United States District Court, D. Delaware
of Common Pleas of the State of Delaware in and for Sussex
County Criminal ID No. 1712000659
K. Trammell, III, Seaford, Delaware. Pro Se Defendant.
ANDREWS, U.S. District Judge
K. Trammell, III, filed a notice of removal on April 3, 2018,
of State of Delaware v. Trammell, Criminal ID No.
1712000659. (D.I. 2). Trammell appears pro se and
has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
(D.I. 5). At the time he filed the notice of removal,
Trammell also filed a motion for my recusal. (D.I. 4). For
the reasons discussed below, I will deny the motion for
recusal and will summarily remand the case to the Court of
Common Pleas of the State of Delaware in and for Sussex
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
removed this case pursuant to removal statutes 28 U.S.C.
§§1443(1), 1446(d), and 1447(d). His removal is
based upon "known, documented, past, indelible
'corrupt, depraved, 'seditious, culpable, prohibited
- insurrection, of the State of Delaware Sussex County,
inferior; de facto, court's.'" (D.I. 2 at
pp.1-2) (capitalization modified; punctuation as in
original). Trammell states that he cannot receive a fair
trial in the Court of Common Pleas. He states that as of
March 29, 2018, a "seditious petition for property deed
has been unlawfully proposed to be unlawfully illegally
deeded to an additional to be criminal co-defendant, the
unindicted Mr. William H. Claus, IV, a/k/a William H. Claus
4th." (Id. at pp.3-4) (punctuation,
capitalization, and spelling modified). Finally, Trammell
states that the State of Delaware Division of Child Support
Enforcement unlawfully suspended his driver's license and
is garnishing money from him on a monthly basis.
(Id. at p. 5). Trammel removed this matter to
prevent manifest injustice. (Id.). He has also filed
a motion to forbid me from presiding over the case, alleging
wrongful bias due to my prior employment with the State of
Delaware. (D.I. 4).
is required to recuse himself "in any proceeding in
which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned."
28 U.S.C. § 455(a). The test for recusal under §
455(a) is whether a "reasonable person, with knowledge
of all the facts, would conclude that the judge's
impartiality might reasonably be questioned, " In re
Kensington Int'l Ltd., 368 F.3d 289, 301 (3d Cir.
2004), not "whether a judge actually harbors bias
against a party, " United States v. Kennedy,
682 F.3d 244, 258 (3d Cir. 2012). Under § 455(b)(1), a
judge is required to recuse himself "[w]here he has a
personal bias or prejudice concerning a party." Under
either subsection, the bias necessary to require recusal
generally "must stem from a source outside of the
official proceedings." Liteky v. United States,
510 U.S. 540, 554 (1994); Selkridge v. United of Omaha
Life Ins. Co., 360 F.3d 155, 167 (3d Cir. 2004) (beliefs
or opinions which merit recusal must involve an extrajudicial
factor). Hence, "judicial rulings alone almost never
constitute a valid basis for a bias or partiality
motion." Liteky, 510 U.S. at 555.
should further recuse himself under § 455(b)(3) if
"he has served in governmental employment and in such
capacity participated as counsel. . . concerning the
proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of
the particular case in controversy." With regard to
former prosecutors, the Third Circuit holds that "absent
a specific showing that the judge was previously involved
with a case while in the [prosecutor's] office that he or
she is later assigned to preside over as a judge, §
455(b)(3) does not mandate recusal." United States
v. Vazquez, 193 Fed.Appx. 168, 169 (3d Cir. 2006)
(internal citations omitted).
has not alleged any basis of objective, extra-judicial bias.
Instead, Plaintiff alleges apparent dissatisfaction with this
Court's prior orders and a belief that I am biased
because of my former position with the State of Delaware. A
party's displeasure with legal rulings does not form an
adequate basis for recusal. See, e.g., Securacomm
Consulting, Inc. v. Securacom Inc., 224 F.3d 273, 278
(3d Cir. 2000). In addition, while I served as Delaware's
State Prosecutor from 2007 through November, 2011, my
position did not involve the instant litigation, which, based
on its case number, is a criminal filing initiated in 2017. I
have no difficulty providing Trammell with the same fair
process that is given any party who comes before me.
reasonable, well-informed observer could not believe that my
rulings in Trammell's cases were, or will be, based on
impartiality, bias, or actual prejudice. Nor do my rulings in
Trammell's other cases demonstrate the Court acting in
such a manner. After careful and deliberate consideration, I
have concluded that I have no actual bias or prejudice
towards Trammell and that a reasonable, well-informed
observer would not question the Court's impartiality. In
light of the foregoing standard, and after considering
Trammell's assertions, the undersigned concludes that
there are no grounds for recusal under 28 U.S.C. § 455.
order for a case to be removable to the district court, the
Court must have original jurisdiction by either a federal
question or diversity of citizenship. See 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331, 1332, 1441. "Only state-court actions
that originally could have been filed in federal court may be
removed to federal court by the defendant." Kline v.
Security Guards, Inc., 386 F.3d 246, 252 (3d Cir. 2004)
(quoting Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386,
will remand a removed case "if at any time before final
judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction." 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). The
party seeking removal bears the burden to establish federal
jurisdiction. Steel Valley Auth. v. Union Switch &
Signal Div. Am. Standard, Inc.,809 F.2d 1006, 1010 (3d
Cir. 1987); Zoren v. Genesis Energy, LP., 195
F.Supp.2d 598, 602 (D. Del. 2002). In determining whether
remand based on improper removal is appropriate, the court
"must focus on the plaintiff's complaint at the time
the petition for removal was filed, " and assume all
factual allegations therein are true. Steel Valley
Auth., 809 F.2d at 1010. Upon a determination that a
federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the District