United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Crow U.S. Senior District Judge.
matter is a civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Plaintiff, a pretrial detainee held at the
Saline County Jail, proceeds pro se. His fee status is
of the Complaint
names as defendants three deputy sheriffs and an investigator
employed by the Saline County Sheriff's Office. He
alleges that on February 22, 2019, his vehicle was stopped by
defendants Cox, Hamilton, and Heinrich, who searched the
vehicle without a warrant, and searched and seized two
backpacks, a handbag, two laptops, and a phone. He claims the
personal property then was taken to the sheriff's office,
where it again was searched by defendant Hoesli. He claims
that only then was a warrant issued. Plaintiff alleges the
search and seizure was unlawful and violated the Fourth
Amendment. He seeks monetary damages.
federal court must conduct a preliminary review of any case
in which a prisoner seeks relief against a governmental
entity or an officer or employee of such an entity.
See 28 U.S.C. §1915A(a). Following this review,
the court must dismiss any portion of the complaint that is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary damages from a
defendant who is immune from that relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
screening, a court liberally construes pleadings filed by a
party proceeding pro se and applies “less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 45 (1971), a federal
court must abstain from hearing a case when three elements
are met: (1) there is an ongoing state judicial proceeding;
(2) important state interests are involved; and (3) the state
proceedings provide an adequate opportunity to litigate the
federal constitutional issues. See Buck v. Myers,
244 Fed.Appx. 193, 197 (10th Cir.
2007)(unpublished)(citing Winnebago Tribe of Neb. v.
Stovall, 341 F.3d 1202, 1204 (10th Cir.
these elements are met, “Younger abstention is
non-discretionary and, absent extraordinary circumstances, a
district court is required to abstain.” Crown Point
I, LLC v. Intermountain Rural Elec. Ass'n, 319 F.3d
1211, 1215 (10th Cir. 2003)(citing
Seneca-Cayuga Tribe v. Okla., 874 F.2d 709, 711
(10th Cir. 1989).
there are ongoing state judicial proceedings, and significant
state interests are involved, as Kansas has an important
interest in the enforcement of its criminal laws. In re
Troff, 488 F.3d 1237, 1240 (10th Cir.
2007)(“[S]tate control over criminal justice [is] a
lynchpin in the unique balance of interests” described
as “Our Federalism.”)(citing Younger,
401 U.S. at 44). The third condition also is satisfied here,
because the Kansas courts provide plaintiff with an adequate
forum to present his claims of unlawful search and seizure.
See Capps v. Sullivan, 13 F.3d 350, 354 n. 2
(10th Cir. 1993)(“[F]ederal courts should
abstain from the exercise of … jurisdiction if the
issues raised … may be resolved either by trial on the
merits in the state court or by other [available] state
procedures.”)(quotation omitted); see also Robb v.
Connolly, 111 U.S. 624, 637 (1984)(“state courts
have obligation ‘to guard, enforce, and protect every
right granted or secured by the constitution of the United
case, plaintiff seeks only monetary damages, relief which he
cannot obtain in the state criminal actions. However, the
Tenth Circuit has held that “the Younger
doctrine extends to federal claims for monetary relief when a
judgment for the plaintiff would have preclusive effects on a
pending state-court proceeding.” D.L. v. Unified
School District No. 497, 392 F.3d 1223, 1228
(10th Cir. 2004). Here, a finding in this matter
that plaintiff is entitled to relief based upon an illegal
search and seizure would have such an effect on the state
court proceedings, as the evidence gathered during the search
could be precluded. The Tenth Circuit explained in
D.L. that where the federal claim seeks only
damages, “[t]he rationale for Younger
abstention can be satisfied … by just staying
proceedings on the federal damages claim until the state
proceeding is final.” D.L., id. Accordingly,
the Court will enter a stay in this matter.
THEREFORE, BY THE COURT ORDERED that this matter is stayed
pending the resolution of the criminal actions pending
against the plaintiff.
FURTHER ORDERED plaintiff shall provide the Court with a
status report on the state criminal ...