United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Russ Walker Chief United States Magistrate Judge
U.S.C. § 1983 action is pending before the court on a
complaint filed by Matthew Bailey (“Bailey”), a
state inmate. In this complaint, Bailey challenges the
constitutionality of a sentence imposed upon him by the
Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Alabama on March 28,
2016. Bailey names Truman M. Hobbs, Jr., the sentencing
judge, and Sherri Mazur, the Assistant District Attorney
assigned to his case, as defendants in this cause of action.
Bailey seeks a declaratory judgment, preliminary and
permanent injunctive relief and monetary damages.
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)(i), (ii) and (iii).
Judge Truman M. Hobbs, Jr.
alleges that Judge Hobbs violated his constitutional rights
with respect to the sentence imposed upon him on March 28,
2016. The claims against Judge Hobbs entitle Bailey to no
relief in this cause of action.
The Request for Monetary Damages. All of the
allegations made by Bailey against Judge Hobbs emanate from
actions taken by this defendant in his judicial capacity
during state court proceedings over which he had
jurisdiction. The law is well settled that a state judge is
absolutely immune from civil liability for acts taken
pursuant to his judicial authority. Forrester v.
White, 484 U.S. 219, 227-229 (1988); Paisey v.
Vitale in and for Broward County, 807 F.2d 889 (11th
Cir. 1986); Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349 (1978).
In light of the foregoing, Bailey's claims for monetary
damages against Judge Hobbs are “based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory” and are therefore
due to be summarily dismissed in accordance with the
provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(iii).
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989).
Request for Declaratory/Injunctive Relief from State
Court Action. To the extent that Bailey seeks
declaratory and/or injunctive relief from a final sentencing
order issued by Judge Hobbs, this court lacks jurisdiction to
render such judgment in an action filed pursuant to 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,
126 S.Ct. 1198, 1199 (2006). Although
“Rooker-Feldman is a narrow doctrine, ”
it remains applicable to bar Bailey from proceeding before
the court as this case, with respect to any claims
challenging a final order issued by a state court, 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, 125 S.Ct. at 1201. 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).
light of the foregoing, the court concludes that summary
dismissal of any requests seeking declaratory or injunctive
relief from the 2016 sentencing order issued by Judge Hobbs
in Bailey's state criminal case 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, 490 U.S. at 327.
Assistant District Attorney Sherri Mazur
is well settled that “a prosecutor is entitled to
absolute immunity for all actions [she] takes while
performing [her] function as an advocate for the
government.” Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S.
259, 273 (1993); Jones v. Cannon, 174 F.3d 1271,
1281 (11th Cir. 1999) (“A prosecutor enjoys absolute
immunity from allegations stemming from the prosecutor's
function as advocate.”); Van de Kamp v.
Goldstein, 555 U.S. 335, 342 (2009) (In a § 1983
action, “the immunity that the law grants prosecutors
[for actions intimately associated with initiation,
prosecution and punishment in a criminal case] is
‘absolute.'”); Imbler v. Pachtman,
424 U.S. 409, 420 (1976) (“[A] prosecutor enjoys
absolute immunity from § 1983 suits for damages when
[she] acts within the scope of [her] prosecutorial
duties.”); Rowe v. Fort Lauderdale, 279 F.3d
1271, 1279 (11th Cir. 2002) (“A prosecutor is entitled
to absolute immunity for all actions [she] takes while
performing [her] function as an advocate for the
government.”). The absolute immunity afforded
prosecutors protects against “impair[ing] the
performance of a central actor in the judicial
process.” Malley v. Briggs, 475 U.S. 335, 343
(1986). Absolute immunity from § 1983 liability is
afforded to all conduct of a prosecutor that is
“intimately associated with the judicial phase of the
criminal process, ” which includes representing the
State's interests during the sentencing phase of the
process. Burns v. Reed, 500 U.S. 478, 486 (1991)
(quoting Imbler, 424 U.S. at 430-431).
claims presented by Bailey relate solely to actions
undertaken by the Assistant District Attorney while she
engaged in activities intimately associated with the judicial
phase of the criminal process, conduct for which Ms. Mazur is
entitled to absolute immunity. Buckley, 509 U.S. at
273; Burns, 500 U.S. at 493. Thus, Bailey's
claims against Assistant District Attorney Mazur are due to
be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)
and (iii). In addition, Bailey is entitled to no declaratory
or injunctive relief against defendant Mazur for any alleged
adverse action related to the sentence imposed upon him by
the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Alabama. See
supra at 2-3; see also infra at 5-7.
The Challenge to ...