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Buchholz-Kaestner v. Fitzgerald

United States District Court, N.D. New York

May 30, 2017

ROBERT EDWARD BUCHHOLZ-KAESTNER, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES FITZGERALD; D. SCHULTZ; and HON. F. CHRISTOPHER GIRUZZI, Defendants.

          ROBERT EDWARD BUCHHOLZ-KAESTNER Plaintiff, Pro Se

          CITY OF UTICA CORPORATION COUNSEL Counsel for Defendants Fitzgerald and Schultz

          ZACHARY C. OREN, ESQ. Assistant Corporation Counsel

          HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN Attorney General for the State of New York Counsel for Defendant Giruzzi

          COLLEEN D. GALLIGAN, ESQ. Assistant Attorney General

          DECISION AND ORDER

          GLENN T. SUDDABY, Chief United States District Judge

         Currently before the Court, in this civil rights action filed pro se by Robert Edward Buchholz-Kaestner ("Plaintiff") against the three above-captioned individuals ("Defendants"), are two motions: (1) Defendant Hon. F. Christopher Giruzzi's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for (among other things) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) (Dkt. No. 19); and (2) Defendants James Fitzgerald's and D. Schultz's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for (among other things) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) (Dkt. No. 20). For the reasons set forth below, both motions to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint are granted.

         I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

         A. Plaintiff's Complaint

         Generally, affording it an extremely liberal construction, Plaintiff's Complaint appears to allege as follows. Plaintiff is a "Royal American National" (and not a United States citizen), "wave[s] the Title 4 U.S.C. Sec. 1 ch. 1 American civilian peace flag, " and is not subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of Oneida County. (Dkt. No. 1 at 7.)[1] Defendants James Fitzgerald ("Fitzgerald") and D. Schultz ("Schultz"), police officers employed by the Utica Police Department, executed a traffic stop of Plaintiff's vehicle in Utica, New York. (Id. at 1, 3, 6-7.) The traffic stop culminated in the issuance of one or more traffic citations that were prosecuted in Utica City Court, apparently before Defendant Hon. F. Christopher Giruzzi ("Judge Giruzzi"). (Id. at 5.)

         Although Plaintiff's Complaint contains virtually no factual detail, it appears to assert the following claims: (1) a claim that Fitzgerald and Schultz violated 4 U.S.C. § 1 by not "honoring" the "superior flag Title 4 Civilian American flag of peace";[2] (2) a claim that Fitzgerald and Schultz falsely arrested him; (3) a claim that Fitzgerald and Schultz failed to advise Plaintiff of his Miranda rights and unlawfully searched his property; (4) a claim that Fitzgerald and Schultz arrested him "using selective enforcement, " and deprived him of his right to travel; (5) a claim that Fitzgerald and Schultz conspired to violate his civil rights in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242, 247; (6) a claim that Judge Giruzzi violated his constitutional rights and "tr[ie]d to limit [his rights] reserved under [New York Uniform Commercial Code §§] 1-308 and 1-207" by refusing to dismiss the Utica City Court action; and (7) claims that Defendants "knowingly violated [his] Rights, Federal Statutes, and International Treaties, " including 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986, and "S.I.A. of 1976 - 94th Congress (International Treaty)."[3] (Id. at 3-7.) Plaintiff also "request[s] that Case No. 2016-02027 from City Court of Oneida County be brought to federal jurisdiction." (Id. at 5.)

         B. Parties' Briefing on Defendants' Motions

         1. Judge Giruzzi's Memorandum of Law

         Generally, in support of his motion, Judge Giruzzi advances five arguments: (1) because Judge Giruzzi is a City Court Justice in the New York State Unified Court System, Plaintiff's claim(s) against him in his official capacity are barred by the Eleventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; (2) to the extent that Plaintiff can be understood to assert claim(s) against him in his personal capacity, such claim(s) are barred by the doctrine of absolute judicial immunity; (3) because Plaintiff's claims are predicated on a "sovereign citizen" or "redemptionist" theory, he has failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting an entitlement to relief; (4) Plaintiff should not be granted leave to amend his Complaint because his claims are frivolous, and better pleading will not cure them; and (5) Plaintiff has not demonstrated entitlement to removal of the Utica City Court case to this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1443 because (a) he has not alleged facts plausibly suggesting that Judge Giruzzi violated any civil right or federal statute prohibiting discrimination or unequal treatment based upon race (or, for that matter, any issue in the case related to race), and (b) he has not complied with the procedural requirements for removal under 28 U.S.C. § 1455 (i.e., by timely filing a notice of removal containing all the grounds for removal, together with copies of all process, pleadings, and orders from the case). (Dkt. No. 19, Attach. 1, at 3-11 [Giruzzi's Memo. of Law].)

         2. Fitzgerald's and Schultz's Memorandum of Law

         Generally, in support of their motion, Fitzgerald and Schultz advance nine arguments: (1) because Plaintiff's claims are predicated on a "sovereign citizen" theory (which courts consistently reject as frivolous), he has failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting an entitlement to relief; (2) if the Court recognizes Plaintiff's sovereignty, his claim(s) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 must be dismissed because it is "legally impossible" that Defendants acted under color of state law and deprived him (a non-citizen) of any rights; (3) to the extent that Plaintiff has successfully removed the Utica City Court case to this Court by filing his Complaint, the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over his Complaint because Plaintiff has not established that removal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1443 (i.e., that his rights will be violated by the very act of facing prosecution related to his traffic citations in state court, or that he has been subjected to any form of racial discrimination); (4) even if the Utica City Court case has been properly removed to this Court, Fitzgerald and Schultz are not proper parties to the case; (5) Plaintiff's claim that he was not read his Miranda warnings is not legally cognizable under § 1983; (6) Plaintiff's selective enforcement claim must be dismissed because he has failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting (a) the existence of any comparators or (b) that he was selectively treated based upon his membership in a suspect class, such as race or religion; (7) Plaintiff's false arrest claim must be dismissed because he has failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting that Fitzgerald and Schultz lacked probable cause to stop him (given that Plaintiff was driving with a suspended license); (8) they are entitled to qualified immunity because (a) Plaintiff's (routinely rejected) sovereign citizen legal theory is not clearly established, and (b) they acted in an objectively reasonable manner, given that they had arguable probable cause to arrest him; and (9) to the extent that Plaintiff may be understood to assert any claims under New York State law, these claims should be dismissed because he has not complied (or even pleaded compliance) with the notice-of-claim requirements set forth in New York General Municipal Law § 50-e. (Dkt. No. 20, Attach. 15, at 5-20 [Officers' Memo. of Law].)

         3. Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Both Motions

         Generally, in opposition to Defendants' motions, Plaintiff appears to advance six arguments: (1) the traffic citations that he was issued (apparently for not having a valid driver's license) are "null, void, fraud, and unconstitutional" because "the right to travel is protected constitutionally" and the U.S. Supreme Court has held that no license is required to drive an automobile; (2) in the Utica City Court case, Judge Giruzzi committed an "Anti-American . . . federal offence" by advising Plaintiff that he could not bring his flag into the courtroom; (3) Utica City Court lacks jurisdiction over him because he is a "foreign state" and "independent sovereign"; (4) "[y]our government" (presumably referring to the government of which the Court is a part) lacks jurisdiction over him because he is a "Royal American National . . . expatriate" who enjoys "foreign immunity"; (5) Fitzgerald and Schultz violated the U.S. Constitution, international treaties, 18 U.S.C. § 241, and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985-86; and (6) he has reserved his rights pursuant to New York Uniform Commercial Code § 1-308. (Dkt. No. 22 [Plf.'s Opp'n Memo. of Law].)[4]

         4. Judge ...


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