Bruce v. Atlas et al
ORDER OF DISMISSAL denying 6 MOTION to Vacate. It is ORDERED that this case is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as frivolous and malicious. It is further ORDERED that all other pending motions are DENIED AS MOOT. Email sent to Manager of Three Strikes List. (Signed by Judge Ewing Werlein, Jr) Parties notified. (wbostic, 4)
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
April 14, 2017
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
KENNETH ROBERT BRUCE,
NANCY FRIEDMAN ATLAS, et al.,
David J. Bradley, Clerk
CIVIL ACTION NO. H-16-3794
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
Plaintiff Kenneth Robert Bruce, currently incarcerated at the
Institution in Bastrop,
prosecuted him in his federal criminal case. See Docket Entry No.
1 ("Original Bill for Equitable Relief/Writ of Sequestration and
Other Injunction Relief against All
frivolous allegations, Plaintiff contends that his conviction is a
"mortgage" held in trust and that defendants owe him millions of
dollars in connection with his conviction.
On March 19, 2015, a jury convicted Plaintiff on all twentysix counts of false claims against the United States and aiding and
abetting in violation of 18 U.S.C.
2, and on one count
of interference with the administration of the Internal Revenue
laws and aiding and abetting in violation of 26 U.S.C.
and 18 U.S.C.
See United States of America v. Bruce, Crim.
(Atlas, J., presiding).
On June 22, 2016, Plaintiff was
sentenced to 180 months on counts 1-26 with three years' supervised
release and one year as to Count 27, to run concurrently with the
ordered to pay over $3 million in
restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
conviction on July 20,
at Docket Entry No.
October 12, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth
Circuit dismissed Plaintiff's appeal of his conviction for failure
See id. at Docket Entry No. 170.
On December 28,
Plaintiff filed the present lawsuit against the Honorable
Nancy F. Atlas and the prosecutors in his criminal case, without
payment of the filing fee.
See Docket Entry No. 1.
On January 10,
the Court notified Plaintiff that his
pleadings were deficient and directed plaintiff either to pay the
filing fee or to submit a properly supported motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis and a certified copy of his inmate trust
(Docket Entry No. 3).
The Court's notice specifically
advised plaintiff that this action would be dismissed pursuant to
Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure if he failed to
comply as directed within thirty days of the date of the notice.
directing him to pay the filing fee or submit a properly supported
motion to proceed in forma pauperis and a certified copy of his
attempted to comply.
Plaintiff's failure to comply with the Court's instructions
district court to manage its own affairs,
that dismissal is appropriate.
this Court determines
See FED. R. Crv. P. 41(b); Slack v.
McDaniel, 120 S. Ct. 1595, 1607 (2000)
(stating that "[t]he failure
to comply with an order of the court is grounds for dismissal with
prejudice"); Larson v. Scott, 157 F. 3d 1030 (5th Cir. 1998)
that a district court may sua sponte dismiss an action for failure
to prosecute or to comply with any court order).
because it lacks any basis in law or fact and seeks
monetary damages from defendants who are immune from such relief.
See 28 U.S.C.
Under 28 U.S.C.
dismiss the case without service of process if the
lawsuit is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant
who is immune from such relief.
An action is frivolous if
it lacks any arguable basis in law or fact.
Neitzke v. Williams,
109 S. Ct. 1827, 1831-32 (1989); Talib v. Gilley, 138 F.3d 211, 213
(5th Cir. 1998).
A complaint lacks an arguable basis in law if it
is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, such as if the
complaint alleges violation of a legal interest which clearly does
Harris v. Hegmann, 198 F.3d 153, 156 (5th Cir. 1999).
Defendant Judge Nancy F. Atlas is immune from liability for
damages for her role in Plaintiff's conviction.
("Few doctrines were more
solidly established at common law than the immunity of judges from
liability for damages
acts committed within their
jurisdiction."); see also Stump v. Sparkman, 98 S. Ct. 1099, 110405
("Judges enjoy absolute immunity from liability for judicial or
The doctrine of absolute judicial immunity
Mireles v. Waco, 112 S. Ct. 286, 288
allegations of procedural errors.
Allegations of bad
F.2d 229, 230 (5th Cir. 1991).
Similarly, the prosecutors named as defendants are also immune
from liability for
96 S. Ct.
(holding that a
absolutely immune from civil suit for damages); see also Burns v.
Reed, 111 S. Ct. 1934, 1941-42 (1991)
(holding that a prosecutor is
absolutely immune from liability for appearing as a lawyer at a
hearing for the government in the prosecution of a defendant) .
Plaintiff is attempting to sue the defendants for their roles in
prosecuting him, essentially attacking the judgment of conviction.
Therefore, defendants are absolutely immune from liability in this
Furthermore, Plaintiff's purported "cause of action" states no
cognizable claim as a matter of law.
Plaintiff attempts to sue
defendants in their official capacities and in their capacities as
"implied trustees" declaring that there is a "judgment deed" in
United States v.
Bruce and that his conviction is an "equitable
See Docket Entry No. 1 at 4-5. Plaintiff is apparently
attempting to assert a sovereign citizen-type claim to challenge
which "has no conceivable validity in American
United States v. Schneider,
see also Berman v.
910 F.2d 1569, 1570
Stephens, Civil No.
3622694, at *2 (N.D. Tex. June 10, 2015)
(finding that a prisoner's
"reliance on the UCC or a so-called 'sovereign citizen' theory that
he is exempt from prosecution and beyond the jurisdiction of the
Accordingly, Plaintiff's case must be dismissed as frivolous.
Based on the foregoing, it is hereby
frivolous and malicious pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion to Vacate (Docket Entry No. 6)
is DENIED as MOOT; it is further
ORDERED that all other pending motions, if any, are DENIED as
The Clerk of Court shall send a copy of this
dismissal to the Clerk of the United States District Court for the
Southern District of Texas,
515 Rusk Street,
Houston, Texas, 77002, Attention: Three-Strikes List Manager, by
email at Three Strikes@txs.uscourts.qov.
The Clerk will enter this Order, providing a correct copy to
all parties of record.
SIGNED at Houston, Texas, on this
of April, 2017.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDG
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