United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
JONATHAN J. PACKARD, Plaintiff,
THE HONORABLE HOFFMAN, THE HONORABLE ZELL, Defendants.
ORDER DISMISSING CASE
LAWRENCE L. PIERSOL, United States District Judge
Jonathan J. Packard, an inmate at the Minnehaha County Jail
in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, filed a complaint under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 on February 16, 2017. Docket 1.
Packard's sparse complaint alleges that his rights were
violated because defendants did not give him a motion
concerning the 180 day rule. Id. at 7. He requests
that the court dismiss the criminal charge against him in
state court. Id.
appears that Packard's criminal case is ongoing. To the
extent that it is, Packard's claims are dismissed under
the Younger doctrine. "Younger
preclude[s] federal intrusion into ongoing state criminal
prosecutions." Sprint Commc'ns, Inc. v.
Jacobs, 134 S.Ct. 584, 591, (2013). "The
Younger abstention doctrine provides that courts
should not exercise federal jurisdiction where '(1) there
is an ongoing state proceeding, (2) which implicates
important state interests, and (3) there is an adequate
opportunity to raise any relevant federal questions in the
state proceeding.' " Geier v. Missouri Ethics
Comm'n, 715 F.3d 674, 678 (8th Cir. 2013) (quoting
Plouffe v. Ligon, 606 F.3d 890, 892 (8th Cir.
2010)). Federal courts may enjoin pending state court
criminal proceedings only "in very unusual
situations." Night Clubs, Inc. v. City of Fort
Smith, Ark., 163 F.3d 475, 479 (8th Cir. 1998).
three prongs of the Younger doctrine are satisfied.
The crux of Packard's complaint concerns a seemingly
ongoing state proceeding. The state has an interest in
prosecuting its criminal laws. See Pennzoil Co. v.
Texaco, Inc., 481 U.S. 1, 10-11 (1987) (the desire to
avoid undue interference with legitimate activities of states
mandates application of Younger when the pending
state proceedings are criminal). Finally, Packard has the
ability to raise a due process claim, or any other
constitutional claim, as a defense in the state court
proceeding. "Minimal respect for the state processes, of
course, precludes any presumption that the state courts will
not safeguard federal constitutional rights."
Middlesex Cty. Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar
Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 431 (1982).
court does not have the power to grant an injunction unless
Packard shows that his case fits into an exception to the
Younger doctrine: the irreparable injury exception
or the bad faith or harassment exception. In
Younger, the Supreme Court stated that "when
[it is] absolutely necessary for protection of constitutional
rights, " a federal court may enjoin state officers from
instituting criminal actions. Younger v. Harris, 401
U.S. 37, 45 (1971). Federal courts have this power only when
a plaintiff shows irreparable injury that is great and
immediate. Id. Packard has not alleged irreparable
harm, and he has therefore not alleged the grounds for this
does not satisfy the bad faith or harassment exception. A
"bad faith and harassment" exception "is
applicable when criminal prosecutions are instituted for
impermissible purposes." Lewellen v. Raff, 843
F.2d 1112 (8th Cir. 1988). Packard does not allege bad faith
extent Packard has already been convicted and seeks to
invalidate that conviction, his claims are Heck
barred. See Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487
(1994) (holding if "a judgment in favor of the plaintiff
would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or
sentence[, ]" a claim for damages is not cognizable
under § 1983). If Packard wishes to invalidate his
conviction, he must file a habeas petition in state court
first, and then he may commence a federal habeas action. Both
state and federal courts have statute of limitations on
Packard only names judges as defendants. Judges are immune
from suit, including § 1983 suits, with two narrow
exceptions. "First, a judge is not immune from liability
for nonjudicial actions, i.e., actions not taken in the
judge's judicial capacity. Second, a judge is not immune
for actions, though judicial in nature, taken in the complete
absence of all jurisdiction." Schottel v.
Young, 687 F.3d 370, 373 (8th Cir. 2012) (quoting
Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11-12 (1991)). These
exceptions do not apply here.
it is ORDERED
Packard's complaint (Docket 1) is dismissed without
Packard's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis