United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
B. SARIS CHIEF, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Carl Swanson has filed a complaint in which he asks this
Court to review and adjudicate a matter that is presently
pending in the South Boston Municipal Court. For the reasons
set forth below, the Court dismisses this action.
November 22, 2017, Swanson filed in this Court a complaint
against the South Boston Municipal Court
(“SBMC”), a bailiff at the SBMC, the Honorable
Michael C. Bolden, and the Supreme Judicial Court. Swanson
brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging
violations of his Constitutional right to due process. He
also alleges that, under state law, the defendants have
violated his right to due process.
to Swanson,  on November 17, 2017, Swanson's father
went to the SBMC and requested an abuse prevention order
against Swanson. This order requires, inter alia,
that Swanson vacate the residence he shared with his father
and mother. On November 21, 2017, Swanson filed motions for
court assistance in locating municipal employees who had
conducted a mental health examination on him just hours
before his father sought the abuse prevention order. Judge
Bolden denied these motions the same day. Immediately
thereafter, Swanson filed another set of motions. Ten minutes
after Swanson gave these papers to the bailiff, he was
informed that Judge Bolden would consider all the papers at a
hearing scheduled for December 1, 2017.
present action, Swanson argues that Judge Bolden's
initial denial of his motions was “critical fundamental
error, ” and the court's failure to immediately
rule on the second set of motions Swanson filed violated his
due process rights under state and federal law. See
Compl. ¶¶ 4, 9. Swanson further asserts that his
due process rights are violated because “Massachusetts
law does not allow single justices to review abuse protection
orders.” Id. ¶ 13.
prayer for relief, Swanson states that, at this time, he is
only asking this Court to order that he immediately be
allowed to return to his home. Although he opposes the
protection order, Swanson represents that he is
“willing to allow that aspect of it to be continued
until further proceeding can be held.” Id.
Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma
review of Swanson's motion for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis, the Court concludes that he is without
income or assets to prepay the $400 filing fee. Accordingly,
the motion is GRANTED.
Review of the Complaint
Swanson is proceeding in forma pauperis, his
complaint is subject to screening under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). This statute authorizes federal courts to dismiss
in forma pauperis actions that are malicious,
frivolous, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seek monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). Further, a court has an obligation to inquire
sua sponte into its own subject matter jurisdiction.
See McCulloch v. Velez, 364 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir.
review of the complaint, the Court abstains from exercising
jurisdiction over this action. “Abstention is a devise
designed to facilitate the side-by-side operation of federal
and state courts, balancing their respective interests in the
spirit of comity.” Coggeshall v. Massachusetts Bd.
of Registration of Psychologists, 604 F.3d 658, 664 (1st
Cir. 2010). “Except in the most extraordinary cases, a
federal court must presume that state courts, consistent with
the imperatives of the Supremacy Clause, see U.S.
Const. art. VI, are fully competent to adjudicate federal
constitutional and statutory claims properly presented by the
parties.” Casa Marie, Inc. v. Super. Ct., 988
F.2d 252, 262 (1st Cir.1993) (footnote omitted). Under
Younger abstention, see Younger v. Harris,
401 U.S. 37 (1971), “a federal court must abstain from
hearing a case if doing so would ‘needlessly
inject' the federal court into ongoing state
proceedings.” Coggeshall, 604 F.3d at 664
(quoting Brooks v. N.H. Supreme Ct., 80 F.3d 633,
637 (1st Cir. 1996)). Younger abstention is even
appropriate where litigants “claim violations of
important federal rights, ” In re Justices of
Superior Ct. Dept. of Mass. Trial Ct., 218 F.3d 11, 17
(1st Cir. 2000), as long as the federal claims can be
“raised and resolved somewhere in the state
process” Maymó-Meléndez v.
Álvarez-Ramírez, 364 F.3d 27, 36 (1st Cir.
2004) (emphasis added).
the Court would “needlessly inject” itself in a
pending state proceeding if it were to alter the terms of the
abuse protection order, require the state court to issue for
orders or subpoenas to locate witnesses, and provide other
relief with regards to the alleged due process violations
that have occurred in the state court proceeding against
Swanson. The Court has no reason to believe that the Swanson
will not have an ...