Smith v. Buth
ORDER ADOPTING IN PART REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 13 ; signed by District Judge Paul L. Maloney (Judge Paul L. Maloney, cmc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
STACEY R. SMITH,
-vGEORGE S. BUTH,
Honorable Paul L. Maloney
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND DISMISSING
Plaintiff Stacey Smith filed his lawsuit on December 1, 2016. Smith was granted leave
to proceed in forma pauperis. Smith is acting without the benefit of counsel. The matter
was referred to the magistrate judge, who issued a report recommending that the lawsuit be
dismissed. (ECF No. 13.) Smith filed objections. (ECF No. 18.) The Court has reviewed
the complaint, the magistrate judge’s report, the objections, and the relevant law.
After being served with a report and recommendation (R&R) issued by a magistrate
judge, a party has fourteen days to file written objections to the proposed findings and
recommendations. 28 U.S.C. ' 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). A district court judge
reviews de novo the portions of the R&R to which objections have been filed. 28 U.S.C. '
636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). Only those objections that are specific are entitled to a de
novo review under the statute. Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th Cir. 1986) (per
curiam) (holding the district court need not provide de novo review where the objections are
frivolous, conclusive or too general because the burden is on the parties to Apinpoint those
portions of the magistrate=s report that the district court must specifically consider@). The
United States Supreme Court has held that the statute does not Apositively require some
lesser review by the district court when no objections are filed.@ Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S.
140, 150 (1985).
Because Smith is acting pro se, this Court must liberally construe his pleadings and
other filings. See Boswell v. Mayer, 169 F.3d 384, 387 (6th Cir. 1999); Owens v. Keeling,
461 F.3d 763, 776 (6th Cir. 2006) (citing Spotts v. United States, 429 F.3d 248, 250 (6th Cir.
2005) (citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972))). Liberally construing the
complaint, Smith alleges various problems that occurred during his criminal prosecution in
state court. The defendant in this case is Judge George Buth, who presided over the criminal
1. Jurisdiction. The magistrate judge concluded the complaint does not plead a
federal cause of action, which is required for this Court to exercise subject-matter jurisdiction.
Federal courts have original jurisdiction over claims brought under federal law, 28 U.S.C. §
1331, and also over claims where the parties are citizens of different states, 28 U.S.C. § 1332,
so long as the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. Smith and Buth are both citizens of
Michigan, so this Court cannot exercise jurisdiction over the complaint under the diversity
statute. For the Court to exercise jurisdiction, Smith must state a claim against Buth under
Liberally reading Smith’s objection, this Court has jurisdiction over his complaint. In
his objection, Smith suggests that his Fifth Amendment right from self-incrimination and his
due process rights were violated during the underlying criminal proceeding. It is not clear
that Smith is alleging that Judge Buth violated Smith’s rights. For the sake of argument only,
the Court will assume that Smith has alleged that Buth’s conduct during the criminal action
gave rise to the constitutional violations.
2. Failure to State a Claim. The magistrate judge concluded that the complaint failed
to state a claim because federal courts do not supervise or monitor state courts or state judges.
Smith has not demonstrated that he has a viable cause of action for which this Court
can provide relief. To the extent Smith believes the state court erred or violated his
constitutional rights, his remedy is an appeal to the state court of appeals. Smith’s reference
to 28 U.S.C. § 1361 is not persuasive. The statute, also known as the All Writs Act,
authorizes federal district courts to compel certain action by a federal officer or employee.
The statute does not authorize federal district courts to order state court judges to act through
a writ of mandamus. Wallace v. Hayse, 25 F.3d 1052 (6th Cir. 1994) (unpublished order);
accord, In re Rohland, 538 F.App’x 139, 140-41 (3d Cir. 2013) (same); Bailey v. Silberman,
226 F.App’x 922, 924 (11th Cir. 2007) (same).
3. Judicial Immunity. The magistrate judge concluded that, to the extent Smith’s
claims against Judge Buth arise from conduct during the criminal proceedings, the claims are
barred by judicial immunity.
Smith has not established that his claims fall outside the broad grant of judicial
immunity. Again, to the extent he believes Judge Buth erred, Smith’s remedy is an appeal,
not a federal civil lawsuit.
For these reasons, the report and recommendation (ECF No. 13) is ADOPTED IN
PART. The Court concludes that Smith has stated a claim over which this Court has subjectmatter jurisdiction. Smith alleges violations of his rights protected by the constitution.
Nevertheless, this Court must dismiss the lawsuit. Smith has failed to state a claim for which
this Court can grant relief. This Court does not supervise state court proceedings and this
Court has no authority to order state court judges to perform their duties. To the extent
Smith’s claims against Judge Buth arise from the manner in which the criminal action was
conducted, Buth is entitled to judicial immunity.
The Court finds that any appeal would be frivolous. Viewing each claim objectively,
any appeal would not be taken in good faith. Accordingly, the Court will not issue a Good
Faith Certification. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3); Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438,
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Date: January 25, 2017
/s/ Paul L. Maloney
Paul L. Maloney
United States District Judge
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