180 F.3d 866 (7th Cir. 1999), 98-3156, Crenshaw v. Baynerd

Docket Nº:98-3156
Citation:180 F.3d 866
Opinion Judge:Kanne, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:ZENA D. CRENSHAW, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. BERRY BAYNERD, ALPHA BLACKBURN, DAVID A. CARTER, et al., Defendants-Appellees
Attorney:ZENA D. CRENSHAW, Plaintiff - Appellant, Pro se, Gary, IN USA. For BERRY BAYNERD, ALPHA BLACKBURN, DAVID A. CARTER, JOHN E. GARCIA, ALVIN PIERCE, Defendants - Appellees: Wayne E. Uhl, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Indianapolis, IN USA.
Judge Panel:Before ESCHBACH, KANNE, EVANS, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:June 14, 1999
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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Page 866

180 F.3d 866 (7th Cir. 1999)

ZENA D. CRENSHAW, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

BERRY BAYNERD, ALPHA BLACKBURN, DAVID A. CARTER, et al., Defendants-Appellees

No. 98-3156

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

June 14, 1999

Argued March 3, 1999

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. 98 C 569. David F. Hamilton, Judge.

ZENA D. CRENSHAW, Plaintiff - Appellant, Pro se, Gary, IN USA.

For BERRY BAYNERD, ALPHA BLACKBURN, DAVID A. CARTER, JOHN E. GARCIA, ALVIN PIERCE, Defendants - Appellees: Wayne E. Uhl, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Indianapolis, IN USA.

Before ESCHBACH, KANNE, EVANS, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 867

Kanne, Circuit Judge.

Zena D. Crenshaw, an attorney licensed in Indiana, sued the seven members of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that they violated her due process rights when they dismissed her charge of race and sex discrimination filed against an Indiana state judge who had sanctioned her in another case. The district court, finding the defendants immune from suit, dismissed her complaint, and Crenshaw appeals. We affirm.

I.

In 1997, Indiana Superior Court Judge Jeffrey J. Dywan sanctioned Crenshaw more than $ 14,000 for arguing frivolous claims in her capacity as plaintiffs' counsel in a civil case before him. Alleging that Judge Dywan's sanction stemmed from discrimination against her because she was African-American and a woman, Crenshaw filed a charge against him with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (" ICRC" ). The ICRC is a body authorized by state statute to receive and investigate complaints alleging discriminatory practices. See Ind. Code § 22-9-1-6(e) (1998). The ICRC dismissed the charge. The Commission found that Crenshaw sought to dispute a Superior Court ruling, and that the ICRC lacked authority to overrule a decision of the Superior Court. Crenshaw appealed the dismissal to the full Commission, which upheld the finding and dismissed her charge.

Crenshaw then brought this lawsuit under § 1983 against the seven Commissioners of the ICRC in their personal capacities. She alleged that since her charge against Judge Dywan met the statutory requirements of form and content, the ICRC was obligated to investigate it. Crenshaw alleged that in choosing not to investigate, the Commissioners participated in " a scheme to cover-up allegations of impropriety associated with the state courts of Indiana." Further, she alleged that because they dismissed her...

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