United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ALLISON D. BURROUGHS U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
reasons set forth below, the Court dismisses this action
April 19, 2017, Kevin Pacheco, who resides in South
Dartmouth, Massachusetts, filed a pro se complaint
and request for an injunction to halt state criminal
proceedings against him in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. He
names as defendants the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the
state of Rhode Island, and the Attorney General of each
state. According to Pacheco, he is being denied his federal
rights to a fair and speedy trial, his rights under the Sixth
Amendment, the right to represent himself, and his rights
under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In regards to the
latter, he represents that he suffers from agoraphobia, and
that the defendants' failure to accommodate his
disability affects his ability to represent himself.
prayer for relief, Pacheco asks that the Court issue an
injunction before April 26, 2017 to stop the state criminal
proceedings. He also asks that this Court dismiss the state
court proceedings and award compensatory damages for the
mental anguish he has endured. Pacheco asks that, if the
state court criminal proceedings against him are not
dismissed, that they go forward in federal court.
paid the filing fee and summonses have issued.
courts “have an affirmative obligation to examine
jurisdictional concerns on their own initiative.”
Irving v. United States, 162 F.3d 154, 160 (1st Cir.
1998). Upon considering the issue, the Court will abstain
from exercising jurisdiction over this action and will
dismiss this case.
courts have long recognized ‘the fundamental policy
against federal interference with state criminal
proceedings.'” In re Justices of Superior Ct.
Dep't of Mass. Trial Ct., 218 F.3d 11, 16 (1st Cir.
2000) (quoting Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 46
(1971)). Congress has long expressed its policy that
“the state courts be allowed to conduct state
proceedings free from interference by the federal
courts.” Id. at 16. This policy against
“federal interference with state judicial proceedings
is premised on ‘a proper respect for state functions, a
recognition of the fact that the entire country is made up of
a Union of separate state governments, and a continuance of
the belief that the National Government will fare best if the
States and their institutions are left free to perform their
separate functions in their separate ways.'”
Id. (quoting Younger, 401 U.S. at 44).
Under the principles of Younger abstention, “a
federal court must abstain from hearing a case if doing so
would ‘needlessly inject' the federal court into
ongoing state proceedings.” Coggeshall v. Mass. Bd.
of Registration of Psychologists, 604 F.3d 658, 664 (1st
Cir. 2010) (quoting Brooks v. N.H. Supreme Ct., 80
F.3d 633, 637 (1st Cir. 1996)).
it would violate the principles of comity between federal and
state proceedings for this Court to adjudicate claims that
Massachusetts and Rhode Island are violating Pacheco's
federal rights in regards to the state criminal prosecutions
against him. Pacheco may raise his objections in the state
trial court and, if necessary, on appeal. There is no need
for this Court to “needlessly inject” itself in
there is no basis for this Court to exercise removal
jurisdiction over the state criminal proceeding. Under 28
U.S.C. § 1443, the following classes of prosecutions may
be removed by the defendant to federal court: (1) a
prosecution “[a]gainst any person who is denied or
cannot enforce” in state court “a right under any
law providing for the equal civil rights of citizens of the
United States, or of all persons within the jurisdiction
thereof”; and (2) a prosecution “[f]or any act
under color of authority derived from any law providing for
equal rights, or for refusing to do any act on the ground
that it would be inconsistent with such law.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1443(1)-(2). The criminal proceedings against Pacheco
do not fall into either category. His allegations do not
provide the Court any basis to believe that he cannot enforce
his federal rights in a state forum. See City of
Greenwood v. Peacock, 384 U.S. 808, 828 (1966)
(prosecutions removable under § 1443(1) only in
“the rare situations where it can be clearly predicted
by reason of the operation of a pervasive and explicitly
state or federal law that those rights will inevitably be
denied by the very act of bringing the defendant to trial in
the state court”). Further, Pacheco cannot avail
himself of § 1443(2) because his is not being prosecuted
for an “act under color of authority.”
action is DISMISSED ...