United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
L. MALONEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a civil rights action brought by a pretrial detainee under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act,
Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996) (PLRA), 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. 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 Defendant Blubaugh because Blubaugh is immune from
suit. The Court will stay the action against Defendant
Joseph Malatamban Raab is presently detained at the Chippewa
County Jail in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. The events about
which he complains occurred prior to his arrest. Plaintiff
sues Sault Sainte Marie Tribal Officer / Trident Agent James
McLeod and Chippewa County District Judge Eric Blubaugh.
alleges that Defendant McLeod prepared an affidavit in
support of a search warrant that was approved by Judge
Blubaugh. The warrant covered two apartments, one of which
was a residence used by Plaintiff. The execution of the
warrant apparently led to the discovery of evidence that
resulted in criminal charges against Plaintiff and his
arrest. Plaintiff alleges that the search warrant is part of
an “open case” against him. (Compl., ECF No. 1,
claims that the affidavit supporting the warrant is invalid
because it contains false statements. He sues Officer McLeod
for intentionally inserting false statements into the
affidavit. Plaintiff also claims that, even with the false
statements, the affidavit is defective because it does not
support a finding of probable cause. He sues Judge Blubaugh
for approving the warrant.
apparently claims that Defendants violated his rights under
the Fourth Amendment. As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory
and punitive damages.
does not state a viable claim against Defendant Blubaugh.
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.
allegations clearly fail to implicate either of the
exceptions to judicial immunity. There is no doubt that
approving a search warrant was a judicial act and that Judge
Blubaugh was acting within his jurisdiction in doing so.
Accordingly, Judge Blubaugh is absolutely immune from
liability. Because Judge Blubaugh is 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).
Accordingly, Defendant Blubaugh will be dismissed.
to the complaint, Plaintiff's lawsuit challenges a search
warrant that relates to a pending criminal case. Generally,
federal courts should abstain from deciding a matter that
would interfere with pending state proceedings involving
important state matters unless extraordinary circumstances
are present. Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 44-55
(1971). This principle is based on notions of equity and
comity, “and a continuance of the belief that the
National Government will fare best if the States and their
institutions are left free to perform their separate
functions in their separate ways.” Id. at 44.
generally permits a federal court to abstain from considering
a plaintiff's claims where: (1) the state proceedings are
ongoing; (2) the state proceedings implicate important state
interests; and (3) the state proceedings afford an adequate
opportunity to raise the federal questions. Middlesex
Cty. Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457
U.S. 423, 432 (1982). Exceptions to the Younger
abstention doctrine have been recognized in the following
circumstances: (1) where “the state proceeding is
motivated by a desire to harass or is conducted in bad faith,
” Huffman v. Pursue, Ltd., 420 U.S.
592, 611 (1975); (2) where “[a] challenged statute is
flagrantly and patently violative of express constitutional
prohibitions, ” Moore v. Sims, 442 U.S. 415,
424 (1979) (quoting Huffman, 420 U.S. at 611); and
(3) where there is ...