United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
ANDRE A. WASHINGTON, Plaintiff,
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, et al., Defendants.
A. Washington, proceeding pro se, attempts to remove
his state criminal prosecution to this Court. For the reasons
that follow, the request will be denied and the matter will
be remanded to state court.
the Court can discern from his rambling and nonsensical
submissions, it appears that at some point in 2018,
Washington was charged in the Circuit Court for the City of
Petersburg with discharging a firearm, malicious wounding,
and possession of a controlled substance. (See ECF
No. 1-7, at 13.) On December 17, 2018, Washington filed a
"LEGAL NOTICE OF REMOVAL" wherein he attempts to
remove the above criminal proceedings to this Court. (ECF No.
1, at 1.)
REMOVAL OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS
of a criminal action is proper if a defendant meets the
substantive requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1443. That
Any of the following civil actions or criminal prosecutions,
commenced in a State court may be removed by the defendant to
the district court of the United States for the district and
division embracing the place wherein it is pending:
(1) Against any person who is denied or cannot enforce in the
courts of such State a right under any law providing for the
equal civil rights of citizens of the United States, or of
all persons within the jurisdiction thereof;
(2) For any act under color of authority derived from any law
providing for equal rights, or for refusing to do any act on
the ground that it would be inconsistent with such law.
28 U.S.C. § 1443. The Supreme Court has stated that
removal under 28 U.S.C. § 1443(2) "is available
only to state officers." Greenwood, Miss, v.
Peacock, 384 U.S. 808, 824 n.22 (1966). Thus, Washington
must demonstrate that removal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C.
"[p]rerequisite to a removal of a pending criminal
prosecution under 28 U.S.C.A. § 1443(1) is a showing
that the defendant is being denied rights guaranteed under a
federal law "providing for specific civil rights stated
in terms of racial equality.'" South Carolina v.
Moore, 447 F.2d 1067, 1070 (4th Cir. 1971) (quoting
Georgia v. Rachel, 384 U.S. 780, 792 (1966))
(internal footnote omitted). Nevertheless," "broad
contentions of deprivation of equal protection and due
process under the Fourteenth Amendment do not support removal
of claims under § 1443(1).'" Duqas v.
Hanover Cnty. Circuit Court, 3:08CV72, 2008 WL 4153765,
at *3 (E.D. Va. Sept. 5, 2008) (quoting New Mexico v.
Gutierrez, 409 F.Supp.2d 1346, 1349 (D.N.M. 2006).
It is not enough to support removal under § 1443(1) to
allege or show that the defendant's federal equal civil
rights have been illegally and corruptly denied by state
administrative officials in advance of trial, that the
charges against the defendant are false, or that the
defendant is unable to obtain a fair trial in a particular
state court. The motives of the officers bringing the charges
may be corrupt, but that does not show that the state trial
court will find the defendant guilty if he is innocent, or
that in any other manner the defendant will be 'denied or
cannot enforce in the courts' of the State any right
under a federal law providing for equal civil rights. . . .
Under § 1443(1), the vindication of the defendant's
federal rights is left to the state courts except in the
rare situations where it can be clearly predicted by reason
of the operation of a pervasive and explicit state or federal
law that those rights will inevitably be denied by the very
act of bringing the defendant to trial in the state
Id. (emphasis added) (citing cases); see South
Carolina v. Grace, 234 Fed.Appx. 103, 104 (4th Cir.
does not identify any law of general application from which
it can be clearly predicted that he would not be able to
enforce specified federal rights during his state
prosecution. Greenwood, 384 U.S. at 828.
Rather, Washington's arguments are based on the general
notion that due to his status as a "Moorish
American," the Commonwealth and the Circuit Court lack
jurisdiction to prosecute him criminally. These frivolous
arguments warrant no further discussion and are clearly not
sufficient to make '''an equally firm prediction
that [he] would be 'denied or cannot enforce' . . .
specified federal rights in the state court.'"
Johnson v. Mississippi 421 U.S. 213, 219 (1975)
(quoting Rachel, 384 U.S. at 804) . Moreover,
because Washington "has failed to allege that his
federal rights cannot be redressed at the appellate level in
the [Virginia] judicial system. Section 1443(1) has thus not
been satisfied." Delavigne v. Delavigne, 530
F.2d 598, 600 (4th Cir. 1976).