United States District Court, District of Columbia
Robert L. Hedrick, Plaintiff,
Carl E. Stewart et al., Defendants.
matter is before the Court on its initial review of
plaintiff's pro se complaint and application for
leave to proceed in forma pauper is. The application
will be granted and this case will be dismissed pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires dismissal of a
prisoner's complaint upon a determination that it, among
other listed grounds, is frivolous.
is incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center in Butner,
North Carolina. He has sued Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart of
the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in
his individual capacity and in his official capacity "as
the direct supervisor of the judges and clerks of the court
that are under his direction[.]" Comp. ¶ 3 (listing
defendants) [Dkt. # 1]. In addition to the judicial
defendants, plaintiff has sued two assistant United States
attorneys. Plaintiff has filed an amended complaint "to
include [claims] against" additional judicial officers
in the United States District Court for the Southern District
of Texas and employees of the Department of Homeland
Security. Am. Compl. at 1 [Dkt. # 5].
pleadings are largely incoherent but appear to be based on
matters that occurred during court proceedings in the
judicial districts of the defendants. Plaintiff mentions a
"Pattern of RICO" and refers to the defendants as
"co-conspirators." Am. Compl. at 1, 2. Plaintiff
posits that Chief Judge Stewart should "appear before
this Court to answer for his contempt and the contempt of the
judges and clerks under his supervision ... for the
deliberate manipulation of the courts' rules; obstruction
of justice; falsifying court decisions; illegally suspending
a briefing schedule .. . and . . . failing to change venue to
protect plaintiffs due process rights[.]" Compl. ¶
1. But it is "axiomatic that a lower court may not order
the judges or officers of a higher court to take an
action." Panko v. Kodak, 606 F.2d 168, 171 n.6
(7th Cir, 1979), cert denied, 444 U.S. 1081 (1980).
an "in forma pauper is complaint is properly
dismissed as frivolous ... if it is clear from the face of
the pleading that the named defendant is absolutely immune
from suit on the claims asserted." Crisafi v.
Holland, 655 F.2d 1305, 1308 (D.C. Cir. 1981). Judges
enjoy absolute immunity from suits based on acts taken in
their judicial capacity, so long as they have jurisdiction
over the subject matter. Moore v. Burger, 655 F.2d
1265, 1266 (D.C. Cir. 1981) (per curiam) (citing cases).
Consequently, a complaint, such as here, against judges who
have "done nothing more than their duty" is "a
meritless action." Fleming v. United States,
847 F.Supp. 170, 172 (D.D.C. 1994), cert denied 513
U.S. 1150 (1995). Furthermore, absolute "immunity
applies to all acts of auxiliary court personnel that are
basic and integral parts of the judicial function[, ]"
Sindram v. Suda, 986 F.2d 1459, 1461 (D.C. Cir.
1993) (citations, internal quotation marks and alterations
omitted), as well as to "acts undertaken by a prosecutor
in preparing for the initiation of judicial proceedings or
for trial, and which occur in the course of his role as an
advocate for the State/Morton v. D.C. Office of
Mayor, 567 F.3d 672, 686 (D.C. Cir. 2009).
extent that plaintiff has sued under the Racketeer Influenced
and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1961
et seq., the "United States has not waived
sovereign immunity for claims brought under the RICO
Act." Klayman v. Obama,125 F.Supp.3d 67, 79
(D.D.C. 2015) (citing cases); see Norris v. Dep't of
Defense, No. 96-5326, 1997 WL 362495 (D.C. Cir. May 5,
1997) (per curiam) (finding claim for treble damages under
the RICO Act "barred by the doctrine of sovereign
immunity"); Andrade v. Chojnacki, 934 F.Supp.
817, 831 (S.D. Tex. 1996) ("Absent an express waiver of
sovereign immunity, a RICO action cannot be maintained
against the United States.") (citing cases)). And
sovereign immunity extends to the named federal employees
since they are accused at most of misconduct while acting
within the scope of their employment. See Chacoty v.
Tillerson,285 F.Supp.3d 293, 301 (D.D.C. 2018)
("The immunity of the United States extends to
individual 'officials [who are sued] in their official