United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
L. BRASHER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
42 U.S.C. § 1983 action, Plaintiff Gerard David McCree
is a state inmate currently incarcerated pursuant to a
sentence of life without parole imposed upon him by the
Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Alabama in 2003 for
convictions on three counts of capital murder. He previously
filed a habeas action challenging these convictions which was
denied by this court. McCree v. Jones,
2:06-cv-520-WHA-SRW, motion for certificate of appealability
denied by the Eleventh Circuit on June 1, 2009. In the
instant § 1983 action, “McCree challenges the
constitutionality of orders entered by Greg Griffin, a judge
for the Montgomery County Circuit Court, in a recent Rule 32
action over which Judge Griffin presided. (Doc. 1 at 3-4).
Plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment finding the actions of
Judge Griffin violated his constitutional rights and an order
compelling Judge Griffin to produce to Plaintiff physical
evidence obtained in his case from the site where the
victim's body was found after being shot by Plaintiff at
a separate location for DNA testing and analysis. (Doc. 1 at
29). Plaintiff challenged the orders issued by Judge Griffin
in the state appellate courts by writ of mandamus which both
the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals and Alabama Supreme
Court denied. (Doc. 1-1 & Doc. 1-2).
well-settled law, the magistrate recommended that
Plaintiff's claims against Judge Griffin be summarily
dismissed because he is entitled to absolute immunity for the
actions undertaken within his judicial capacity in a state
civil proceeding over which he had jurisdiction.
The claims presented against Judge Griffin provide no basis
for relief before this court as “judicial 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. Fla., 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 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.” Wahl v.
McIver, 773 F.2d 1169, 1172 (5th Cir. 1981).
Doc. 4 at 2-3.
filed an objection to the Recommendation, in which he argues
that this court improperly dismissed this case against Judge
Griffin because Judge Griffin's actions in denying his
request for access to evidence, i.e., a hat found at the dump
site of the victim's body which had not been subjected to
DNA testing, denied him access to evidence which might after
testing support a claim of actual innocence or prove
exculpatory by showing some other person may have been
present when the victim's body was left in the woods.
(Doc. 5). Plaintiff argues that Judge Griffin acted
arbitrarily and deprived him of due process by denying him
access to the evidence for DNA testing. However, Judge
Griffin entered the orders in a state civil action over which
he had jurisdiction and, as such, is therefore entitled to
Recommendation further found that
insofar as McCree seeks declaratory or injunctive relief from
various final orders issued by Judge Griffin in the Rule 32
proceeding, 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 McCree 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 42 U.S.C.
§ 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)
(A § 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).
Doc. 4 at 3-4.
on the foregoing, Plaintiffs objections provide no basis for
relief from the Recommendation dismissing his claims against
it is ORDERED as follows:
Magistrate Judge's Recommendation (Doc. 4) is ADOPTED;
Plaintiffs objections (Doc. 5) are OVERRULED;
Plaintiffs Complaint is summarily dismissed prior to service
of process ...