United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Gregory G. Hollows UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is proceeding with this civil rights action in pro se. ECF
No. 1, and now seeks permission to proceed with the action in
forma pauperis. ECF No. 2. The court, having reviewed the
affidavit plaintiff filed in support of his motion finds that
it makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. 1915(a)(1).
Accordingly, the request to proceed in forma pauperis will be
determination whether plaintiff may proceed in forma pauperis
does not complete the present inquiry. Title 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2) directs the court to dismiss a case at any time if
the allegation of poverty is untrue, or if the action is
frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against an
is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221,
1227-1228 (9th Cir. 1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss
a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
“clearly baseless.” Neitzke, 490 U.S. at
327. Thus, the term “frivolous, ” when applied to
a complaint, “embraces not only the inarguable legal
conclusion, but also the fanciful factual allegation.”
Id. at 325.
stringent examination is afforded pro se pleadings,
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), but
simple reference to federal law does not create
subject-matter jurisdiction. Avitts v. Amoco Prod.
Co., 53 F.3d 690, 694 (5th Cir.1995). Subject-matter
jurisdiction is created only by pleading a cause of action
within the court's original jurisdiction. Id.
here sues a judge of the Sacramento Superior Court for
actions taken in the course of presiding over a probate
proceeding in which plaintiff appeared, inter alia,
as trustee of the Sprague Family trust. ECF No. 1 at 1-2. The
issue here is immunity. “Few doctrines were more
solidly established at common law than the immunity of judges
from liability for damages for acts committed within their
judicial jurisdiction.” Harvey v. Waldron, 210
F.3d 1008, 1012 (9th Cir.2000) quoting Pierson v.
Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 553-554 (1967). Judicial officers,
such as defendant Brown, cannot be sued in federal courts.
See Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 360 (1978);
Butz v. Economou, 439 U.S.478, 511, 512 (1978);
Romano v. Bible, 169 F.3d 1182, 1185, 1186 (9th Cir.
other forms of official immunity, judicial immunity is an
immunity from suit, not just from ultimate assessment of
damages.” Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11
(1991). Judicial immunity is overcome only when a judge's
actions are either (1) nonjudicial in nature, i.e., not taken
in the judge's judicial capacity, Forrester v.
White, 484 U.S. 219, 227-29 (1988); or (2) taken in the
complete absence of all jurisdiction. Stump v.
Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356-57 (1991).
“Allegations of malice or bad faith in the execution of
the officer's duties, such as are alleged here,
see, e.g., ECF No. 1 at 36, are
insufficient to sustain the complaint when the officer
possesses absolute judicial immunity.” Demoran v.
Witt, 781 F.2d 155, 158 (9th Cir. 1985).
does this court have jurisdiction to interfere with, or
overturn, the result of state court proceedings. Rather the
court must abstain from interference with pending state
proceedings that are judicial in nature or state proceedings
that involved important state interests, so long as the state
proceedings can afford an opportunity to raise any
constitutional issue plaintiff may claim. Plaintiff cannot
ask this court to simply overturn state court proceedings.
Noel v. Hall, 341 F.2d 1148 (9th Cir. 2003)
(discussing the Rooker Feldman doctrine which
generally precludes federal court review of state court
decisions). See also Middlesex County Ethics Comm. v.
Garden Stae Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 532 (1982)
(generally precluding interference with ongoing state
proceedings). Yet that is exactly the effect any action by
this court on plaintiff's behalf would have. In this
situation it would appear that plaintiff can return to the
Sacramento Superior Court and ask to set aside the prior
ruling on the ground laid out in his federal complaint and,
if he is unsuccessful, he can appeal the ultimate ruling of
in his 293 pages of pleading and attached documents,
including transcripts from hearings held before defendant
Brown, many of which he has annotated to show where he
believes the Judge was wrong in his rulings or misapprehended
the issues plaintiff was attempting to raise, makes clear
that he is purely challenging the quality and correctness of
Judge Brown's rulings, which were all undertaken while
the Judge was fully, jurisdictionally vested and acting in
his judicial capacity. This court can discern of no means by
which plaintiff could replead to move this case from under
the umbrella of judicial immunity.
accordance with the foregoing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis is
IT IS RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's Complaint be
dismissed, with prejudice, as barred by the judicial immunity
doctrine and for lack of federal jurisdiction.
Recommendation is submitted to the United States District
Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Within fourteen (14) days after
being served with these findings and recommendations
Plaintiff may file written objections with the court. Such a
document should be captioned “Objections to Magistrate
Judge's Findings and Recommendations.” The
plaintiff is advised that failure to file objections within