United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
M. BORDEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
an inmate incarcerated at the Houston County Jail in Dothan,
Alabama, files this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against
Carla Woodall, Circuit Court Clerk for Houston County,
Alabama; Douglas Valeska, former District Attorney for
Houston County; and Patrick Jones, III, District Attorney for
Houston County. Plaintiff complains that Woodall has
improperly denied his motions complaining that he lacked
access to documents which might have supported a speedy trial
motion. Plaintiff requests declaratory relief, injunctive
relief, and $100 million in damages. Upon review, the court
concludes that dismissal of this case prior to service of
process is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
names Carla Woodall, the Circuit Court Clerk for Houston
County Alabama, as a The court granted Plaintiff's
request for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Doc.
4. 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 damages from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). defendant and complains that she
improperly denied motions he filed in a matter pending before
the state court. While a judge issues rulings and decisions
in court proceedings over which the judge has jurisdiction,
when a court clerk acts “under command of court decrees
or under explicit instructions of a judge, ” such as
entering the judge's rulings on the court docket, the
absolute immunity of the judge extends to the court clerk.
Williams v. Wood, 612 F.2d 982, 985 (5th Cir. 1980);
Jenkins v. Clerk of Ct., 150 Fed.Appx. 988, 990
(11th Cir. 2005) (holding that a court clerk who acts under
authority granted by state law and on behalf of a court is
entitled to absolute immunity from damages liability when
sued under § 1983 because she is performing a judicial
function); Scott v. Dixon, 720 F.2d 1542 (11th Cir.
1983); see also Smith v. Erickson, 884 F.2d 1108,
1111 (8th Cir. 1989) (holding that the filing of documents by
clerk is integral part of judicial process and protected by
extent Plaintiff's complaint is in the nature of a writ
of mandamus, see 28 U.S.C. § 1361, the law is
settled that federal district courts have original
jurisdiction over any action in the nature of mandamus to
compel an officer or employee of the United States or one of
its agencies to perform a duty owed to a Plaintiff. Federal
courts, however, are without jurisdiction to issue writs
compelling action by state courts and officials in the
performance of their duties. Davis v. Lansing, 851
F.2d 72, 74 (2d Cir. 1988); Russell v. Knight, 488
F.2d 96, 97 (5th Cir. 1973); Gurley v. Sup. Ct. of
Mecklenburg Cnty., 411 F.2d 586, 587 (4th Cir. 1969).
Thus, this federal district court has no mandamus
jurisdiction over a state employee and cannot compel her to
act in performance of her job duties. The complaint against
Defendant Woodall is subject to dismissal under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). See Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989).
Defendants Valeska and Jones
also names as defendants former District Attorney Douglas
Valeska and current District Attorney Patrick Jones, III.
However, a “prosecutor is entitled to absolute immunity
for all actions he takes while performing his function as an
advocate for the government.” Buckley v.
Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259, 273 (1993). “The
prosecutorial function includes the initiation and pursuit of
criminal prosecution, and all appearances before the court,
including examining witnesses and presenting evidence.”
Rowe v. Fort Lauderdale, 279 F.3d 1271, 1279 (11th
Cir. 2002) (citations omitted); see also Mastroianni v.
Bowers, 60 F.3d 671, 676 (11th Cir. 1998). This immunity
is applicable even where the prosecutor acts
“maliciously, unreasonably, without probable cause, or
even on the basis of false testimony or evidence.”
Henry v. Farmer City St. Bank, 808 F.2d 1228, 1238
(7th Cir. 1986); accord Prince v. Wallace, 568 F.2d
1176, 1178-79 (5th Cir. 1978).
extent Plaintiff's complaint against Valeska and Jones
concerns actions arising from these defendants' roles
“advocate[s] for the state, ” these actions are
“intimately associated with the judicial phase of the
criminal process.” Mastroianni, 60 F.3d at 676
(citations omitted). Valeska and Jones are, therefore,
“entitled to absolute immunity for that conduct.”
Id. Further, Plaintiff is entitled to no declaratory
or injunctive relief in this § 1983 complaint for any
adverse action taken during the state-court proceedings
related to his criminal proceedings before the Circuit Court
for Houston County. See D.C. Ct. App. v. Feldman,
460 U.S. 462, 486-87 (1983) (holding that 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”).
Plaintiff's complaint against Valeska and Jones is due to
be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i).
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327.
it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that:
1. Plaintiffs complaint against Defendant Carla Woodall be
DISMISSED without prejudice under 28 U.S.C. §
2. Plaintiffs complaint against Defendants Valeska and Jones
be DISMISSED with prejudice under 28 U.S.C. ...