United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER DENYING APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA
PAUPERIS AND DISMISSING CASE AS FRIVOLOUS AND FOR FAILURE TO
STATE A CLAIM
J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's application
to proceed in forma pauperis (Dkt. 4), and on review
of the proposed complaint (Dkt. 1). The Court has considered
the relevant record and the remainder of the file herein.
March 23, 2018, Plaintiff, a pro se prisoner at
Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen, Washington,
filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”), that is, without paying the filing fee
for a civil case. Dkt. 4. Plaintiff also filed a proposed
civil complaint entitled, “Tort Suit for Damages due to
Ultra Vires Criminal Acts, ” naming as defendants:
Benjamin H. Settle, a U.S. District Court Judge for the
Western District of Washington, and David W. Christel, a U.S.
Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Washington. Dkt.
1. Plaintiff's proposed complaint in this case relates to
the judges' decisions in another of Plaintiff's
cases, which was brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 -
Smith v. Haynes, U.S. District Court for the Western
District of Washington case number 17-6019 BHS- DWC. Dkt. 1.
On December 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed the habeas corpus
petition in Haynes and is challenging his 144 month
sentence imposed as a result of convictions for Attempted
Second Degree Murder and Second Degree Assault. Smith v.
Haynes, U.S. District Court for the Western District of
Washington case number 17-6019 BHS-DWC. Judges Settle and
Christel have issued various orders and reports and
recommendations in the habeas corpus case (due largely to
Plaintiff's multiple motions) but have not yet reached
the merits of the petition. Id., Dkts. 2, 4, 14, 33,
34, 40, 48, 52, 53, 55, 56, and 58.
determining whether IFP should be granted in this case, the
Court will first review the proposed complaint.
of the Proposed Complaint.
Court has carefully reviewed the proposed complaint in this
matter. Because Plaintiff filed this complaint pro
se, the Court has construed the pleadings liberally and
has afforded Plaintiff the benefit of any doubt. See
Karim-Panahi v. Los Angeles Police Dep't, 839 F.2d
621, 623 (9th Cir.1988).
proposed complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he
“approached this Court and Defendants in good faith
with notices of incontrovertible criminal acts and ultra
vires hostilities on 12/6/17.” Dkt 1, at 1. He asserts
that the “Defendants have responded in bad faith,
colluding to the jurisdictionless [sic] acts, and therefore
corroborative [sic] with them, breaching the
‘whoever' non-exemptions of both 18 U.S.C.
§§ 3 & 4, thereby forfeiting any presumed
indemnification.” Id., at 2. Plaintiff
maintains that “this court will ignore and abrogate
these irrefutable facts in its pattern of RICO collusion to
the State of Washington's tyranny, ” and the
“most shocking part of this obvious collusion is that
the State of Washington's RICO legerdemain in the form of
fraudulent conviction truly extorts the U.S. Treasury[, ] one
of the assets the Defendants are sworn to protect.”
Id. He asserts that the “Defendants'
pattern of denial and refusal to even address the . . .
probable cause and evidence wreaks [sic] with the stench of
either collusion by bribery or complicity by threat.”
proposed complaint then discusses several orders issued by
Judge Settle and orders and reports and recommendations
issued by Judge Christel in his habeas corpus case, Smith
v. Haynes, U.S. District Court for the Western District
of Washington case number 17-6019 BHS-DWC. Dkt. 1, at 3-8. He
maintains that Judge Settle “issued decrees that are
wholly contrary to law . . . because the case under [sic] has
absolutely no legal standing . . . there are no relevant
state court records to deliberate over while Plaintiff
remains obviously illegally detained under absolutely no
valid probable cause.” Id., at 3. Plaintiff
asserts that “[t]his insoleuce [sic] for germane U.S.
law is mirrored in concert by (b) D.W. Christel, who among
multiple orders . . . once again places procedural hurdles
that do not legally exist in front of the Constitution . .
.” Id., at 4. Plaintiff alleges that Judge
Christel “evinces corrupt collusion with the State of
Washington RICO policies designed to rob the U.S. Treasury
and abuse its citizenry.” Id., at 4-5.
Plaintiff asserts that Judge Christel's “high-brow
fixation on the legally irrelevant is especially belligerent
because in the Plaintiff's Good Faith Motion of 2/20/18
(Dkt. No. 46), Plaintiff spends the first 28 pages
reinforcing the paramount antecedent failure of the state to
establish mandatory jurisdiction. . . .” Id.,
at 6. “For the incontrovertible collusion by
Defendants, ” Plaintiff seeks (1) $360, 000, 000.00,
(2) the “deliverance of Plaintiff without any further
nonsensical and illegal diversion into lesser minutiae while
denying him equal access to redress by law, (3) declaratory
relief, and (4) removal of Defendants from any additional
pleadings involving Plaintiff. Id., at 8-9.
federal court may dismiss a case sua sponte pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12 (b)(6) when it is clear that the plaintiff
has not stated a claim upon which relief may be granted.
See Omar v. Sea-Land Serv., Inc., 813 F.2d 986, 991
(9th Cir.1987) (“A trial court may dismiss a claim
sua sponte under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12 (b)(6). Such a
dismissal may be made without notice where the claimant
cannot possibly win relief.”); See also Mallard v.
United States Dist. Court, 490 U.S. 296, 307-08 (1989)
(noting there is little doubt a federal court would have the
power to dismiss frivolous complaint sua sponte,
even in absence of an express statutory provision). A
complaint is frivolous when it has no arguable basis in law
or fact. Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1228
(9th Cir. 1984).
common law has long recognized judicial immunity, a sweeping
form of immunity for acts performed by judges that relate to
the judicial process.” In re Castillo, 297
F.3d 940, 947 (9th Cir. 2002)(internal quotations
omitted). “Absolute immunity fails to attach to
judicial officers only when they act clearly and completely
outside the scope of their jurisdiction.” Demoran
v. Witt, 781 F.2d 155, 158 (9th Cir. 1985)(internal
Judges Settle's and Christel's acts complained of
here relate to the judicial process. They have absolute
judicial immunity from this suit. See Olson v. Idaho
State Board of Medicine, 363 F.3d 916 (9th Cir. 2004)
(noting that judges are entitled to absolute immunity for
actions taken within their jurisdiction). There is no
reasonable basis to conclude that the judges do not have
jurisdiction to act in Plaintiff's habeas corpus case.
Plaintiff is being held in Aberdeen, Washington, which is
within the federal judicial district of the Western District
of Washington. Plaintiff asserts, in his proposed complaint,
that the Defendants “will most likely endeavor to claim
unlimited indemnity [sic] of the judges, ” but
“no such immunity is available for criminal acts,
collusion or complicity.” Dkt. 1, at 9-10. Plaintiff
fails to allege any facts that support his conclusion that
the Defendants have engaged in criminal acts, have colluded
improperly, or have acted complacently. “Allegations of
malice or bad faith in the execution of the officer's
duties are insufficient to sustain the complaint when the
officer possesses absolute judicial immunity.”
Demoran, at 158. This case has no arguable basis in
law or fact. The complaint should be dismissed as frivolous
and for failure to state a claim.
it is absolutely clear that no amendment can cure the defect,
a pro se litigant is entitled to notice of the
complaint's deficiencies and an opportunity to amend
prior to dismissal of the action. See ...