Aksu v. Savage
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 6/18/2014. (kns, Deputy Clerk)(c/m 6/18/14)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
IlIST!lJcr OF IWl'I1.ANo
HANDE M. AKSU,
CIVIL ACTION NO. GJH-14-1506
JUDGE KATHERINE SA VAGE,
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.
states that she was denied custody of her minor child and her visitation was rcstricted based on her
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.
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
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.
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,
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.
435 U.S. at 356.
Immunity applies when the challenged action was "judicial" and the Court possessed subject
over the action.
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
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.
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
regard to child custody or visitation decrees.
v. Richards, 504 U.S. 689, 701-05
the action is based on the history of prior state court custody proceedings.
Under the Rooker-Feldman
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
Supreme Court reasoned that because federal district courts have only original jurisdiction, they lack
to review state court judgments?
In effect, the Rooker-Feldman
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.
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
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.
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