United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
L. MALONEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has paid the full filing
fee. 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. §
1915A. 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 the
complaint as frivolous.
presently is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at Lakeland Correctional Facility (LCF) in
Coldwater, Branch County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues LCF Warden
Hoffner and Circuit Court Judge P. William O'Grady.
1987, Plaintiff was convicted in the Wayne County Circuit
Court of one count of assault with intent to murder and two
counts of first-degree murder. He is serving 30 to 50
years' imprisonment for the assault conviction and two
terms of life imprisonment for the murder convictions.
December 25, 2016, Plaintiff filed a complaint for habeas
corpus relief in the Branch County Circuit Court, alleging
that his conviction in the Wayne County Circuit Court had
suffered from a radical jurisdictional defect. Defendant
Judge O'Grady issued an order to Defendant Hoffner to
show cause why the writ should not be granted. Defendant
Hoffner filed a response on January 27, 2017, though
Plaintiff complains that she did not attach a copy of the
judgment of conviction, but instead attached a copy of his
offender information from the Offender Profile Information
System (OTIS) maintained by the Michigan Department of
filed a motion for writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum,
and he provided the court with the information necessary to
conduct a hearing by videoconferencing. Plaintiff complains
that he was not provided the opportunity to appear at an
alleged hearing on the matter, either in person or by
videoconferencing. Instead, in an opinion and order issued on
February 14, 2017, the court dismissed Plaintiff's
complaint, concluding that the issues he raised were not
radical jurisdictional defects and should have been raised on
appeal in his criminal action.
contends that he was deprived of his right to due process
when the court held a hearing outside of his presence.
Alternatively, he argues that the court deprived him of
procedural due process when it denied him a hearing, which he
had requested, before dismissing his habeas complaint.
Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.
action may be dismissed as frivolous if “it lacks an
arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Brown v.
Bargery, 207 F.3d 863, 866 (2000); Lawler v.
Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196, 1198 (6th Cir. 1990). Claims
that lack an arguable or rational basis in law include claims
for which the defendants are clearly entitled to immunity and
claims of infringement of a legal interest which clearly does
not exist; claims that lack an arguable or rational basis in
fact describe fantastic or delusional scenarios.
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327-28; Lawler, 898
F.2d at 1199.
claims are barred by the doctrine of Rooker-Feldman,
which limits this Court's jurisdiction to adjudicate
appeals from or collateral attacks on state-court rulings.
See Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413,
415-16 (1923); District of Columbia Court of Appeals v.
Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 476 (1983). “The
Rooker-Feldman doctrine embodies the notion that
appellate review of state-court decisions and the validity of
state judicial proceedings is limited to the Supreme Court
under 28 U.S.C. § 1257, and thus that federal district
courts lack jurisdiction to review such matters.”
In re Cook, 551 F.3d 542, 548 (6th Cir. 2009). The
Rooker-Feldman doctrine applies to cases
“brought by state-court losers 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.” Exxon
Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Ind. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284
(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.
respect to Defendant Hoffner, Plaintiff's sole contention
is that Hoffner deprived him of due process when she attached
to her brief in response to the order to show cause a copy of
the information contained on OTIS, rather than a copy of the
judgment. Plaintiff does not allege that the OTIS information
was incorrect. He simply argues that Defendant Hoffner did
not comply with the state court's order.
state court, however, necessarily concluded that Defendant
Hoffner had complied with its order. Moreover, the court,
having read Plaintiff's complaint and Hoffner's
response, dismissed Plaintiff's request for habeas corpus
relief. In other words, the source of Plaintiff's injury
is the state court's acceptance of Defendant Warden
Hoffner's response and its ruling against Plaintiff, not
whether Defendant Hoffner actually provided what ...