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Baltierra v. Fayette Circuit Court

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

December 18, 2013

FAYETTE CIRCUIT COURT, et al., Defendants.


DANNY C. REEVES, District Judge.

Proceeding without an attorney, Maria de Jesus Baltierra, "M.D." has filed a Complaint seeking the removal of criminal action from state court based on alleged violations of state and federal law. [Record No. 1] She names as defendants: (i) the Fayette Circuit Court; (ii) the Commonwealth of Kentucky; (iii) the Public Defender; (iv) Fayette County Commonwealth Attorney Ray Larson; (v) Allison Eastland, Assistant Commonwealth Attorney; (vi) the University of Kentucky Police Chief; and (vii) the University of Kentucky. [ Id. ] For the reasons outlined below, the Court will dismiss a number of the plaintiffs claims. Some will be dismissed with prejudice while others will be dismissed without prejudice. However, the action in its entirety will be dismissed and stricken from this Court's docket.


On December 27, 2012, Baltierra was arrested in Lexington, Kentucky, and charged with endangering the welfare of a minor and custodial interference. Baltierra claims that she was accompanied by her grandchild at the time of the arrest. [Record No. 1-1] Her criminal case was filed in the Fayette Circuit Court. Baltierra claims that the criminal charges against her were eventually dismissed.

Baltierra seeks to challenge her arrest and subsequent criminal prosecution on a number of grounds. She seeks an order "removing" the state criminal matter to this Court so that this Court may "hear the Federal questions of violations of Due Process and repeated failure to assure the Constitutional protections and Rights to three USA citizens." [ Id., p. 4] Baltierra also alleges that she was profiled and prosecuted because of her ethnicity. [Record No. 1, pp. 2, 4, 7] Next, the plaintiff further claims that the prosecution was defamatory and violated her rights under state law. [ Id., pp. 1, 6] She demands a jury trial and monetary damages under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and 1331.[1] [Record No. 1, pp. 1-2]


Because Baltierra asserts claims against governmental entities and employees, and because she has been granted pauper status [Record No. 3], the Court conducts a preliminary review of her Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A (e)(2). A district court must dismiss any claim that is frivolous or 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. 28 Id. ; McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 607-08 (6th Cir. 1997). The Court evaluates Baltierra's Complaint under a more lenient standard because she is not represented by an attorney. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Burton v. Jones, 321 F.3d 569, 573 (6th Cir. 2003). At this stage of the proceedings, the Court accepts her factual allegations as true and liberally construes the legal claims in her favor. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007).


A. Improper Removal

As a general matter, only civil matters may be removed to federal courts. 28 U.S.C. § 1441; see also Warren v. Michigan Dept. of Corrections, No. 1:05-cv-652, 2005 WL 2461161, at *81 (W.D. Mich. Oct. 4, 2005) ("On its face, § 1441(b) provides for the removal of only civil actions, not criminal actions."). However, a criminal action commenced in State court may be removed under very limited circumstances. Title 28 of the United States Code, Section 1443, permits removal of a state court criminal proceeding to federal court, but only to protect: (1) federal officials and persons assisting federal officials in the performance of their official duties, and (2) state officials who refuse to enforce or prosecute state laws that result in the discrimination based on race or color. Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Ass'n v. City of Detroit, 597 F.2d 566, 568 (6th Cir. 1979); see also McQueary v. Jefferson Cnty., Ky., 819 F.2d 1142, 1987 WL 37567, at *2-3 (W.D. Ky. June 2, 1987).

Because these limited circumstances do not apply here, Baltierra's attempt to remove her state court criminal action is improper. See Crim. Ct. of Memphis and Shelby County v. Devitoe-Chauntaunt, No. 11-2560-STA-tmp, 2011 WL 5827251, at *2 (W.D. Tenn. Nov. 18, 2011) ("Criminal cases may be removed only in limited circumstances, none of which are applicable here."). Therefore, her request for removal will be denied.

B. § 1983 Claims

Additionally, this Court can not intervene in a pending state court criminal case under long-standing abstention principles. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971)(counseling federal courts to abstain from interfering in pending state court criminal proceedings). However, Baltierra asserts that the criminal action against her has been dismissed and is no longer pending. Even assuming that the state proceeding is final, for the ...

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