United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Stacey R. Smith, Plaintiff,
George S. Buth, Defendant.
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND
L. Maloney United States District Judge.
Stacey Smith filed his lawsuit on December 1, 2016. Smith was
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Smith is
acting without the benefit of counsel. The matter was
referred to the magistrate judge, who issued a report
recommending that the lawsuit be dismissed. (ECF No. 13.)
Smith filed objections. (ECF No. 18.) The Court has reviewed
the complaint, the magistrate judge's report, the
objections, and the relevant law.
being served with a report and recommendation (R&R)
issued by a magistrate judge, a party has fourteen days to
file written objections to the proposed findings and
recommendations. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b). A district court judge reviews de novo the portions of
the R&R to which objections have been filed. 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). Only those objections
that are specific are entitled to a de novo review under the
statute. Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th
Cir. 1986) (per curiam) (holding the district court need not
provide de novo review where the objections are frivolous,
conclusive or too general because the burden is on the
parties to "pinpoint those portions of the
magistrate's report that the district court must
specifically consider"). The United States Supreme Court
has held that the statute does not "positively require
some lesser review by the district court when no objections
are filed." Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150
Smith is acting pro se, this Court must liberally
construe his pleadings and other filings. See Boswell v.
Mayer, 169 F.3d 384, 387 (6th Cir. 1999); Owens v.
Keeling, 461 F.3d 763, 776 (6th Cir. 2006) (citing
Spotts v. United States, 429 F.3d 248, 250 (6th Cir.
2005) (citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
(1972))). Liberally construing the complaint, Smith alleges
various problems that occurred during his criminal
prosecution in state court. The defendant in this case is
Judge George Buth, who presided over the criminal
Jurisdiction. The magistrate judge concluded the complaint
does not plead a federal cause of action, which is required
for this Court to exercise subject-matter jurisdiction.
Federal courts have original jurisdiction over claims brought
under federal law, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and also over
claims where the parties are citizens of different states, 28
U.S.C. § 1332, so long as the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000. Smith and Buth are both citizens of
Michigan, so this Court cannot exercise jurisdiction over the
complaint under the diversity statute. For the Court to
exercise jurisdiction, Smith must state a claim against Buth
under federal law.
reading Smith's objection, this Court has jurisdiction
over his complaint. In his objection, Smith suggests that his
Fifth Amendment right from self-incrimination and his due
process rights were violated during the underlying criminal
proceeding. It is not clear that Smith is alleging that Judge
Buth violated Smith's rights. For the sake of argument
only, the Court will assume that Smith has alleged that
Buth's conduct during the criminal action gave rise to
the constitutional violations.
Failure to State a Claim. The magistrate judge concluded that
the complaint failed to state a claim because federal courts
do not supervise or monitor state courts or state judges.
has not demonstrated that he has a viable cause of action for
which this Court can provide relief. To the extent Smith
believes the state court erred or violated his constitutional
rights, his remedy is an appeal to the state court of
appeals. Smith's reference to 28 U.S.C. § 1361 is
not persuasive. The statute, also known as the All Writs Act,
authorizes federal district courts to compel certain action
by a federal officer or employee. The statute does not
authorize federal district courts to order state court judges
to act through a writ of mandamus. Wallace v. Hayse,
25 F.3d 1052 (6th Cir. 1994) (unpublished order);
accord, In re Rohland, 538 F.App'x 139,
140-41 (3d Cir. 2013) (same); Bailey v. Silberman,
226 F.App'x 922, 924 (11th Cir. 2007) (same).
Judicial Immunity. The magistrate judge concluded that, to
the extent Smith's claims against Judge Buth arise from
conduct during the criminal proceedings, the claims are
barred by judicial immunity.
has not established that his claims fall outside the broad
grant of judicial immunity. Again, to the extent he believes
Judge Buth erred, Smith's remedy is an appeal, not a
federal civil lawsuit.
these reasons, the report and recommendation (ECF No. 13) is
ADOPTED IN PART. The Court concludes that Smith has stated a
claim over which this Court has subject-matter jurisdiction.
Smith alleges violations of his rights protected by the
constitution. Nevertheless, this Court must dismiss the
lawsuit. Smith has failed to state a claim for which this
Court can grant relief. This Court does not supervise state
court proceedings and this Court has no authority to order
state court judges to perform their duties. To the extent
Smith's claims against Judge Buth arise from the manner
in which the criminal action was conducted, Buth is entitled
to judicial immunity.
Court finds that any appeal would be frivolous. Viewing each
claim objectively, any appeal would not be taken in good
faith. Accordingly, the Court will not issue a Good Faith
Certification. See 28 U.S.C. § ...