United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER OF SUMMARY DISMISSAL
MARK A. GOLDSMITH, JUDGE
pro se civil action was filed by Tod Houthoofd, a Michigan
prisoner currently confined at the Oaks Correctional
Facility. Plaintiff is suing the Judges of the Saginaw
Circuit Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals, and the
Justices of the Michigan Supreme Court. He seeks injunctive
relief preventing defendants from resentencing him on his
state court convictions. For the reasons stated, the
complaint will be summarily dismissed.
has paid the filing fee for this action and is therefore not
proceeding in forma pauperis. Nevertheless, the Court is
authorized to dismiss a complaint seeking redress against
government entities, officers, and employees that it finds to
be frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b). A complaint is frivolous if it lacks
an arguable basis in law or in fact. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
facts surrounding Plaintiff's state court criminal case
were summarized as follows:
[Plaintiff] was convicted of obtaining property valued over
$100 by false pretenses, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.218,
witness intimidation, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.122, and
solicitation to commit murder, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.157b, following a jury trial in the Saginaw County
Circuit Court. He was sentenced to concurrent terms of 5 to
10 years imprisonment, 10 to 15 years imprisonment, and 40 to
60 years imprisonment on those convictions in 2006.
Petitioner then pursued an appeal of right in the state
courts. The Michigan Court of Appeals reversed his
solicitation to commit murder conviction based upon improper
venue, but affirmed his other convictions. People v.
Houthoofd, No. 269505, 2009 WL 249459 (Mich. Ct. App.
Feb. 3, 2009). The Michigan Supreme Court reversed in part
the Michigan Court of Appeals' decision and reinstated
the solicitation to commit murder conviction on the ground
that Petitioner was not prejudiced by the improper venue. The
Michigan Supreme Court also remanded the case to the Michigan
Court of Appeals for a determination of whether the trial
court failed to articulate substantial and compelling reasons
for upwardly departing from the guidelines when imposing
Petitioner's sentences. People v. Houthoofd, 487
Mich. 568, 790 N.W.2d 315 (2010); reh. den. 790 N.W.2d 339
On remand, the Michigan Court of Appeals vacated
Petitioner's sentence for solicitation to commit murder
and remanded for re-sentencing. People v. Houthoofd
(on Remand), No. 269505, 2010 WL 4906128 (Mich. Ct. App. Dec.
2, 2010). The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal.
People v. Houthoofd, 489 Mich. 935, 797 N.W.2d 638
The state trial court re-sentenced Petitioner to 40 to 60
years imprisonment on the solicitation to commit murder
conviction. Petitioner then pursued a direct appeal in the
state courts. The Michigan Court of Appeals vacated the new
sentence because the state trial court had circumvented the
rules regarding the reassignment of judges and remanded the
case for re-sentencing before a randomly selected judge.
People v. Houthoofd, No. 312977, 2014 WL 667802
(Mich. Ct. App. Feb. 18, 2014). The Michigan Supreme Court
denied leave to appeal. People v. Houthoofd, 496
Mich. 866, 849 N.W.2d 376 (2014).
The state trial court re-sentenced Petitioner to 420 months
to 720 months on the solicitation to commit murder
conviction. Petitioner pursued another appeal in the state
courts. The Michigan Court of Appeals vacated the new
sentence and remanded for re-sentencing because the trial
judge lacked jurisdiction to re-sentence Petitioner while his
application for leave to appeal was pending in the Michigan
Supreme Court. People v. Houthoofd, No. 322592, 2015
WL 2329081 (Mich. Ct. App. May 14, 2015). The Michigan
Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. People v.
Houthoofd, Mich., 872 N.W.2d 466 (2015).
Houthoofd v. Woods, 2016 WL 807948, at *1-2 (E.D.
Mich. 2016) (opinion dismissing habeas petition without
prejudice as prematurely filed).
asserts that he is scheduled to be sentenced once again in
the Saginaw Circuit Court on June 12, 2019. Plaintiff asserts
that the prosecutor and police officers through perjured
testimony conspired to fraudulently create venue in Saginaw
County. He argues that the state trial court, therefore, does
not have jurisdiction to resentence him, and he requests an
order enjoining the state court from doing so.
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), the Supreme
Court “held that absent extraordinary circumstances
federal courts should not enjoin pending state criminal
prosecutions.” New Orleans Pub. Serv., Inc. v.
Council of City of New Orleans, 491 U.S. 350, 364
(1989). The underlying concern of Younger is the
“threat to our federal system posed by displacement of
state courts by those of the National Government.”
Moore v. Sims, 442 U.S. 415, 423 (1979).
Accordingly, “Younger abstention requires the
federal court to defer to the state proceeding.”
Coles v. Granville, 448 F.3d 853, 865 (6th Cir.
2006). The Sixth Circuit has held that exercise of
Younger abstention is appropriate “when the
state proceeding (1) is currently pending, (2) involves an
important state interest, and (3) affords the plaintiff an
adequate opportunity to raise constitutional claims.”
Coles, 448 F.3d at 865. If the three
Younger criteria are satisfied, the court should
abstain from interfering “unless there is a ...