United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
ROBERT R. CARL, SPN #00286511, Plaintiff,
174TH CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
F. ATLAS SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff, Robert R. Carl (SPN #00286511), has filed a
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of
his civil rights in connection with state court criminal
charges that are pending against him. Because Carl is a
prisoner who proceeds in forma pauperis, the Court
is required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act the
(“PLRA”) to scrutinize the pleadings and dismiss
the case if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b), 1915(e)(2)(B).
After reviewing all of the pleadings as required, the Court
concludes that this case must be dismissed for reasons that
was arrested in October of 2017, and charged with assault on
a family member. Public records reflect that those charges
are pending against him in the 174th District Court of Harris
County, Texas, pursuant to an indictment in Cause No.
1567696. Carl has filed this lawsuit against the
judge who presides over the 174th District Court and the
prosecutors employed by the Harris County District
Attorney's Office, concerning the criminal proceedings
that are pending against him. Carl claims that he has been
denied effective assistance of trial and the right to act as
co-counsel on his own behalf. He claims further that he has
been denied an examining trial to prove his innocence and
that he is “illegally confined” as the result of
“official oppression” and violations of due
seeks compensatory damages in the amount of $ 1 million under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the violation of his civil
rights. Carl also asks this Court to intervene and
dismiss all the charges pending against him.
cannot recover damages from the 174th District Court for
Harris County or the presiding judge in connection with the
criminal proceedings referenced in the complaint. It is well
established that judges are entitled to absolute immunity
from claims arising out of acts performed in the exercise of
their judicial functions. See Stump v. Sparkman, 435
U.S. 349, 355 (1978); Boyd v. Biggers, 31 F.3d 279,
284 (5th Cir. 1994). The doctrine of absolute judicial
immunity protects judges not only from liability, but also
from suit. Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991).
Judicial immunity may be overcome only by showing that the
actions complained of were non-judicial in nature or were
taken in the complete absence of all jurisdiction. See
Id. at 11-12. Because all of Carl's contentions take
issue with rulings that are judicial in nature, he fails to
overcome the state court's entitlement to immunity.
same reason, Carl cannot recover damages from the Harris
County District Attorney's Office or any of the
prosecutors assigned to his case. Prosecutors are entitled to
absolute immunity from civil rights claims for actions taken
in the scope of their duties in initiating and pursuing a
criminal prosecution. See Van de Kamp v. Goldstein,
555 U.S. 335, 343 (2009) (citing Burns v. Reed, 500
U.S. 478, 492 (1991)); see also Imbler v. Pachtman,
424 U.S. 409, 431 (1976) (holding that prosecutors are
absolutely immune from a civil suit for damages for
initiating a prosecution and in presenting the state's
case). To the extent that Carl's claims relate to the
prosecution of the charges against him during his state court
criminal proceedings, the Court must dismiss his claims for
seeking monetary relief from defendants who are immune from
addition, to the extent that Carl asks this Court to
intervene in an ongoing criminal proceeding and dismiss the
charges against him, his claims are barred by the doctrine
set out in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-45
(1971), which holds that federal courts cannot interfere in
state criminal proceedings unless extraordinary circumstances
are present. This doctrine, which is alternately called
“abstention or nonintervention, ” is based on
considerations of equity, comity, and federalism. DeSpain
v. Johnston, 731 F.2d 1171, 1175-76 (5th Cir. 1984).
Carl does not allege facts showing that exceptional
circumstances are present or that federal court intervention
is otherwise warranted. For this additional reason, the
complaint must be dismissed.
CONCLUSION AND ORDER
on the foregoing, the Court ORDERS as
complaint filed by the plaintiff, Robert R. Carl, is
DISMISSED with prejudice under 28 U.S.C.
dismissal will count as a “strike” for purposes
of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
Clerk is directed to provide a copy of this order to the
parties. The Clerk will also provide a copy of this
order to the Manager of the Three Strikes List for the