United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
L. MALONEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint
against Defendants Thomas Wilson, Unknown Wilson, Jerard M.
Jarzynka, Unknown Jarzynka, Robert J. Colombo, Unknown
Colombo, Kym L. Worthy, and Unknown Worthy for failure to
state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF) in
Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan. The events about which
he complains, however, appear to have occurred prior to his
incarceration. Plaintiff sues Judge Thomas Wilson, his spouse
Unknown Wilson, Prosecutor Jerard M. Jarzynka, his spouse
Unknown Jarzynka, Judge Robert J. Colombo, his spouse Unknown
Colombo, Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy, and her spouse Unknown
alleges that he served Defendants with a “Criminal
Complaint & Affidavit of Obligation” via a third party.
This complaint asserted criminal acts and human rights
violations committed by Defendants in the Jackson County
4th Judicial Circuit Court in Case Number
90-53735-FC. Plaintiff attaches a copy of his Judgment of
Sentence for Case No. 90 53735 FC to his complaint, which
shows that Plaintiff received two sentences of 15 to 22 years
imprisonment for breaking and entering, a sentence of 50 to
75 years imprisonment for armed robbery, and a sentence of 50
to 75 years imprisonment for first-degree criminal sexual
conduct. See ECF No. 1-3. Plaintiff states that
Defendants failed to respond to his complaint. Plaintiff now
seeks an order entering a default judgment against
Defendants, which would require them to pay Plaintiff
Failure to state a claim
complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it
fails “‘to give the defendant fair notice of what
the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While a complaint need not contain
detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's allegations
must include more than labels and conclusions.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”). The
court must determine whether the complaint contains
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679. Although the plausibility standard is not equivalent
to a “‘probability requirement, ' . . . it
asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[W]here
the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more
than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged - but it has not ‘show[n]' - that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)); see also Hill
v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding
that the Twombly/Iqbal plausibility standard applies
to dismissals of prisoner cases on initial review under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the federal
Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was
committed by a person acting under color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Street
v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir.
1996). Because § 1983 is a method for vindicating
federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself,
the first step in an action under § 1983 is to identify
the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed.
Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994).
“Criminal Complaint & Affidavit of Obligation” is
clearly an attempt to indirectly challenge his state court
criminal convictions. Therefore, the instant lawsuit, in
which Plaintiff seeks to enforce his “Criminal
Complaint, ” is also an attempt to challenge those
convictions. The federal courts are courts of limited
jurisdiction, and Plaintiff has the burden of proving the
Court's jurisdiction. United States v. Horizon
Healthcare, 160 F.3d 326, 329 (6th Cir. 1998). Even
where subject matter jurisdiction is not raised by the
parties, the Court must consider the issue sua
sponte. See City of Kenosha v. Bruno, 412 U.S.
507, 511 (1973); Norris v. Schotten, 146 F.3d 314,
324 (6th Cir. 1998); Mickler v. Nimishillen & Tuscarawas
Ry. Co., 13 F.3d 184, 189 (6th Cir. 1993).
Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
claims. A federal district court has no authority to review
final judgments of state-court judicial proceedings.
District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman,
460 U.S. 462, 482 (1983); Rooker v. Fidelity Trust
Co., 263 U.S. 413, 415B16 (1923). A loser in the state
court may not be heard in the federal district court on
complaints of injuries by a state-court judgment rendered
before the federal proceeding commenced. Exxon Mobil
Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 283-84
(2005). “The pertinent question in determining whether
a federal district court is precluded under the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine from exercising
subject-matter jurisdiction over a claim is whether the
'source of the injury' upon which plaintiff bases his
federal claim is the state court judgment.” In re
Cook, 551 F.3d at 548. In this case, the source of
Plaintiff's injury is his state court convictions.
Therefore, Plaintiff's claims are barred.
to the extent Plaintiff seeks monetary relief for alleged
violations of Constitutional rights that occurred during his
state criminal trial, his claim is barred by Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994), which held that
Ain order to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional
conviction or imprisonment, or for “ harm caused by
actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or
sentence invalid, a ' 1983 plaintiff must prove that
the conviction or sentence has been [overturned].”
See Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 646 (1997)
(emphasis in original). In Heck, the Supreme Court
held that a state prisoner cannot make a cognizable claim
under ' 1983 for an allegedly unconstitutional conviction
or for Aharm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would
render a conviction or sentence invalid” unless a
prisoner shows that the conviction or sentence has been
Areversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order,
declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such
determination, or called into question by a federal
court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.”
Id. at 486-87 (footnote omitted). The holding in
Heck has been extended to actions seeking injunctive
or declaratory relief. See Edwards, 520 U.S. at
646-48 (declaratory relief); Clarke v. Stalder, 154
F.3d 186, 189-90 (5th Cir. 1998) (claim for injunctive relief
intertwined with request for damages); Wilson v.
Kinkela, No. 97-4035, 1998 WL 246401, at *1 (6th Cir.
May 5, 1998) (injunctive relief). Plaintiff's allegations
clearly call into question the validity of his conviction.
Therefore, his action is barred under Heck until his
criminal conviction has been invalidated.
addition, Defendants Thomas Wilson and Robert J. Columbo are
state court judges. 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 Athe 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.
allegations do not appear to implicate either of the
exceptions to judicial immunity. Actions taken during the
trial and sentencing of a criminal defendant are a judicial
act. Accordingly, Judges Wilson and Colombo are absolutely
immune from liability. Consequently, Plaintiff may not