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Long v. Short

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

October 14, 2014

JACKIE DARELL LONG, Plaintiff,
v.
JUDGE CHARLES A. SHORT, et al., Defendant.

RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

SUSAN RUSS WALKER, Chief Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This case is before the court on a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint filed by Jackie Darell Long, a pre-trial detainee currently confined at the Montgomery Detention Facility. In this complaint, Long challenges the constitutionality of criminal charges pending against him before the Circuit Court of Covington County, Alabama. Specifically, Long alleges that he has been denied a speedy trial in violation of his constitutional rights, as the trial court did not set his case(s) for trial within 180 days of granting his motion for speedy trial. Complaint - Doc. No. 1 at 3. Long names as defendants Charles A. Short, a circuit judge for Covington County, Alabama, and Walt M. Merrell, III, the district attorney for Covington County. Long seeks dismissal of the criminal charges or prompt scheduling of a trial and the appointment of new counsel to represent him on the charges. Id. at 4.

Upon thorough review of the complaint, the court concludes that this case is due to be summarily dismissed prior to service of process in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).[1]

II. DISCUSSION

Long challenges the constitutionality of criminal charges pending against him before the Circuit Court of Covington County, Alabama. Under the decision issued by the United States Supreme Court in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-44 (1971), a federal court must refrain from interfering with pending state criminal proceedings "when the moving party has an adequate remedy at law and will not suffer irreparable injury if denied equitable relief." The Younger abstention doctrine is premised upon a fundamental "public policy against federal interference with state criminal prosecutions." Id. at 43. In this case, Long has an adequate remedy at law regarding any claims attacking the propriety of the pending criminal charges because he may pursue these claims through the state court system in the on-going state criminal proceedings. See generally Doby v. Strength, 758 F.2d 1405 (11th Cir. 1985). Specifically, the plaintiff may request that the Circuit Court of Covington County dismiss the pending criminal charges for the alleged violation of his right to a speedy trial and, if he receives an adverse ruling from the trial court, he may also seek relief from the state appellate courts. In addition, the plaintiff has not alleged the existence of any special circumstance which creates a threat of irreparable harm. The mere fact that Long must endure state criminal proceedings fails to demonstrate irreparable harm. Younger, 401 U.S. at 45. This court is therefore compelled to abstain from considering the merits of Long's claim which place into question the constitutionality of continued proceedings related to the criminal charges pending against him as such claim is not cognizable in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action at this time. Id. at 43-44. Consequently, dismissal of the complaint is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).[2]

III. CONCLUSION

Accordingly, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that this case be DISMISSED without prejudice prior to service of process in accordance with the directives of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

It is further

ORDERED that on or before October 28, 2014, the parties may file objections to this Recommendation. Any objections filed must specifically identify the findings in the Magistrate Judge's Recommendation to which the party is objecting. Frivolous, conclusive or general objections will not be considered by the District Court. The parties are advised that this Recommendation is not a final order of the court and, therefore, it is not appealable.

Failure to file written objections to the proposed findings and advisements in the Magistrate Judge's Recommendation shall bar the party from a de novo determination by the District Court of issues covered in the Recommendation and shall bar the party from attacking on appeal factual findings in the Recommendation accepted or adopted by the District Court except upon grounds of plain error or manifest injustice. Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404 (5th Cir. 1982); see Stein v. Reynolds Securities, Inc., 667 F.2d 33 (11th Cir. 1982); see also Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206 (11th Cir. 1981, en banc ), adopting as binding precedent all of the decisions of the former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to the close of business on September 30, 1981.


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