United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
MICHAEL C. PARKER, Plaintiff,
ROBERT J. COLOMBO, JR. et al., Defendants.
J. QUIST, 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 Robert J. Colombo, Jr., Unknown Colombo,
John H. Gillis, Jr., Unknown Gillis, Kym L. Worthy, and
Unknown Worthy for failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at Baraga Correctional Facility (AMF) in
Baraga, Baraga County, Michigan. The events about which he
complains, however, occurred prior to his incarceration.
Plaintiff sues Wayne County 3rd Judicial Circuit
Court Judge Robert J. Colombo, Jr. and his spouse Unknown
Colombo, Wayne County 3rd Judicial Circuit Court
Judge John H. Gillis, Jr. and his spouse Unknown Gillis, and
Prosecuting Attorney Kym L. Worthy and her spouse Unknown
Plaintiff's original and supplemental complaints (ECF
Nos. 1 and 6), he alleges that he served Defendants with a
“Criminal Complaint & Affidavit of Obligation
Claim” via certified mail, asserting criminal acts and
human rights violations committed by Defendants in the Wayne
County 3rd Judicial Circuit Court in Case Numbers
89-13474 and 89-13475. Plaintiff attaches a copy of his
Judgment of Sentence in each case to his complaint, which
show that Plaintiff received two life sentences for
first-degree murder, two sentences of 2 years imprisonment
for felony firearm, a sentence of 40 to 60 years imprisonment
for armed robbery, and a sentence of 40 to 60 years
imprisonment for assault with intent to rob. 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 entitle
Plaintiff to damages and equitable relief.
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
“in order to recover damages for allegedly
unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other
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 “harm
caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a
conviction or sentence invalid” unless a prisoner shows
that the conviction or sentence has been “reversed 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 Robert J. Columbo, Jr. and John H.
Gillis, Jr. 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.
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 Columbo, Jr. and Gillis, Jr. are
absolutely immune from liability. Consequently, Plaintiff may