United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
M. BORDEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
U.S.C. § 1983 action is pending before the court on a
complaint filed by Andrew Blocker, an indigent inmate
incarcerated at the Elmore County Jail on pending state
criminal charges. In the instant complaint, Blocker
complains that the state-court judge imposed an excessive
bond in his cases. Doc. 1 at 3. Blocker requests that this
court set a reasonable bond in his state criminal cases and
seeks monetary damages from the defendant for his lost wages.
Doc. 3 at 4.
thorough review of the claims set forth in the complaint, the
court concludes that this case is due to be summarily
dismissed in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and (iii).
contends that the bond amount set in his pending criminal
cases is excessive and seeks declaratory and injunctive
relief in the form of an order for a reasonable bond amount.
Blocker also requests damages from Judge James Glenn Goggans
for setting the bond.
Request for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
state-court records indicate that the orders regarding the
bond amount set in Blocker's criminal cases are not final
orders. Insofar as Blocker seeks relief from any order
setting bond that is not yet final, he is due no relief from
this court because he has 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.”). As is relevant
here, Blocker may request reconsideration of his bond amount
by the state court, and court records reflect that a hearing
on this matter is scheduled before the District Court of
Elmore County on November 7, 2017. If unsuccessful in seeking
a reduction of his bond amount before the trial court,
Blocker may then seek relief from the state appellate court
via a habeas corpus petition. Ex parte Stokes, 990
So.2d 852, 856 (Ala. 2008) (internal citations omitted)
(“A petition for a writ of habeas corpus [filed with
the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals] is the proper vehicle
by which to challenge the setting of allegedly excessive bail
[or bond].”). Since state law provides an adequate
remedy for Blocker to challenge non-final orders, he is
“not entitled to declaratory or injunctive relief in
this case” relative to these orders. Bolin,
225 F.3d at 1243.
light of the foregoing, the court concludes that summary
dismissal of the request for declaratory and injunctive
relief from orders setting bond in Blocker's criminal
cases is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. §
Request for Monetary Damages
the allegations made by Blocker against Judge Goggans 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, 227-29 (1988); Paisey v.
Vitale, 807 F.2d 889 (11th Cir. 1986); Stump v.
Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349 (1978). For this reason,
Blocker's claims for monetary damages against Judge
Goggans 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).
it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that:
1. The plaintiff's claims seeking declaratory and
injunctive relief from orders issued by Judge James Glenn
Goggans setting bond in his criminal cases be DISMISSED
without prejudice pursuant to the ...