United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Dennis-Craig Woolsey, pro se plaintiff.
H. Mendez, for defendants Benton County, Philip Miller, Cory
Eisenschenk, and Sheriff Troy Heck.
Stephen D. Melchionne, Assistant Attorney General, for
defendants Judge Robert Raupp and Linda Vang.
S. Mayers and Timothy R. Reuter, for defendant Joseph Mayers.
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Dennis-Craig Woolsey filed this action seeking damages and
injunctive relief related to his state criminal prosecution
for driving with a suspended driver's license. On October
18, 2017, Magistrate Judge Leo I. Brisbois issued a Report
and Recommendation (“R&R”) recommending that
the case be dismissed without prejudice. After an independent
review of the files, records, and proceedings, the Court will
dismiss the case without prejudice pursuant to the
Younger abstention doctrine.
December 8, 2016, Woolsey received a citation for driving
with a suspended driver's license in Benton County.
(Compl. ¶ 7, May 12, 2017, Docket 1.) Prosecution of the
criminal case was subsequently transferred from Benton County
Attorney's Office to the Sauk Rapids City Attorney's
Office. (See Id. ¶ 8.) After a bench trial on
June 15, 2017, Woolsey was convicted of driving with a
suspended license in violation of Minn. Stat. § 171.24,
subd. 1. The state court entered judgment on the
conviction on June 30, 2017. Woolsey did not file a direct
appeal, claiming that he would only have been denied an
impartial jury twice.
12, 2017, while his state prosecution was still ongoing,
Woolsey filed this action, alleging that the state criminal
prosecution resulted in a “constructed
incarceration” that infringes on his right to travel.
(Compl. ¶ 27.) He seeks an “Order for Right to
Travel, ” an “Order to Vacate Fraudulent
Suspended License, ” and $37, 227.07 in damages.
(Id. ¶¶ 27-29.) At the hearing before the
Magistrate Judge, Woolsey also requested that the Court
vacate his state criminal conviction.
named the following defendants in his complaint
(collectively, “Defendants”): (1) Benton County
Attorney Philip Miller; (2) Benton County Sheriff's
Deputy Cory Eisenschenk; (3) Minnesota State District Court
Judge Robert Raupp; (4) Benton County Sheriff Troy Heck; (5)
Sauk Rapids City Attorney Joseph Sylvan Mayers; (6) Minnesota
Department of Public Safety employee Linda Vang; and (7)
Benton County. (Compl. at 1-3.) Mayers filed an answer to the
Complaint. (Answer, June 7, 2017, Docket 17.) The remaining
Defendants filed motions to dismiss. (County Defs.' Mot.
to Dismiss, June 15, 2017, Docket 19; State Defs.' Mot.
to Dismiss, July 5, 2017, Docket 44.)
Magistrate Judge recommended that, because Woolsey seeks to
enjoin a state criminal prosecution that was ongoing at the
time he filed his Complaint, the Court must dismiss the
action as to all defendants under Younger v. Harris,
401 U.S. 37 (1971). (R&R at 9-10, Oct. 18, 2017, Docket
71.) Woolsey filed objections to the Magistrate Judge's
R&R. (Objs., Oct. 31, 2017, Docket 72.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
the filing of an R&R by a Magistrate Judge, “a
party may serve and file specific written objections to the
proposed findings and recommendations.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b)(2); accord D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(1). “The
district judge must determine de novo any part of
the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly
objected to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); accord D.
Minn. LR 72.2(b)(3). ...