State of Idaho v. Oelker
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER - This case is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction and CLOSED. Because the Court does not know the status of Oelkers state criminal case, any open substantive matters are REMANDED to the Second Judicial District of the S tate of Idaho, Lewis County. Oelkers Motion to Seal (Dkt. 2 ), Motion to Quash (Dkt. 5 ), Corrective Motion (Dkt. 7 ), and Sealed Motion (Dkt. 8 ) are all DISMISSED as MOOT. Signed by Judge David C. Nye. (caused to be mailed to non Registered Participants at the addresses listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) by (jd)
Case 3:20-cv-00383-DCN Document 10 Filed 10/15/20 Page 1 of 4
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF IDAHO
STATE OF IDAHO,
Case No. 3:20-cv-00383-DCN
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND
On July 30, 2020, “Defendant” Jeromy Oelker filed a Notice of Removal with the
Court. Dkt. 1. In his Notice, Oelker indicates that he is removing an Idaho state court
criminal action. Id. Oelker claims that this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1441, 1446(a). Oelker is mistaken on the law. Accordingly, the Court will dismiss his case
and/or remand the same to state court.
“Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. It is to be presumed that a cause
lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon
the party asserting jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375,
377 (1994) (cleaned up). “The strong presumption against removal jurisdiction means that
the defendant always has the burden of establishing that removal is proper.” Gaus v. Miles,
Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (cleaned up).
The Court also has a duty to “establish subject matter jurisdiction over the removed
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER - 1
Case 3:20-cv-00383-DCN Document 10 Filed 10/15/20 Page 2 of 4
action sua sponte, whether the parties raised the issue or not.” United Investors Life Ins. v.
Waddell & Reed, Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 967 (9th Cir. 2004). “If at any time before final
judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall
be remanded.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
Whenever a state-court criminal prosecution is removed, the Court must “examine
the notice promptly” upon its filing, and “[i]f it clearly appears on the face of the notice
and any exhibits annexed thereto that removal should not be permitted, the court shall make
an order for summary remand.” 28 U.S.C. § 1455(b)(4).
Only under very narrow and limited circumstances can a defendant remove a state
criminal case to federal court. For example, an officer of the United States, its courts,
members of congress, or the military may remove a criminal case to federal court. 28
U.S.C. § 1442. Additionally, any criminal defendant may remove a criminal prosecution
to federal court if he seeks to—and, because of state law, cannot—assert a defense to the
prosecution based on federal laws protecting equal civil rights. 28 U.S.C. § 1443. Both of
these examples are very specific, and Oelker has not alleged anything that would fall under
either statute as outlined—nor does it appear that any would apply.
Oelker claims that this Court possess jurisdiction over his case pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1441, 1446(a). These statutes, however, by their very language apply only to civil cases.
Because Oelker endeavors to remove a criminal case, these statues do not apply. The Court
does not know if Oelker’s criminal case is ongoing or not. If it is ongoing, the Court clearly
does not have jurisdiction (for the reasons outlined above).
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER - 2
Case 3:20-cv-00383-DCN Document 10 Filed 10/15/20 Page 3 of 4
Furthermore, even if Oelker’s criminal case has come to an end, this Court does not
have jurisdiction. Any disagreements Oelker has with his state court proceedings must be
taken up in that forum, e.g., he could file post-judgment motions or “appeal” to a higher
authority in state court, but not transition to federal court.
And finally, even construing Oelker’s filings as liberally as possible as some type
of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 “civil rights”-esque claim, the Court sill does not have jurisdiction
under the long-standing Rooker–Feldman doctrine.
A federal district court has no jurisdiction “over challenges to state-court decisions,
in particular cases arising out of judicial proceedings, even if those challenges allege that
the state court’s action was unconstitutional.” District of Columbia Court of Appeals v.
Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 486 (1983). This rule of law is known as the “Rooker–Feldman
As the United Supreme Court has explained:
In Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., the parties defeated in state court turned to a
Federal District Court for relief. Alleging that the adverse state-court
judgment was rendered in contravention of the Constitution, they asked the
federal court to declare it null and void. This Court noted preliminarily that
the state court had acted within its jurisdiction. If the state-court decision was
wrong, the Court explained that did not make the judgment void, but merely
left it open to reversal or modification in an appropriate and timely appellate
proceeding. Federal district courts, the Rooker Court recognized, lacked the
requisite appellate authority, for their jurisdiction was strictly original.
Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp. 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005) (cleaned
In short, the Rooker–Feldman doctrine “bars federal courts from exercising subjectmatter jurisdiction over a proceeding in which a party losing in state court seeks what in
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER - 3
Case 3:20-cv-00383-DCN Document 10 Filed 10/15/20 Page 4 of 4
substance would be appellate review of the state judgment in a United States district court,
based on the losing party’s claim that the state judgment itself violates the loser’s federal
rights.” Doe v. Mann, 415 F.3d 1038, 1041 (9th Cir. 2005) (cleaned up).
In this case, Oelker has included various documents which appear to highlight
disagreements he had with his prior attorney and the state court judge regarding certain
evidence in his case. Again, the Court does not know if the Rooker–Feldman doctrine
apples as it does not know if Oelker’s state court criminal case has come to a conclusion—
and/or if Oelker has appealed any of the state court decisions. Regardless, even construing
Oelker’s pleadings as liberally as possible, the Court cannot see any way in which it can
retain jurisdiction over the issues raised. The correct forum for Oelker’s grievances is Idaho
state court. Accordingly, the Court must dismiss this case for lack of jurisdiction.
1. This case is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction and CLOSED.
2. Because the Court does not know the status of Oelker’s state criminal case, any open
substantive matters are REMANDED to the Second Judicial District of the State of
Idaho, Lewis County.
3. Oelker’s Motion to Seal (Dkt. 2), Motion to Quash (Dkt. 5), Corrective Motion (Dkt.
7), and Sealed Motion (Dkt. 8) are all DISMISSED as MOOT.
DATED: October 15, 2020
David C. Nye
Chief U.S. District Court Judge
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER - 4
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?