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Jakupovic v. Curran

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

March 10, 2017

Amir Jakupovic, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Mark C. Curran, Jr., et al., Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued February 8, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. l:16-cv-03636 - Sharon Johnson Coleman, Judge.

          Before Wood, Chief Judge, Flaum, Circuit Judge, and Conley, Chief District Judge. [*]

          FLAUM, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Amir Jakupovic was charged in Lake County, Illinois with telephone harassment. Before trial, the state court ordered that Jakupovic first be detained and then released on electronic surveillance. Jakupovic alleges that various state officials acted unlawfully in refusing to release him on electronic surveillance because he lacked a Lake County residence. The district court dismissed Jakupovic's claims with prejudice. We conclude the claims are jurisdictionally barred and vacate and remand with instructions to dismiss without prejudice.

         I. Background

         Jakupovic resided in Cook County Illinois. In September 2015, Jakupovic's then-girlfriend filed a domestic battery report against him in Cook County. Around the same time, the girlfriend's mother filed a telephone harassment report against Jakupovic in Lake County. On September 25, the State charged Jakupovic with telephone harassment in Lake County. The trial court released Jakupovic after his brother posted bond, and, on October 22, Jakupovic pled not guilty. The trial court ordered that Jakupovic undergo an Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment ("ODARA"), pursuant to 725 Ill.Comp.Stat. 5/110-5(f). On November 17, the trial court reviewed the ODARA report and ordered that Jakupovic first be taken into custody and then placed under pre-trial electronic surveillance.

         The Lake County Sheriff's Department did not release Jakupovic under electronic surveillance. As alleged, the department required pre-trial detainees to have a Lake County residence in order to be monitored electronically. Lacking such a residence, Jakupovic failed to meet this condition. The next day, on November 18, Jakupovic filed an emergency motion, arguing that the electronic monitoring condition on his bond could not be satisfied because he was not a resident of Lake County, and that, as a result, he could be subject to indefinite custody. The trial court denied Jakupovic's motion. It then refused to reconsider the order, concluding that having a Lake County residence for the purposes of electronic monitoring was one of the conditions of Jakupovic's bond and his inability to meet that condition was insufficient grounds for reconsideration. So the Lake County Sheriff's Department continued to detain Jakupovic. Shortly thereafter, Jakupovic filed a motion to modify his bond conditions. The trial court scheduled a hearing for November 25, but Jakupovic pled guilty on November 23. Jakupovic did not file any appeals in the state courts.

         In March 2016, Jakupovic sued Mark Curran (Lake County Sheriff and Director of the Lake County Jail), Terrence Barrett (the jail's Pretrial Unit Manager), Christine Hecker (Lake County's Principal Probation Officer), and Joseph Fusz (a Lake County Assistant State's Attorney) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Jakupovic alleged that his six-day detainment violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments and constituted false imprisonment under Illinois law. The district court granted defendants-appellees' motion to dismiss Jakupovic's complaint with prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). This appeal followed.

         II. Discussion

         We review a district court's grant of a motion to dismiss de novo. Volling v. Kurtz Paramedic Sews., Inc., 840 F.3d 378, 382 (7th Cir. 2016) (citation omitted). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). "To properly state a claim, a plaintiff's complaint must contain allegations that plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a speculative level." Kubiak v. City of Chi., 810 F.3d 476, 480 (7th Cir.), cert, denied sub nom. Kubiak v. City of Chi., Ill. 137 S.Ct. 491 (2016) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). "We accept as true all of the well-pleaded facts in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of [appellants]." Id. at 480-81 (citation omitted).

         "[W]e are required to consider subject-matter jurisdiction as the first question in every case, and we must dismiss this suit if such jurisdiction is lacking." Aljabri v. Holder, 745 F.3d 816, 818 (7th Cir. 2014) (citing III. v. City of Chi., 137 F.3d 474, 478 (7th Cir. 1998); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3)). We conclude that, under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, we have no jurisdiction here. See Rooker v. Fid. Tr. Co., 263 U.S. 413, 415-16 (1923); B.C. Cir. v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 486 (1983). Simply put:

Lower federal courts are not vested with appellate authority over state courts. The Rooker-Feldman doctrine prevents lower federal courts from exercising jurisdiction over cases brought by state court losers challenging state court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced. The rationale for the doctrine is that no matter how wrong a state court judgment may be under federal law, only the Supreme Court of the United States has jurisdiction to review it.

Sykes v. Cook Cty. Cir. Ct. Prob. Div., 837 F.3d 736, 741-42 (7th Cir. 2016) (citations omitted); see also Kelley v. Med-1 Sols., LLC,548 F.3d 600, 603 (7th Cir. 2008) ("A state litigant seeking review of a state court judgment must follow the appellate process through the state court system and then directly to the United States Supreme Court.") (citation omitted). The initial inquiry, then, "is whether the federal plaintiff seeks to set aside a state court judgment or whether he is, in fact, presenting an independent claim." Taylor v. Fed. Nat'l Mortg. Ass'n,374 F.3d 529, 532 (7th Cir. 2004) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). To make this determination, we ask ...


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