United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Tallahassee Division
ORDER AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CHARLES A. STAMPELOS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
proceeding pro se, initiated this case on June 20, 2019, by
submitting a complaint, ECF No. 1, and a motion requesting
leave to proceed in forma pauperis, ECF No. 2. Four days
later Plaintiff submitted an “emergency motion child
taken illegally.” ECF No. 5.
financial affidavit demonstrates that Plaintiff lacks the
resources to pay the filing fee for this case. Good cause
having been shown, ECF No. 2, the motion is granted and
Plaintiff will not be required to pay the filing fee to bring
complaint, ECF No. 1, has been reviewed to determine if this
Court has jurisdiction over this action. Plaintiff brings
this case against four Defendants: one is a current judge,
one is a former judge, the third Defendant is the
“Madison County Court, ” and the final Defendant
is an individual identified as Zachary Taylor Daniel who
appears to reside in Tennessee. Id. at 4-5. The
issues raised in the complaint concern enforcement of a state
court domestic violence order of protection, a child custody
dispute, issues concerning parental responsibility and
alleged that in June 2018, the Florida First District Court
of Appeal reversed part of an order entered by Judge Decker
which gave Defendant Daniel visitation with Plaintiff's
minor child. ECF No. 1 at 7-9.Plaintiff states that following
that reversal, a hearing was held in July to consider
visitation. Id. at 10. It appears that on remand,
Judge Decker gave Defendant Daniel “full custody of the
minor child.” Id. at 11. Plaintiff contends
that Defendant Decker entered a “fraudulent
order” which incorrectly cited dates, made false
statements, and was based on wrong facts. Id. at
10-14. Plaintiff notes that she again filed an appeal to the
First District Court of Appeal, but that court “refused
to uphold their own opinion and mandated, and affirmed the
new order without opinion.” Id. at 14.
Plaintiff's Rule 60 motion was also denied. Id.
alleged that after she had visitation with the child in April
2019, she mailed unspecified “court papers” to
Defendant Daniels, the child's father, with a noted
stating “she was not returning the minor child to
him.” Id. at 15. The day after that note was
delivered, Defendant Daniels arrived with law enforcement who
advised Plaintiff that they would get a warrant for her
arrest. Id. at 16. Another court hearing was held,
this time before Defendant Judge Olin, who did not permit
Plaintiff to “talk at the hearing.” Id.
Judge Olin permitted Defendant Daniels to take the minor
child across state lines. Subsequently, Plaintiff has sought
to have Judge Olin recuse herself and appears to be seeking
to overturn that order. Id. at 17-21.
instant complaint, Plaintiff seeks to challenge the orders
entered by state court judges Decker and Olin. She contends
they violated 18 U.S.C. § 2265, 18 U.S.C. § 2262,
her First Amendment rights, due process rights, and her right
to equal protection. Id. at 23-25. Plaintiff claims
Defendant Daniels has violated 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)
because he has guns in his home. Id. at 23. She
further claims Defendant Daniels committed “stalking
and harassment” in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2261A
by contacting the minor child's speech therapist and
violated 18 U.S.C. § 1621 by committing perjury when he
“lied on his court papers and in court.”
Id. at 23-24. As relief, Plaintiff seeks the
immediate return of the minor child to the state of Florida,
charges to be brought against the Defendants for violating
federal law, and for an investigation to be conducted
concerning corruption in the Madison County Court.
Id. at 22.
not Plaintiff's first lawsuit in this Court concerning
her dissolution of marriage and interrelated issues about
child custody. She has previously filed four other cases and
should be well aware that this Court lacks jurisdiction over
this matter. See case numbers 4:17cv110-MW-CAS,
4:17cv111-WS-CAS, 4:17cv369-MW-CAS, and 4:18cv393-MW-CAS. The
result of this case must be the same as Plaintiff's prior
federal courts traditionally refrain “from exercising
authority over matters broadly described as ‘domestic
relations.'” U.S. v. Kegel, 916 F.Supp.
1233, 1235 (M.D. Fla., 1996) (citing Barber v.
Barber,  62 U.S. (21 How.) 582, 584, 16 L.Ed. 226
(1858); Simms v. Simms, 175 U.S. 162, 20 S.Ct. 58,
44 L.Ed. 115 (1898)). It has been well established for over
150 years that federal courts lack jurisdiction to hear cases
concerning divorce, alimony, or child custody cases.
Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 504 U.S. 689, 703, 112
S.Ct. 2206, 2215, 119 L.Ed.2d 468 (1992) (concluding
“that the domestic relations exception, as articulated
by this Court since Barber, divests the federal
courts of power to issue divorce, alimony, and child custody
decrees.”); see also Barber v. Barber, 62 U.S.
582, 584, 16 L.Ed. 226 (1858) (stating “[w]e disclaim
altogether any jurisdiction in the courts of the United
States upon the subject of divorce, or for the allowance of
alimony”). In re Burrus, 136 U.S. 586, 594, 10
S.Ct. 850, 853, 34 L.Ed. 500 (1890), was a child-custody
dispute in which a grandfather claimed he was illegally
imprisoned because the father was wrongfully given custody.
The Supreme Court held that “[t]he whole subject of the
domestic relations of husband and wife, parent and child,
belongs to the laws of the States and not to the laws of the
United States.” Burrus, 136 U.S. at 593-594.
Plaintiff's claims challenge state court proceedings
which have decided child custody and visitation disputes.
“As a matter of judicial economy, state courts are more
eminently suited to work of this type than are federal
courts, which lack the close association with state and local
government organizations dedicated to handling issues that
arise out of conflicts over divorce, alimony, and child
custody decrees.” Ankenbrandt, 504 U.S. at
704, 112 S.Ct. at 2215.
this Court lacks authority to modify, vacate, or overrule
orders entered by a state court judge. This Court does not
sit as an appellate court. The proper method to challenge an
order from state court is to file an appeal with the
appropriate Florida District Court of Appeal. Plaintiff is
well aware of that method because she has already done so.
Judicial notice is taken that Plaintiff has filed numerous
challenges to the decision of the state court. See Smith
v. Daniel, No. 1D19-2098, 2019 WL 2539364, at *1 (Fla.
1st DCA, June 20, 2019) (denying petition for writ of
mandamus); Smith v. Daniel, No. 18-8559, 2019 WL
1383652, at *1 (May 13, 2019) (U.S. Supreme Court denied
petition for writ of certiorari); Smith v.
Daniel, No. 1D19-1390, 2019 WL 1987269, at *1 (Fla. 1st
DCA, May 6, 2019) (denying Rule 60 motion and
“Emergency Time Sensitive Motion for Stay of Fraudulent
Order”); Smith v. Daniel, 266 So.3d 141 (Fla.
1st DCA 2019), reh'g denied (Mar. 18, 2019),
cert. denied, No. 18-8559, 2019 WL 1383652 (U.S. May 13,
2019). Having lost in her appeal, Plaintiff may not turn to
the federal courts to seek additional review. This Court
lacks jurisdiction to review final orders issued by state
Plaintiff has been advised previously, the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars federal district courts
from reviewing final decisions of a state court. Rooker
v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 44 S.Ct. 149, 68
L.Ed. 362 (1923); District of Columbia Court of Appeals
v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 103 S.Ct. 1303, 75 L.Ed.2d 206
(1983). The Rooker-Feldman doctrine is
jurisdictional, precluding a loser in state court from
challenging a judgement entered in state court, “based
on the losing party's claim that the state judgment
itself violates the loser's federal rights.”
Johnson v. De Grandy, 512 U.S. 997, 1005-06, 114
S.Ct. 2647, 2654, 129 L.Ed.2d 775 (1994) (quoted in Brown
v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 611 F.3d 1324, 1330 (11th
Cir. 2010)). That is precisely Plaintiff's claim in this
case. Because the Rooker-Feldman doctrine prohibits
this Court from overturning the decision of a state court
judge, Plaintiff's complaint must be dismissed and her
“emergency motion” denied.
to the degree Plaintiff requests that charges be brought
against the Defendants for violating federal law, this Court
cannot provide Plaintiff with relief. The federal statues
Plaintiff cited are under Title 18 and govern criminal
offenses for “interstate violation of protection order,
” 18 U.S.C. § 2262; “stalking, ” 18
U.S.C. § 2261A; “full faith and credit given to
protection orders, ” 18 U.S.C. § 2265, and
“unlawful acts” concerning firearms, 18 U.S.C.
§ 922. Plaintiff, however, is private citizen. It is
well established that private citizens do not have “a
judicially cognizable interest in the prosecution or
nonprosecution of another.” Diamond v.
Charles, 476 U.S. 54, 64, 106 S.Ct. 1697, 1704, 90
L.Ed.2d 48 (1986) (other citations omitted). Put simply, a
private citizen does not have the right to compel either a
state of the federal government to enforce its laws or
prosecute a crime. Diamond, 476 U.S. at 65, 106
S.Ct. at 1705; see also Otero v. U.S. Atty. Gen.,
832 F.2d 141, 141 (11th Cir. 1987) (dismissing petition for
writ of mandamus because private citizen cannot compel the
investigation and prosecution of another); Linda R.S. v.
Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 619, 93 S.Ct. 1146, 1149, 35
L.Ed.2d 536 (1973) (stating “that, in American
jurisprudence at least, a private citizen lacks a judicially
cognizable interest in the prosecution or nonprosecution of
another.”). Thus, Plaintiff's requests for relief
cannot be granted.
it is ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion
requesting leave to proceed in forma ...