United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER OF SUMMARY DISMISSAL
VICTORIA A. ROBERTS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Cory O'Dell
Derrick's pro se civil rights complaint filed
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Derrick is confined at the
Isabella County Jail in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. He names two
defendants: the Isabella County Trial Court and Isabella
County Judge Mark H. Duthie. The complaint alleges that Judge
Duthie denied Derrick the right to self-representation and
improperly denied a request to withdraw his waiver of the
180-day rule as set forth in Mich. Comp. Laws §
780.131(1). Plaintiff does not specify the relief sought. The
complaint will be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) because the defendants are immune from suit.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a complaint set
forth “a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” as well as
“a demand for the relief sought.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2), (3). The purpose of this rule is 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) and Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). While this notice pleading standard does not
require “detailed” factual allegations,
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, it does require more than
the bare assertion of legal conclusions or “an
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
has been granted leave to proceed without prepayment of the
filing fee for this action. Under the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (“PLRA”), the Court is required to
sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis
complaint before service on a defendant if it determines that
the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c); 28 U.S.C. §
state a federal civil rights claim, a plaintiff must allege
that: (1) he was deprived of a right, privilege, or immunity
secured by the federal Constitution or laws of the United
States, and (2) the deprivation was caused by a person acting
under color of state law. Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436
U.S. 149, 155-57 (1978). A pro se civil rights
complaint is to be construed liberally. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
complaint focuses on an ongoing criminal proceeding in
Isabella County Circuit Court. He claims that, on October 21,
2019, Judge Duthie denied him his right to
self-representation more than three times. Derrick also
claims that Judge Duthie violated his rights by denying his
request to withdraw his waiver of Michigan's speedy trial
are absolutely immune from civil rights suits for money
damages when acting in a judicial capacity unless they act in
the clear absence of all jurisdiction. See Mireles v.
Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11-12 (1991). Whether an action is
“judicial” depends on the “‘nature of
the act itself, i.e., whether it is a function normally
performed by a judge, '” and “‘the
expectations of the parties, i.e., whether they dealt with
the judge in his judicial capacity.'” Id.
at 13 (quoting Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 362
(1978)). A judge's acts do not become non-judicial simply
because they are erroneous or “in excess of [the
judge's] authority”; if that were the case, then
“any mistake of a judge in excess of his authority
would become a ‘nonjudicial' act, because an
improper or erroneous act cannot be said to be normally
performed by a judge.” Id. at 12. Injunctive
relief against a judicial officer is also foreclosed under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 “unless a declaratory decree was
violated or declaratory relief was unavailable.”
Kipen v. Lawson, 57 Fed. App'x 691 (6th Cir.
conduct challenged by Derrick arises from Judge Duthie's
rulings in Derrick's criminal case. This conduct was well
within the scope of Judge Duthie's judicial capacity, and
Derrick does not allege Judge Duthie acted in absence of
jurisdiction or in violation of a declaratory decree.
Accordingly, Judge Duthie is immune from suit.
County Circuit Court is also immune from suit. The Eleventh
Amendment bars civil rights actions against a state and its
agencies and departments unless the state has waived its
immunity and consented to suit or Congress has abrogated that
immunity. Will v. Michigan Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989). The State of Michigan
has not consented to be sued for civil rights actions in
federal court, Abick v. Michigan, 803 F.2d 874, 877
(6th Cir.1986), and § 1983 does not abrogate Eleventh
Amendment immunity. Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332,
341 (1979). The Michigan Supreme Court and its lower courts
operate as arms of the state, and are entitled to the same
sovereign immunity as the State of Michigan. Pucci v.
Nineteenth Dist. Ct., 628 F.3d 752, 762-64 (6th Cir.
2010). Accordingly, Isabella Circuit Court is immune from
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court DISMISSES the ...