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GUARINO v. LARSEN

April 28, 1993

HON. ANGELO A. GUARINO, Senior Judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, plaintiff,
v.
HON. ROLF LARSEN, Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, et al. defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RAYMOND J. BRODERICK

 BRODERICK, J. April 28, 1993

 Before the Court is defendants' motion to suspend, pending appeal, the injunction ordered by this Court in its Order of April 16, 1993. For the reasons set forth below, this Court will deny defendants' motion.

 The facts of this case are set forth in detail in this Court's Memorandum of April 16, 1993, and will not be repeated herein, except as are pertinent to defendants' present motion.

 In this Court's Memorandum and Order of April 16, 1993, this Court declared that the constitutional rights of plaintiff Judge Guarino had been violated by the Order issued by defendant Mr. Justice Rolf Larsen on November 10, 1992 (hereinafter "Order of November 10th"), which Order was handed to Judge Guarino in the midst of a major felony trial and which ordered him to leave the bench without prior notice of any charges against him and without opportunity to respond to any such charges. In his Order of November 10th, Mr. Justice Larsen revoked Judge Guarino's assignment for the period of November 1 through November 30, 1992, as a senior judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, and further ordered that Judge Guarino was not authorized to complete unfinished business that was pending before him.

 In this Court's Order of April 16, 1993, this Court enjoined defendants to reinstate Judge Guarino to the status of senior judge which he had enjoyed pursuant to his assignment for the term of November 1 through November 30, 1992, and of which he was deprived in violation of his constitutional rights by Mr. Justice Larsen's Order of November 10th. This Court also enjoined defendants that they were not to deny approval of subsequent assignments of Judge Guarino as a senior judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania on the basis of allegations that Judge Guarino had violated the constitutional rights of venirepersons during the process of selecting a jury, unless and until such allegations against Judge Guarino were referred to the Judicial Inquiry and Review Board ("JIRB") pursuant to Article V, Section 18 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, and the recommendation of the JIRB had been received and evaluated de novo by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. This Court also ordered that defendants must pay all reasonable attorney's fees of Judge Guarino in this action.

 Defendants have filed their motion to suspend, pending appeal, the injunction issued by this Court in its Order of April 16, 1993, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 62(c). Rule 62(c) states:

 
(c) Injunction Pending Appeal. When an appeal is taken from an interlocutory or final judgment granting, dissolving, or denying an injunction, the court in its discretion may suspend, modify, restore, or grant an injunction during the pendency of the appeal upon such terms as to bond or otherwise as it considers proper for the security of the rights of the adverse party.

 * * *

 As stated by the United States Supreme Court in Hilton v. Braunskill, 481 U.S. 770, 776, 107 S. Ct. 2113, 2119, 95 L. Ed. 2d 724 (1987), the factors regulating a stay are:

 
(1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the public interest lies.

 The Supreme Court further stated that the traditional stay factors "contemplate individualized judgments in each case." Id. at 777, 107 S. Ct. 2119 .

 After careful consideration of each of the factors delineated in Hilton, this Court determines that the defendants have not carried their burden of showing that a stay is warranted. This Court will therefore deny defendants' motion.

 FACTOR ONE: DEFENDANTS' LIKELIHOOD OF SUCCESS ON THE MERITS

 a. The Rooker-Feldman Doctrine

 In support of defendants' assertion that, on appeal, they are likely to succeed on the merits, defendants claim that jurisdiction over this matter by this Court is barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. This Court, in its Memorandum of April 16, 1993, at 21-27, discussed in detail the application of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine to this case, and determined that Mr. Justice Larsen's Order of November 10th removing Judge Guarino from the bench was an administrative, non-adjudicative act. As the Third Circuit stated in Blake v. Papadakos, 953 F.2d 68, 71 (3rd Cir. 1992), the Rooker-Feldman doctrine does not bar a federal district court from reviewing an administrative decision of a state's highest court to determine constitutional issues. Jurisdiction, therefore, is not barred in this case.

 In support of their assertion, defendants cite Blake. Defendants, however, ignore the distinction drawn by the Third Circuit in Blake, 953 F.2d at 72, between administrative and adjudicatory acts. Further, defendants ignore Judge Garth's concluding statement in Blake :


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