Aksu v. Savage

Filing 3

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 6/18/2014. (kns, Deputy Clerk)(c/m 6/18/14)

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--JFlED ---ENTERrD ---_..I.llOOl:ED -_..JIlCEIVEIJ JUN 182014 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND '" \l...-- AT~T DIIT!llCT COURT Cl.EIIcu.e. IlIST!lJcr OF IWl'I1.ANo OEI'UTY HANDE M. AKSU, Plaintiff * * CIVIL ACTION NO. GJH-14-1506 v. * * JUDGE KATHERINE SA VAGE, Defendant ****** MEMORANDUM Plaintiff brings this selt~ represented action against Judge Katherine Savage of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland. ECI' No. I. Plaintiff has shown to be indigent and her motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No.2) shall be granted. Although plaintiff notes an employment discrimination case, the gravamen of the complaint concerns an allcgcd civil rights violation with regard to state child custody proceedings. Plaintiff states that she was denied custody of her minor child and her visitation was rcstricted based on her multiple disabilities. She indicates an appeal of the custody decision rcmains pcnding. She seeks to "disqualify the other partys [sic] attorney;" requests back pay, reinstatement to her former position, monetary damages, and costs and attorncys fees; and seeks to "disqualifY [Judge] Katherine Savage for this duty." ECF No. I. The defense constitutional 807 (1982). of absolute immunity extcnds to "officials whose special functions or status requires complete protection from suit." Harloll'v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, Judges, whether presiding at the state or fcderallevel, are cntitlcd to such immunity. are among those officials who See Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349 (1978). It is clearly in the public interest that 'judges ... be at liberty to exercisc thcir functions with independence and without 1 fear of consequences," Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 554 (1967), and absolute immunity is necessary so that judges can perform their functions without harassment or intimidation. "Although unfairness and injustice to a litigant may result on occasion, 'it is a general principle of the highest importance to the proper administration of justice that ajudicial officer, in exercising the authority vested in him, shall be free to act upon his own convictions, consequences without apprehension of personal to himself.'" Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 10 (1991), quoting Bradley v. Fisher, 13 Wall. 335,20 L.Ed. 646 (1872). The doctrine of judicial immunity is applicable to actions filed under 42 U.S.c. S 1983. S/U/IIP, 435 U.S. at 356. Immunity applies when the challenged action was "judicial" and the Court possessed subject matter jurisdiction over the action. S/U/IIP, 435 U.S. at 356. Unless it can be shown that a judge acted in the "clear absence of all jurisdiction," absolute immunity exists even when the alleged conduct is erroneous, malicious, or in excess of judicial authority. fd. at 356-57. A review of plaintiffs allegations against Judge Savage does not compel the conclusion that the judge acted in clear absence of jurisdiction. at the statc court level, this self-represented unconstitutional In apparent disagreement with the decisions reached litigant has turned to this forum to assert allegations of acts against a state court judge. Because immunity precludes plaintiffs recovery, sua sponte dismissal of plaintiffs complaint is appropriate. Plaintiffs complaint is additionally subject to dismissal because it involves matters offamily law. See Moore v. .'lilliS,442 U.S. 415, 435 (1979). Such issues traditionally have been reserved to the state or municipal court systems with thcir expertise and professional support staff. Undcr the domestic relations exception to federal jurisdiction, federal courts do not have the power to intervene with 2 regard to child custody or visitation decrees. See Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 504 U.S. 689, 701-05 (1992). Furthermore, the action is based on the history of prior state court custody proceedings. Under the Rooker-Feldman court judgment, doctrine, 1 a federal court does not have jurisdiction to overturn a state even when the federal complaint raises allegations that the state court judgment violates a claimant's constitutional or federal statutory rights. In creating this jurisdictional bar, the Supreme Court reasoned that because federal district courts have only original jurisdiction, they lack appellate jurisdiction to review state court judgments? In effect, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine precludes federal court action "brought by state-court losers complaining of injuries caused by statecourt judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced." Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 281 (2005). Upon review of the complaint, the court concludes that it shall be dismissed under the provisions of 28 U.S.c. S 1915(e). See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989); see also Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Cochran v. Morris, 73 FJd 1310 (4th Cir. 1996); Nasilll v. Warden, 64 FJd 951 (4th Cir. 1995). A separate Order follows. c. Ii fl;;z Of Lj Date George Jarrod Hazel United States District Judge See Rooker v. Fidelity 7hlSl Co., 263 U.S. 413, 415-16 (1923) and District a/Columbia Court a/Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 482-86 (1983). The Court explained that only the Supreme Court has federal court appellate jurisdiction over state court judgments. See 28 U.S.C. S 1257. 3

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