United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
TIMOTHY D. DeGIUSTI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a state pretrial detainee appearing pro se, brought this
action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his
federal constitutional rights. The matter was referred to
United States Magistrate Judge Suzanne Mitchell for initial
proceedings consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Rule
72(b), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. After screening the
Complaint, Judge Mitchell issued a Report and Recommendation
(R&R or Report) [Doc. No. 7] in which she recommended
summary dismissal of the action. Plaintiff timely objected to
the R&R and the matter is at issue.
reviewing Plaintiff's Complaint, Judge Mitchell took
judicial notice of the underlying state court proceedings
giving rise to his action. She noted that Plaintiff was
charged in Comanche County District Court with burglary in
the first degree and assault and battery with a dangerous
weapon. R&R at 4-5. His Complaint before this Court is
lodged against two judges, two district attorneys, and his
court-appointed counsel in their individual and official
capacities. Plaintiff's first claim alleges his due
process rights were violated because the probable cause
affidavit contained false statements and there was
insufficient evidence to support the charges at issue. Compl.
at 7-8 [Doc. No. 1]. As relief, Plaintiff requests that the
Court “drop the charges” against him.
Id. at 8.
second claim, Plaintiff contends Defendants violated his
rights to a speedy trial by failing to advise him of said
rights and not hearing or responding to his motions in a
timely manner. Id. at 8. Plaintiff's third claim
alleges his equal protection rights were violated due to
several continuances being granted in his case “so
[Defendants] could continue [making] money by not
[advocating] for me properly and by not … pushing for
a verdict and pressing for the truth ….”
Id. at 9. Plaintiff's final claim alleges his
Eight Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment
was violated because the amount of his bond was $75,
000-which Plaintiff contends was excessive-and for what
Plaintiff considers an untimely disposition of his case.
Id. at 10. Plaintiff's case is currently set on
the May 2018 jury docket. R&R at 5.
Mitchell noted that Plaintiff's requested relief
implicates the Younger abstention doctrine, which
generally prohibits federal courts from interfering with
ongoing state criminal proceedings. See Younger v.
Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971). Under Younger,
abstention is appropriate where (1) there is an ongoing state
criminal proceeding, (2) the state court provides an adequate
forum to hear the claims raised in the federal complaint, and
(3) the state proceedings involve important state interests,
i.e., matters which traditionally look to state law for their
resolution or implicate separately articulated state
policies. Crown Point I, LLC v. Intermountain Rural Elec.
Ass'n, 319 F.3d 1211, 1215 (10th Cir. 2003).
“Once these three conditions are met, Younger
abstention is non-discretionary and, absent extraordinary
circumstances, a district court is required to
abstain.” See id. (citing Seneca-Cayuga
Tribe v. Oklahoma, 874 F.2d 709, 711 (10th Cir. 1989)).
Mitchell found each of the foregoing factors were met in this
case. She noted that (1) there was an ongoing criminal case;
(2) Plaintiff's grievances could be addressed by the
Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals and this Court on direct
appeal and by application for post-conviction relief; and (3)
the State of Oklahoma necessarily has an important interest
in prosecuting crimes allegedly committed within its
boundaries. R&R at 6.
Court must review de novo any part of a magistrate
judge's report and recommendation to which a proper
objection has been made. See 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). Upon the exercise of
such review, the Court may accept, reject, or modify the
recommendation, receive further evidence, or return the
matter to the magistrate judge with instructions. See
Id. The Court has read the Report and conducted a de
novo review of the relevant filings. Based upon this review,
the Court accepts the Report and adopts it as the ruling of
this Court. Plaintiffs objection does not substantively
dispute Younger's application to his Complaint;
he only objects to Judge Mitchell's findings that he
waived his preliminary hearing, right to a speedy trial, and
agreed to continue the case to the May 2018 docket. Pl. Obj.
at 1-2 [Doc. No. 8]. However, these objections have no
bearing on the issue of whether Plaintiffs case is properly
before the Court, and after reviewing the Younger
factors, the Court finds the factors have been met as set
forth in the Report and Recommendation.
the Court ADOPTS the findings and
conclusions set forth in the Magistrate Judge's Report
and Recommendation [Doc. No. 7] as though fully set forth
herein and DISMISSES the present action. A
judgment shall be issued forthwith.