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Abdullah v. Quist

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 28, 2017

GEORGE JAY QUIST et al., Defendants.


          Janet T. Neff United States District Judge

         This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), the Court is required to dismiss any prisoner action brought under federal law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Court must read Plaintiff ' s pro se complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiff's allegations as true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992). Applying these standards, Plaintiff's action will be dismissed on grounds of immunity and failure to state a claim.

         Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff Saabir Abdullah presently is detained at the Kent County Correctional Facility. Plaintiff sues Kent County Circuit Judge George Jay Quist; the Kent County Courthouse; the Kent County Sheriff's Department; the Kent County Correctional Facility (KCCF); and the State of Michigan.

         Plaintiff alleges that he was arrested and brought before Defendant Quist in Kent County Circuit Court on December 1, 2016. He allegedly demanded an “Avernment [sic] of Jurisdiction, ” which was denied. His case was adjourned on that date, and Plaintiff was bound over for jury trial. At the end of the court session, Judge Quist ordered that Plaintiff be taken to jail if he did not provide the Kent County deputies a urine sample. Plaintiff indicated that, despite the fact that the deputies had no warrant, he would provide a urine sample. Upon testing, the urine sample was positive for marijuana. Plaintiff's bond therefore was revoked and he has since been held at KCCF.

         Plaintiff complains that he has written to the Sheriff and undersheriffs, the Michigan Attorney General William Schuette, former Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth, and KCCF about being held in custody for a bond violation. He has received no relief from any addressee.

         For relief, Plaintiff seeks the recusal of Defendant Quist in the criminal case. He also seeks substantial compensatory and punitive damages. In addition, in the affidavit attached to his complaint, Plaintiff seeks release from KCCF.


         I. Immunity

         A. Judicial Immunity

         Plaintiff appears to claim that Judge Quist violated his due process rights when he ordered Plaintiff to submit to a urine test on threat of being jailed on a bond violation. Generally, a judge is absolutely immune from a suit for monetary damages. Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 9-10 (1991) (“[I]t is a general principle of the highest importance to the proper administration of justice that a judicial officer, in exercising the authority vested in him, shall be free to act upon his own convictions, without apprehension of personal consequences to himself.”) (internal quotations omitted); Barrett v. Harrington, 130 F.3d 246, 254 (6th Cir. 1997); Barnes v. Winchell, 105 F.3d 1111, 1115 (6th Cir. 1997). Absolute judicial immunity may be overcome in only two instances. First, a judge is not immune from liability for non-judicial actions, i.e., actions not taken in the judge's judicial capacity. Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11; see Forrester v. White, 484 U.S. 219, 229 (1988) (noting that immunity is grounded in “the nature of the function performed, not the identity of the actor who performed it”). Second, a judge is not immune for actions, though judicial in nature, taken in complete absence of all jurisdiction. Id. at 12.

         Plaintiff's allegations clearly fail to implicate either of the exceptions to judicial immunity. There is no doubt that ordering Plaintiff to submit a urine sample and revoking Plaintiff's bond were judicial acts and that Judge Quist was acting within his jurisdiction in taking those actions. Accordingly, Judge Quist is absolutely immune from liability. Because Judge Quist is clearly immune from liability in this case, Plaintiff may not maintain an action for monetary damages against him. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(iii).

         Moreover, injunctive relief is also not available under § 1983, because, under the 1996 amendments to that statute, injunctive relief “shall not be granted” in an action against “a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer's judicial capacity . . . unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable.” 42 U.S.C. § 1983; accord Savoie v. Martin, 673 F.3d 488, 496 (6th Cir. 2012). Plaintiff does not allege that a declaratory decree was violated or that declaratory relief was unavailable. Consequently, his ...

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