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 Keon Conelius Jupiter, an indigent state
inmate currently serving a three-year sentence for second
degree rape imposed upon him by the Circuit Court of
Montgomery County, Alabama. In this complaint, Jupiter
presents claims challenging the constitutionality of his
conviction. Doc. 1 at 2-3. Specifically, Jupiter alleges that
his Montgomery County conviction for second degree rape
subjects him to double jeopardy because he was previously
convicted of second degree rape in Elmore County. Doc. 1 at
3. Jupiter names as defendants Truman M. Hobbs, the judge who
presided over his criminal proceedings before the Montgomery
County Circuit Court, and Daryl Bailey, the District Attorney
for Montgomery County. Jupiter seeks release from his
incarceration and monetary damages for the alleged violation
of his constitutional rights. Doc. 1 at 4.
thorough 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
entered a guilty plea to second degree rape on October 18,
2017 before the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Alabama,
a proceeding over which Judge Hobbs presided. Construing the
complaint liberally, Jupiter alleges the Judge Hobbs violated
his constitutional rights during the criminal proceedings
that resulted in his conviction for second degree rape. Doc.
1 at 2-3. The claims against Judge Hobbs entitle Jupiter to
no relief in this cause of action.
immunity is an immunity from suit, not just from ultimate
assessment of damages.” Mireles v. Waco, 502
U.S. 9, 11 (1991) (internal citation omitted). “Judges
are entitled to absolute immunity from suits for acts
performed while they are acting in their judicial capacity
unless they acted in complete absence of all
jurisdiction.” Allen v. Florida, 458 Fed.Appx.
841, 843 (11th Cir. 2012). “A judge will not be
deprived of immunity because the action he took was in error,
was done maliciously, or was in excess of his authority;
rather, he will be subject to liability only when he has
acted in the clear absence of all jurisdiction.”
Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356-57 (1978)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted);
Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11 (holding that
“[j]udicial immunity is not overcome by allegations of
bad faith or malice”); Allen, 458 Fed.Appx. at
843 (same). “[T]he relevant inquiry is the nature and
function of the act, not the act itself.”
Mireles, 502 U.S. at 12 (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted). “This immunity applies to
proceedings [brought] under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.”
Wahl v. McIver, 773 F.2d 1169, 1172 (5th Cir. 1981).
Hobbs is absolutely immune from civil liability for any
actions taken in his judicial capacity during state-court
proceedings over which he presided pursuant to the authority
granted him by state law. Hyland v. Kolhage, 267
Fed.Appx. 836, 840-41 (11th Cir. 2008) (holding that, because
a judge's “actions were taken within his judicial
capacity and he did not act in the absence of all
jurisdiction [in altering minutes of a sentencing hearing
after completion of such hearing], he was entitled to
absolute judicial immunity”); Stump, 435 U.S.
at 356 (holding that where judge was not acting in the
“clear absence of all jurisdiction” he is
entitled to immunity even if Plaintiff alleges the action
taken was erroneous, malicious or without authority).
Consequently, Jupiter's claims against Judge Hobbs are
“based on an indisputably meritless legal theory”
and are therefore subject to dismissal in accordance with the
provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (iii).
District Attorney Daryl Bailey
“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); Jones v. Cannon, 174 F.3d
1271, 1281 (11th Cir. 1999) (holding that a “prosecutor
enjoys absolute immunity from allegations stemming from the
prosecutor's function as advocate”). 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.” Van de Kamp v. Goldstein, 555 U.S.
335, 342 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted);
Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 420 (1976)
(holding that “a prosecutor enjoys absolute immunity
from § 1983 suits for damages when he acts within the
scope of his prosecutorial duties”); Rowe v. Ft.
Lauderdale, 279 F.3d 1271, 1279 (11th Cir. 2002)
(holding that “[a] prosecutor is entitled to absolute
immunity for all actions he takes while performing his
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 prosecutors for their conduct in
“initiating a prosecution and in presenting the
State's case . . . [when] that conduct is intimately
associated with the judicial phase of the criminal
process.” Burns v. Reed, 500 U.S. 478, 486
(1991) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
extent Jupiter seeks relief from the District Attorney for
actions undertaken during the proceedings related to his
second degree rape conviction, it is clear that these actions
occurred while Bailey engaged in activities intimately
associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process.
This is conduct for which Bailey is entitled to absolute
immunity. Buckley, 509 U.S. at 273; Burns,
500 U.S. at 493. Thus, Jupiter's claims against District
Attorney Daryl Bailey are due to be dismissed pursuant to the
directives of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (iii). In
addition, Jupiter is entitled to no declaratory or injunctive
relief against defendant Bailey for any alleged adverse
action related to the conviction and sentence imposed upon
him by the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Alabama.
The Challenge to Plaintiff's Conviction and
as Jupiter presents a claim which goes to the fundamental
legality of his second degree rape conviction and the
resulting sentence on which he is now incarcerated, he is
entitled to no relief on this claim. Edwards v.
Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 646 (1997); Heck v.