United States District Court, D. Nebraska
April 20, 2015
SAMAR AKINS, Petitioner,
STATE OF NEBRASKA, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD G. KOPF, Senior District Judge.
Petitioner Samar Akins ("Petitioner") filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Filing No. 1) in this court on November 4, 2014. His grounds for relief are (1) a state trial judge demonstrated bias toward him when she awarded sole custody of his children to their mother, (2) the judge violated his rights under the Equal Protection Clause when she awarded sole custody of his children to their mother, and (3) the judge's custody and child support orders were "erroneous." (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF pp. 5-10.)
Petitioner seeks orders reversing the trial judge's decisions in the state-court custody proceedings. The court cannot grant such relief in a habeas corpus action. Neither Petitioner nor his children are in the custody of the State of Nebraska in violation of federal law. Indeed, Plaintiff merely seeks to relitigate, through habeas corpus, the state district court's custody and child support orders. Federal habeas corpus statutes do not confer federal court jurisdiction over challenges to state-court child custody proceedings. See Lehman v. Lycoming Cnty. Children's Services Agency, 458 U.S. 502, 515-16 (1982); Amerson v. State of Iowa, Dep't of Human Servs., 59 F.3d 92 (8th Cir. 1995) (affirming the district court's determination that no habeas jurisdiction exists to collaterally attack a state court child custody determination).
Even if the court were to construe the petition as asserting a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a federal district court lacks jurisdiction to hear an action that, in essence, seeks to reverse a state court's child custody determination because the Rooker-Feldman doctrine prohibits lower federal courts from exercising appellate review of state court judgments. Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 416 (1923); District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 482 (1983).
IT IS ORDERED that:
1. The Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Filing No. 1) is dismissed without prejudice.
2. The Motion to Stay District Court Order and Stay Suspension (Filing No. 7) is denied as moot.
3. The court will enter a separate judgment in accordance with this order.
*This opinion may contain hyperlinks to other documents or Web sites. The U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska does not endorse, recommend, approve, or guarantee any third parties or the services or products they provide on their Web sites. Likewise, the court has no agreements with any of these third parties or their Web sites. The court accepts no responsibility for the availability or functionality of any hyperlink. Thus, the fact that a hyperlink ceases to work or directs the user to some other site does not affect the opinion of the court.