London, KY asked in Appeals / Appellate Law, Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for Kentucky

Q: Kentucky. Can the federal district court review actions by a KY court clerk and judge? Not the case issue, the procedure

Court records prove the clerk received my complaint with IFP fee waiver 7 days before the deadline. The filing was delivered to the judge who held it 4 days past deadline then granted IFP and dismissed it for being filed late. He opined it was my responsibility to ensure it was filed on time. On notice of appeal the judge denied the IFP based on his personal opinion of the case, not on financial reasons. I never received that judgment and only found out after calling the clerk. So, can the federal district court review the actions of the clerk and judge as a civil rights violation? If so, can the court remand? What can I ask for?

2 Lawyer Answers
Timothy Denison
Timothy Denison
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Louisville, KY
  • Licensed in Kentucky

A: You can certainly ask them to review it, yes. Whether they do or not is within their discretion.

John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Appeals & Appellate Lawyer
  • Frisco, TX

A: Under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, the federal court will most likely dismiss such a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Under that doctrine, you need to appeal the state court claim through the state court system and then to the United States Supreme Court. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1257, federal authority to review a state court judgment lies exclusively with the United States Supreme Court. A party losing in state court is barred from seeking what in substance would be appellate review of the state court judgment in a United States district court based on the losing party's claim that the state court proceedings and judgment violated the loser's federal rights. Congress did not give federal district court's that jurisdiction and instead reserved that jurisdiction exclusively to the Supreme Court.

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