showing that his right to the writ is “clear and indisputable.” Id. Even if the
Case 1:20-cv-02945-UNA Document 3 Filed 11/16/20 Page 2 of 2
requirements for mandamus are present, “the issuing court, in the exercise of its discretion, must
be satisfied that the writ is appropriate under the circumstances.” In re Hawsawi, 955 F.3d 152,
156 (D.C. Cir. 2020) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Petitioner resides in Fairfield Bay, Arkansas. He brings this action “to expose and end a
conspiracy against rights pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 241” of him and his “kinfolk” by “Kansas
judges and other state officials and agencies[.]” Pet., ECF No. 1 at 1. Reading the prolix
petition liberally, the only discernible claim seeks to involve the federal government, through
named respondent U.S. Attorney General William Barr, in paternity proceedings in Kansas
courts. See id. at 15-32 (requested relief). But the United States Attorney General has absolute
discretion in deciding whether to investigate claims for possible criminal or civil prosecution,
and such decisions generally are not subject to judicial review. Shoshone-Bannock Tribes v.
Reno, 56 F.3d 1476, 1480-81 (D.C. Cir. 1995). It is settled, moreover, that “courts do not have
authority under the mandamus statute to order any government official to perform a discretionary
duty.” Swan v. Clinton, 100 F.3d 973, 977 (D.C. Cir. 1996). Consequently, this case will be
dismissed with prejudice. See Firestone v. Firestone, 76 F.3d 1205, 1209 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (A
dismissal with prejudice is warranted upon determining “that ‘the allegation of other facts
consistent with the challenged pleading could not possibly cure the deficiency.’”) (quoting
Jarrell v. United States Postal Serv., 753 F.2d 1088, 1091 (D.C. Cir. 1985) (other citation
A separate order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.
Date: November 16, 2020
KETANJI BROWN JACKSON
United States District Judge
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