United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
JALON D. JACKSON, Plaintiff,
BEN A. FULLER, et al., Defendants.
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
M. BORDEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Jalon Jackson, an inmate incarcerated at the Autauga County
Metro Jail in Prattville, Alabama, files this 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 action against Judge Ben Fuller, Sheriff Joe
Sedinger, Trey Norman III, and Larry Nixon. Jackson
challenges his detention in the county jail, claiming that he
has remained incarcerated for over a year on civil, not
criminal, cases and requests that the cases be dismissed.
Doc. 1. Upon review, the court concludes that the dismissal
of this case prior to service of process is appropriate under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
complaint is sparse. A review of the complaint reflects that
the date on which the violation about which Jackson complains
occurred on May 7, 2018. He further indicates that he is
being detained “for cases over a year ago, ”
which violates his constitutional rights and “[t]he
time of this was around March 23, 2014, ” at his
grandmother's house, [and] the “people . . .
involved included the Prattville Police Drug Task Force
Detective Hamm.” Doc. 1 at 2-3. As noted above, Jackson
claims that he is incarcerated on civil cases.
court takes judicial notice of the Alabama Trial Court
System's records (hosted at www.alacourt.com),
see Keith v. DeKalb Cnty., 749 F.3d 1034, 1041 n.18
(11th Cir. 2014) (“We take judicial notice of [the
state's] Online Judicial System.”), which reflect
that Jackson was arrested on May 7, 2018 for a drug charge
and a charge of receiving stolen property in the third
degree. Alabama v. Jalon D. Jackson,
CC-2018-000173.00. Under federal law, this court must refrain
from taking action to interfere with these pending charges.
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), the Supreme
Court held that federal courts should abstain from
entertaining civil actions by individuals seeking to enjoin
criminal prosecutions against them in state court.
Id. at 44-45. “Attentive to the principles of
equity, comity, and federalism, the Supreme Court has
recognized that federal courts should abstain from exercising
jurisdiction in suits aimed at restraining pending state
criminal prosecutions.” Jackson v. Georgia,
273 Fed.Appx. 812, 813 (11th Cir. 2008) (citing
Younger, 401 U.S. at 37). Younger, therefore,
directs federal courts to abstain from granting injunctive or
declaratory relief that would interfere with ongoing state
criminal proceedings except under very limited circumstances.
Younger, 401 U.S. at 43-45. The Younger
abstention doctrine is premised upon a fundamental
“public policy against federal interference with state
criminal prosecutions.” Id. at 43.
order to decide whether the federal proceeding would
interfere with the state proceeding, [the court] look[s] to
the relief requested and the effect it would have on the
state proceedings. The relief sought need not directly
interfere with an ongoing proceeding or terminate an ongoing
proceeding in order for Younger abstention to be
required.” 31 Foster Children v. Bush, 329
F.3d 1255, 1276 (11th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted).
Abstention is required under Younger when a state
judicial proceeding is pending, the proceedings implicate
important state interests, and the state proceedings provide
an adequate opportunity to raise constitutional challenges.
Middlesex Cnty. Ethics Comm. v. Garden St. Bar
Assoc., 457 U.S. 423, 431 (1982); 31 Foster
Children, 329 F.3d at 1274.
the requisite elements for Younger abstention is
present. First, Jackson is awaiting trial on criminal charges
before the Circuit Court of Autauga County, Alabama. Second,
enforcement of the law is an important state interest.
Finally, Jackson may raise his claims in the pending state
court proceedings by filing appropriate motions with the
trial court and, if unsuccessful on these motions, petition
the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals for review of any
adverse decision. In addition, if Jackson is convicted of the
offenses lodged against him, he may present his claims on
direct appeal before the state appellate courts or in a state
post-conviction petition pursuant to Rule 32 of the Alabama
Rules of Criminal Procedure. Exceptions to Younger
abstention are permitted where (1) irreparable injury because
of the prosecution is both “great and immediate,
” (2) the state law flagrantly and patently violates
the Constitution of the United States, (3) there is a showing
of bad faith or harassment, or (4) other unusual
circumstances exist that require issuance of the requested
relief. Mitchum v. Foster, 407 U.S. 225, 230 (1972).
But Jackson presents no credible basis to apply of these
exceptions. The mere fact Jackson must defend himself in
state criminal proceedings does not demonstrate irreparable
harm. Younger, 401 U.S. at 46 (“[T]he cost,
anxiety, and inconvenience of having to defend against . . .
criminal prosecution, [is not] considered
‘irreparable' in the special legal sense of that
term.”). Finally, there is no evidence that the state
laws under which Jackson has been charged violate the
Constitution nor has he set forth any extraordinary
circumstance entitling him to the requested relief.
light of the foregoing, this court is compelled to abstain
from considering the merits of Jackson's claims that
question the validity of the pending criminal charges beause
these claims are not cognizable in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983
action at this time. Younger, 401 U.S. at 43-44.
Equity, comity, and federalism concerns require the court to
abstain from considering Jackson's claims seeking
declaratory or injunctive relief which would result in
dismissal of the pending state criminal charges.
it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that the
complaint be DISMISSED without prejudice prior to service of
process under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
further ORDERED that on or before September 14,
2018, Plaintiff may file an objection to the
Recommendation. Any objection filed must specifically
identify the factual findings and legal conclusions in the
Magistrate Judge's Recommendation to which Plaintiff
objects. Frivolous, conclusive or general objections will not
be considered by the District Court. This Recommendation is
not a final order and, therefore, it is not appealable.
to file a written objection to the proposed findings and
recommendations in the Magistrate Judge's report shall
bar a party from a de novo determination by the
District Court of factual findings and legal issues covered
in the report and shall “waive the right to challenge
on appeal the district court's order based on
unobjected-to factual and legal conclusions” except
upon grounds of plain error if necessary in the interests of
justice. 11th Cir. R. 3-1; see Resolution Trust Co. v.
Hallmark Builders, Inc., 996 F.2d 1144, 1149 (11th Cir.
1993); Henley v. Johnson, 885 F.2d 790, 794 (11th
 A prisoner who is allowed to proceed
in forma pauperis in this court will have his
complaint screened in accordance with the provisions of 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). This screening procedure
requires the court to dismiss a prisoner's civil action
prior to service of process if it determines that the
complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary ...