United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
LUKE REED, JR. PLAINTIFF
PELICIA HALL AND JUDGE WEILL DEFENDANTS
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
R. ANDERSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
undersigned Magistrate Judge entered an Order  granting
Plaintiff Luke Reed, Jr., in forma pauperis status
to file his Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1');">1983. Reed
had been a prisoner in custody of the Mississippi Department
of Corrections [MDOC] but was released on December 23, 201');">17.
He was initially sentenced by Judge Weill to 25 years and
then appealed his conviction and sentence. According to Reed,
the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed his conviction and
granted him a new trial. He was thereafter sentenced to only
five years. By the time he was re-sentenced, Reed contends
that he had served the “full five years and a month 20
days on a nonmandatory charge.” [sic]. Complaint [1');">1],
p. 5. As relief, Reed seeks $2000 a day “for every day
they held me over my sentence which was not a mandatory
sentence, I should have been out of prison at least 2 years
named Commissioner Hall, who held him in MDOC custody over
five years and Judge Weill who “convicted [him]
wrong.” Complaint [1');">1], p. 4. By Order  entered May
3, 201');">18, he was allowed to proceed with his Complaint as to
the MDOC Commissioner Pelicia Hall . Plaintiff also named
as a Defendant Judge Jeff Weill, the Hinds County Circuit
Judge who sentenced him to 25 years.
undersigned recommends that Judge Weill be dismissed from
this case because he is entitled to absolute judicial
immunity under the circumstances described by Reed. Absolute
immunity is immunity from suit rather than simply a defense
against liability, and is a threshold question to be resolved
as early in the proceedings as possible. Hulsey v.
Owens, 63 F.3d 654, 356 (5th Cir. 1');">1995) (quoting
Boyd v. Biggers, 1');">1 F.3d 279');">31');">1 F.3d 279, 284 (5th Cir. 1');">1994)).
Judge Weill, as Circuit Court Judge for Hinds County, enjoys
absolute immunity from damages when performing acts within
his judicial capacity. See Boyd v. Biggers, 31');">1 F.3d
279, 284 (5th Cir. 1');">1994). Claims of bad faith, malice, and
corruption do not overcome absolute judicial immunity.
See Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 1');">11');">1 (1');">1991');">1)(citations
omitted). Nor will a judge be deprived of immunity because
the action he took was in error or in excess of his
authority. See Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356
immunity can be overcome only by showing that the actions
complained of were non-judicial in nature, or by showing that
the actions were taken in the clear absence of all
jurisdiction. Mireles, 502 U.S. at 1');">11');">1;
Stump, 435 U.S. at 356-57. In determining whether a
judge acted within the scope of his judicial capacity, the
court considers four factors: (1');">1) whether the precise act
complained of is a normal judicial function; (2) whether the
acts occurred in the courtroom or appropriate adjunct spaces
such as the judges chambers; (3) whether the controversy
centered around a case pending before the court; and (4)
whether the acts arose directly out of a visit to the judge
in his official capacity. Ballard v. Wall, 41');">13 F.3d
51');">10, 51');">15 (5th Cir. 2005) (citing Malina v. Gonzales,
1');">11');">121');">1');">994 F.2d 1');">11');">121');">1, 1');">11');">124 (5th Cir. 1');">1993)).
the four Ballard factors to Reed's allegations,
it is clear that the actions of Judge Weill were judicial in
nature. Id. at 51');">17. He simply presided over
Reed's trial and sentenced him within the law after the
conviction. There are no allegations of misconduct. All of
Judge Weill's “conduct” occurred in the
courtroom in his role as the circuit judge. Likewise, there
are no claims that Judge Weill lacked jurisdiction to preside
over criminal proceedings in the Circuit Court for Hinds
County. See Miss. Code Ann. § 9-7-81');">1 (circuit
court has original jurisdiction over state felony
prosecutions). Judge Weill is entitled to absolute immunity
from the claims asserted in this case.
these reasons, it is the opinion of the undersigned that the
Complaint filed by Plaintiff should be dismissed with
prejudice as to Circuit Judge Jeff Weill under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1');">191');">15(e)(2)(iii) (case should be dismissed at any time
if the court determines that the complaint seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief).
parties are hereby notified that failure to file written
objections to the proposed findings, conclusions, and
recommendations contained within this report and
recommendation within fourteen (1');">14) days after being served
with a copy shall bar that party, except upon grounds of
plain error, from attacking on appeal the unobjected-to
proposed factual findings and legal conclusions accepted by
the District Court. 28 U.S.C. § 636; ...