United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER OF DISMISSAL
MELINDA HARMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
currently in custody at the Harris County Jail, has filed
this section 1983 lawsuit pro se against the trial
judge in his criminal case. (Docket Entry No. 1). Based on a
careful review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(a), the Court DISMISSES this lawsuit
as frivolous and for failure to state a claim as outlined
discloses that he was charged with failing to register as a
sex offender in case number 1499861, in the 208th Judicial
District Court of Harris County, Texas, and was held without
bond for thirteen and a half months. See Docket
Entry No. 1 at 1. Plaintiff alleges further that he was
“found innocent” on March 29, 2017. Id.
court records indicate that case number 1499861 was dismissed
because Plaintiff was convicted of evading arrest in case
number 1499673 and was sentenced to fourteen months
imprisonment in state jail for that offense. See State v.
Elliott, Harris County cause no. 1499861, at Motion to
Dismiss (208th Dist. Ct. Mar. 29, 2017); State v.
Elliott, Harris County cause no. 1499673, at Judgment of
Conviction (208th Dist. Ct. Mar. 29, 2017). He now brings a
section 1983 claim for false imprisonment against the
Honorable Denise Collins, the presiding judge of the 208th
Judicial District Court of Harris County, who presided over
criminal case number 1499861. Id.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court may scrutinize the
basis of the complaint and, if appropriate, dismiss the case
without service of process if the lawsuit is frivolous,
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. See id.; see also
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. An action is frivolous if it lacks
any arguable basis in law or fact. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Talib v.
Gilley, 138 F.3d 211, 213 (5th Cir. 1998). A complaint
lacks an arguable basis in law if it is based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory, such as if the complaint
alleges violation of a legal interest which clearly does not
exist. Harris v. Hegmann, 198 F.3d 153, 156 (5th
claim against Judge Collins fails as a matter of law because
judges are entitled to absolute immunity from claims arising
out of acts performed in the exercise of their judicial
functions. See Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 553-54
(1967) (“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.”); Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S.
349, 355 (1978); Boyd v. Biggers 31 F.3d 279, 284
(5th Cir. 1995); see also Bauer v. Texas, 341 F.3d
352, 357 (5th Cir. 2003) (“Judges enjoy absolute
immunity from liability for judicial or adjudicatory
acts.”). The doctrine of absolute judicial immunity
protects judges not only from liability, but also from suit.
Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 10 (1991). Allegations
of bad faith do not overcome judicial immunity, id.,
and neither do allegations of procedural errors. See
Mitchell v. McBryde, 944 F.2d 229, 230 (5th Cir. 1991).
Judicial immunity is overcome only when the complained-of
acts were not taken in the judge's judicial capacity, or
when they were taken in the complete absence of all
jurisdiction. Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11-12.
generally alleges that Judge Collins falsely imprisoned him
because his case was eventually dismissed. There is no
indication that Judge Collins acted outside of her
jurisdiction; all of the allegations concern judicial acts
taken in her official capacity. Id. Accordingly,
Judge Collins is entitled to judicial immunity, and
Plaintiffs claims against her must be dismissed.
CONCLUSION AND ORDER
on the foregoing, the Court ORDERS that plaintiffs complaint
is DISMISSED with prejudice under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
dismissal constitutes a “strike” for purposes of
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). The Clerk of Court shall send a
copy of this dismissal by email to the Clerk of the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Texas,
Houston Division, 515 Rusk Street, Houston, Texas, ...