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Maxmillion v. Peterson

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

January 12, 2015



SUSAN RUSS WALKER, Chief Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, an inmate incarcerated at the Henry County Jail, in Abbeville, Alabama, files this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against the Honorable Judge Peterson, the Honorable Judge Anderson, District Attorney Sam Clenney, and attorney Dan Blalock. He seeks to challenge the constitutionality of actions undertaken regarding criminal charges pending against him before the state courts of Henry County, Alabama. Plaintiff requests help in receiving justice and stopping corruption and requests his case be heard in federal court. Doc. No. 1.

Upon review of the complaint, the court concludes this case should be dismissed prior to service of process under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).[1]


Plaintiff is confined at the Henry County Jail on charges of third degree burglary and possession of burglary tools. On May 30, 2014, Judge Peterson set Plaintiff's bond on each charge at $350, 000.00. Plaintiff complains that this bond amount is excessive, and that the entire Henry County court system is corrupt.

A. Judge Peterson

1. Non-Final Orders. To the extent that Plaintiff seeks relief from adverse decisions issued by a state court not yet final, he is not entitled to relief on such claims as there is an adequate remedy at law. Bolin v. Story, 225 F.3d 1234, 1242 (11th Cir. 2000) ("In order to receive declaratory or injunctive relief, plaintiff[] must establish that there was a [constitutional] violation, that there is a serious risk of continuing irreparable injury if the relief is not granted, and the absence of an adequate remedy at law."). Specifically, Plaintiff may appeal orders issued by the state court to the appropriate higher state court. Since state law provides an adequate remedy for Plaintiff to challenge non-final orders, he is "not entitled to declaratory or injunctive relief in this case." Id. at 1243.

2. Final Orders. Regarding claims presented by Plaintiff attacking the constitutionality of orders issued by any state court which have become final under state law, this court lacks jurisdiction to render such judgment in an action filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. "The Rooker-Feldman doctrine prevents... lower federal courts from exercising jurisdiction over cases brought by state-court losers' challenging state-court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced.' Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284, 125 S.Ct. 1517, 161 L.Ed.2d 454 (2005)." Lance v. Dennis, 546 U.S. 459, 460 (2006). Although " Rooker-Feldman is a narrow doctrine, " it remains applicable to bar Plaintiff from proceeding before this court as this case, regarding any claims challenging final orders issued by a state court in pending criminal actions, is "brought by [a] state-court loser[] complaining of injuries caused by state-court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and rejection of those judgments.' 544 U.S. at 284, 125 S.Ct. [at] 1517." Lance, 546 U.S. at 464; District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 486 (1983) (federal district courts "do not have jurisdiction... over challenges to state court decisions in particular cases arising out of judicial proceedings even if those challenges allege that the state court's action was unconstitutional."). Moreover, a § 1983 action is inappropriate either to compel or to appeal a particular course of action by a state court. Datz v. Kilgore, 51 F.3d 252, 254 (11th Cir. 1995) (§ 1983 suit arising from alleged erroneous decisions of a state court is merely a prohibited appeal of the state court judgment); see also Rolleston v. Eldridge, 848 F.2d 163 (11th Cir. 1988).

In light of the foregoing, the court concludes that dismissal of the requests for relief from final actions undertaken by the state courts during proceedings related to Plaintiff's pending criminal cases is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). See Clark v. State of Georgia Pardons and Paroles Board, 915 F.2d 636 (11th Cir. 1990); see also Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989).

B. Judge Anderson

Plaintiff names Judge Anderson as a defendant, but a review of the complaint reflects that Plaintiff makes no allegations of wrongdoing against him. Therefore, the court concludes that, to the extent Judge Anderson is not subject to dismissal for the reasons explained in §I(A), Plaintiff's complaint against this defendant is due to be dismissed. See Douglas v. Yates, 535 F.3d 1316, 1322 (11th Cir. 2008) (holding that a district court properly dismisses defendants where a prisoner, other than naming the defendant in the caption, states no allegations that connect the defendant with the alleged constitutional violation); See Potter v. Clark, 497 F.2d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir. 1974) (per curiam) (court properly dismissed pro se complaint that was silent as to defendant except for his name appearing in caption).

C. Attorney Dan Blalock

Plaintiff complains that Defendant Blalock, as his appointed attorney, will not file motions on his behalf and waived a hearing without Plaintiff's consent. Plaintiff fails to identify the motions his attorney has failed to file or the hearing waived without his consent. His complaint against his appointed counsel is due to be dismissed.

An essential element of a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action is that a person acting under color of state law committed the constitutional violation about which the plaintiff complains. American Manufacturers Mutual Ins. Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40, 49-50 (1999); Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981), overruled on other grounds by Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 328 (1986); Willis v. University Health Services, Inc., 993 F.2d 837, 840 (11th Cir. 1993). To state a viable claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff must assert " both an alleged constitutional deprivation... and that the party charged with the deprivation [is] a person who may fairly be said to be a state actor.'" American Manufacturers, 526 U.S. at 50 (emphasis in original) (quoting Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 937 (1982)). An attorney who represents a defendant in criminal proceedings does not act under color of state law. Polk County v. Dodson, ...

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