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Langrock v. People

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 24, 2017

MICHAEL LANGROCK, Petitioner,
v.
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Respondent.

          Presented by: ROZELLA A. OLIVER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

          ORDER SUMMARILY REMANDING CASE TO STATE COURT AND DENYING REQUEST TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL.

          Honorable Beverly R. O'Connell United States District Court Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On February 8, 2017, the Court received from Petitioner Michael Langrock (“Petitioner”) a “Notice of Removal Under 28 U.S. Code § 1455, Permission to Proceed in forma Pauperis, Request for Attorney” (the “Notice”). (Dkt. No. 1.)

         In his Notice, Petitioner asserts that his constitutional rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments have been, and continue to be, denied. (Dkt. No. 1 at 4.) Petitioner alleges that he has been appointed constitutionally ineffective counsel in his pending state criminal prosecution in Ventura County Superior Court. (Id.) Petitioner also alleges that Ventura County Sheriff's Department deputies at the jail where Petitioner is /// currently incarcerated prevented Petitioner from appearing in court, despite Petitioner having been ordered by the court to appear. (Id. at 5.)

         In his Notice, Petitioner requests to proceed in forma pauperis and also seeks to have counsel appointed to represent him. (Dkt. No. 1 at 6.)

         Although Petitioner's Notice states that federal question jurisdiction exists pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (Dkt. No. 1 at 1; see Id. at 3), a review of the Notice makes clear that this Court does not have jurisdiction over this state criminal action.

         II. REMOVAL OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS FROM STATE COURT

         Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and statute. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). It is this Court's duty always to examine its own subject matter jurisdiction, see Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514, 126 S.Ct. 1235, 163 L.Ed.2d 1097 (2006), and the Court may remand a case summarily if there is an obvious jurisdictional issue. Cf. Scholastic Entm't, Inc. v. Fox Entm't Grp., Inc., 336 F.3d 982, 985 (9th Cir. 2003) (“While a party is entitled to notice and an opportunity to respond when a court contemplates dismissing a claim on the merits, it is not so when the dismissal is for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”) (omitting internal citations).

         Under section 1455, [1]

[a] defendant or defendants desiring to remove any criminal prosecution from a State court shall file in the district court of the United States for the district and division within which such prosecution is pending a notice of removal signed pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and containing a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal, together with a copy of all process, pleadings, and orders served upon such defendant or defendants in such action.

28 U.S.C. § 1455(a). The notice of removal “shall include all grounds for such removal.” 28 U.S.C. § 1445(b)(2). A state-court defendant's “failure to state grounds that exist at the time of the filing of the notice shall constitute a waiver of such grounds, and a second notice may be filed only on grounds not existing at the time of the original notice.” Id.

         Upon a state-court criminal defendant's filing of a notice of removal, the district court receiving the notice must examine it promptly, and “[i]f it clearly appears on the face of the notice and any exhibits annexed thereto that removal should not be permitted, the court shall make an order for summary remand.” 28 U.S.C. § 1445(b)(4).

         It is only “[u]nder narrow and limited circumstances [that] state-court criminal prosecutions may be removed to federal court.” El v. L.A. Police Dep't, No. CV 16-7013-JAK (PLA), 2016 WL 5419402, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 27, 2016). Section 1445 “merely describes the procedural mechanism for removing criminal cases. It does not provide substantive grounds for removing criminal cases.” City of North Las Vegas v. Davis, No. 2:13-cv-00156-MMD-NJK, 2013 WL 2394930, at ...


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