Hare v. Nichols
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 11/7/2016. (c/m 11/07/2016 jf3s, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT ai3
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
A 11: 0 2
DELEON L. HARE, SR.,
Civil Action No. GJH-16-3321
PHILIP C. NICHOLS,
Plaintiff Delfon L. Hare, Sr. filed a self-represented civil rights complaint on October 3,
2016. ECF I. Plaintiff has also filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (ECF 2)
which shall be granted. Plaintiff complains that the Circuit Court for Prince George's County,
Maryland dismissed his civil complaints challenging the entry of a guilty finding in absentia in a
criminal proceeding. ECF 1. Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief reversing the dismissal of his state
civil cases. Id., p. 3.
This Court is obliged by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) to screen prisoner complaints and
dismiss any complaint that is frivolous, malicious or fails to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted. In deciding whether a complaint is frivolous, "Nile district court need not look
beyond the complaint's allegations . . . . It must, however, hold the pro se complaint to less
stringent standards than pleadings drafted by attorneys and must read the complaint liberally."
See White v. White, 886 F.2d 721, 722-23 (4th Cir. 1989).
"Under the Rooker-Feldman' [abstention] doctrine, a 'party losing in state court is barred
from seeking what in substance would be appellate review of the state judgment in a United
States district court." American Reliable Ins. v. Stillwell, 336 F.3d 311, 316 (4th Cir. 2003)
(quoting Johnson v. De Grandy, 512 U.S. 997, 1005-06 (1994). The Rooker-Feldman doctrine is
jurisdictional and, as such, this Court is free to raise it sua sponte. Jordahl v. Democratic Party
of Va., 122 F.3d 192, 197 n.5 (4th Cir. 1997). "[T]he Rooker-Feldman doctrine . . . . by
elevating substance over form, preserves the independence of state courts as well as
congressional intent that an appeal from a state court decision must proceed through that state's
system of appellate review rather than inferior federal courts." American Reliable Ins., 336 F.3d
at 391. In light of the foregoing, Plaintiffs complaint shall be dismissed without prejudice. If
Plaintiff believes his constitutional rights were violated in his underlying criminal proceedings,
he is free to file the appropriate complaint raising those allegations. This Court, however, must
refrain from reviewing the state court's determinations as to Plaintiffs civil claims.
A separate Order follows.
GEORGE J. HAZEL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dist. of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 482 (1983); Rooker v.
Fid. Tr. Co., 263 U.S. 413, 416 (1923).
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