Melvin v. Hurley
OPINION AND ORDER This case is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A because the complaint seeks money damages against a defendant who is immune from such relief. Signed by Judge Jon E DeGuilio on 7/14/17. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(kjp)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
ELIZABETH C. HURLEY,
Cause No. 3:17-CV-540 JD
OPINION AND ORDER
Nelson Melvin, a pro se prisoner, is attempting to sue a St. Joseph County Superior Court
Judge for money damages based on judicial rulings during his State criminal proceedings. “A
document filed pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro se complaint, however inartfully
pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quotation marks and citations omitted).
Nevertheless, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must review the merits of a prisoner
complaint and dismiss it if the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
Here, Melvin alleges that the Judge Elizabeth C. Hurley improperly scheduled and
continued his trial, which violated his right to a speedy trial. However, a judge is entitled to
absolute immunity for judicial acts regarding matters within the court’s jurisdiction, even if the
judge’s “exercise of authority is flawed by the commission of grave procedural errors.” Stump v.
Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 359 (1978). Melvin alleges that the judge acted improperly, but
because her actions were within the jurisdiction of a State criminal court, she has judicial
Though it is usually necessary to permit a plaintiff the opportunity to file an amended
complaint when a case is dismissed sua sponte, see Luevano v. Wal-Mart, 722 F.3d 1014 (7th
Cir. 2013), that is unnecessary where the amendment would be futile. Hukic v. Aurora Loan
Servs., 588 F.3d 420, 432 (7th Cir. 2009) (“[C]ourts have broad discretion to deny leave to
amend where . . . the amendment would be futile.”) Such is the case here.
For these reasons, this case is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A because the
complaint seeks money damages against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
ENTERED: July 14, 2017
/s/ JON E. DEGUILIO
United States District Court
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