United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. JONKER CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner 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; 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 for failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Michigan Reformatory (RMI) in
Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan. However, the events about
which he complains concern actions taken in Kent County to
prosecute and bind him over to the circuit court on charges
of third-offense domestic violence, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.814, interfering with electronic communications, Mich.
Comp. Laws § 750.540(5)(a), and assault with a dangerous
weapon (felonious assault), Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.82.
Plaintiff sues Judge William G. Kelly of the 62-B District
Court in Kentwood, Michigan; Kent County Prosecutors
Christopher Becker, Travis Early, and Alex Grimes; and City
of Kentwood Police Detective Erin Kitchka.
alleges that, on September 6, 2017, Defendant Kitchka signed
an affidavit in support of warrant to arrest Plaintiff,
averring that Plaintiff had committed the offenses of
felonious assault and interfering with electronic
communications. Plaintiff argues that the affidavit was
false, because the police reports signed by responding
officers originally listed the offense as assault and
battery, not felonious assault. Plaintiff attaches the
affidavit of probable cause (Ex. A to Compl., ECF No. 1-2,
PageID.8-9) and the referenced police report (Ex. B to
Compl., ECF No. 1-1, PageID.10-12). Plaintiff argues that
Defendant Kitchka falsified the affidavit, that Defendants
Early, Grimes, and Becker falsely pursued prosecution on the
felonious-assault charge, and that Defendant Kelly wrongfully
issued the arrest warrant on a false affidavit and improperly
bound Plaintiff over for trial in the Kent County Circuit
Court. In addition, Plaintiff complains that the affidavit in
support of the warrant was not properly filed in the district
court record and that the warrant did not contain a
“corporate seal.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.4.)
seeks to have the warrant invalidated and his criminal case
abolished. He also seeks compensatory damages for his
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).
sues Defendant Judge William Kelly and Defendant Prosecutors
Early, Grimes, and Becker. Defendants are entitled to
immunity for their actions.
claims that Judge Kelly violated his due process rights when
he signed the warrant based on a false affidavit when he
improperly bound Plaintiff over for trial. 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.
allegations clearly fail to implicate either of the
exceptions to judicial immunity. There is no doubt that
signing a warrant and determining whether to bind a defendant
over for trial after a preliminary examination were judicial
acts and that Judge Kelly was acting within his jurisdiction
in taking those actions. Accordingly, Judge Kelly is
absolutely immune from liability. Because Judge Kelly is
clearly immune from liability ...