United States District Court, W.D. New York
BARNEY J. RADFORD, JR., Plaintiff,
JUDGE CHARLES CRIMI, ATTORNEY JOSEPH CRIMI, MONROE COUNTY PUBLIC DEFENDER'S OFFICE, MONROE COUNTY CONFLICT DEFENDER, ATTORNEY DAVID ABBATOY, and MONROE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER
FRANK P. GERACI, JR. Chief Judge United States District Court
se Plaintiff Barney J. Radford, Jr. has filed this
action seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (ECF No. 1)
and has requested both permission to proceed in forma
pauperis and the appointment of counsel. ECF Nos. 2, 3.
substance of Plaintiff's Complaint is difficult to parse,
but read liberally, Plaintiff alleges that (1) Rochester City
Court Judge Charles Crimi was biased during a State Court
proceeding against Plaintiff because Judge Crimi ruled
against him and refused to recuse himself; (2) that the
defense attorneys who represented or consulted with him,
namely, David Abbatoy, Joseph Crimi, “Attorney
Nocce” (who is actually Charles Noce, and is named as
“Monroe County Conflict Defenders Office” in the
caption of the Complaint”) and Stephanie Stare (named
in the caption of the Complaint as “Monroe County
Public Defender's Office”), provided ineffective
assistance of counsel and/or had a conflict of interest when
they represented or consulted with Plaintiff in connection
with his State Court matters; and (3) that an unnamed
Assistant District Attorney (named as “Monroe County
District Attorney's Office in the caption of the
Complaint) “knew that Judge Crimi should have recues
(sic) himself from the start.”
relief, Plaintiff requests that the court “make me
whole, ” “have the charges and conviction removed
from my record, ” and to “remove [the
Defendants'] abilities to practice law in the State of
New York.” ECF No. 1, at 6.
reasons discussed below, (1) Plaintiff's request to
proceed as a poor person is granted, (2) Plaintiff's
Complaint is dismissed with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and (iii), and (3)
Plaintiff's motion for the appointment of counsel is
denied as moot.
Plaintiff has met the statutory requirements of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a), he is granted permission to proceed in
forma pauperis. Title 28, United States Code, Section
1915(e)(2)(B) provides that the Court shall dismiss a case in
which in forma pauperis status has been granted if,
at any time, the Court determines that the action (i) is
frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief. Section
1915 “provide[s] an efficient means by which a court
can screen for and dismiss legally insufficient
claims.” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d
Cir. 2007) (citing Shakur v. Selsky, 391 F.3d 106,
112 (2d Cir. 2004)).
reviewing the Complaint, the Court determines that it must be
dismissed under Section 1915(e), because several of the
Defendants are immune from suit, and the remainder of
Plaintiffs' claims fail to state a claim upon which
relief could be granted.
Absolute Immunity: Judge Crimi
claims against Judge Charles Crimi all relate to actions that
Judge Crimi took in his judicial role. As such, Judge Crimi
is entitled to absolute judicial immunity from the
allegations in the Complaint.
well settled that judges are absolutely immune from suit for
any actions taken within the scope of their judicial
responsibilities. See Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9,
10 (1991). Judicial immunity is not pierced by allegations
that the judge acted in bad faith or with malice, Pierson
v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 554 (1967), even though unfairness
and injustice to a litigant may result on occasion.
Mireles, 502 U.S. at 9. Judicial immunity can be
overcome only if the court is alleged to have taken
non-judicial actions or if the judicial actions taken were
“in the complete absence of all jurisdiction.”
Id. at 11-12. The United States Supreme Court has
expressly applied the doctrine of judicial immunity to
actions brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983. See
Pierson, 386 U.S. at 547.
Complaint only alleges acts taken by Judge Crimi in his
judicial role during a case in Rochester City Court.
Accordingly, Plaintiff's claims against Judge Crimi are
precluded by the doctrine of absolute judicial immunity and
must be dismissed with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Absolute Immunity: Monroe County Assistant District
though Plaintiff did not name the specific Assistant District
Attorney he references in his Complaint, whomever that
prosecutor is, they are entitled to absolute immunity. The
Supreme Court has held that when prosecutors perform
traditional prosecutorial activities that are
“intimately associated with the judicial phase of the
criminal process, ” they are entitled to absolute
immunity. Imbler v. Patchman, 424 U.S. 409, 430
(1976). In determining whether absolute prosecutorial
immunity attaches to a particular action, courts apply a
“functional approach.” Hill v. City of New
York, 45 F.3d 653, 660 (2d Cir. 1995).
“Prosecutorial immunity from § 1983 liability is
broadly defined, covering ...