[9:29:38 PM] Kookoa: IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF HAWAII
ALFRED NAPAHUELUA SPINNEY,
STATE OF HAWAII,
DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN
SERVICES, et al.,
CIV. NO. 11-00702 JMS/RLP
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT
On November 18, 2011, Plaintiff Alfred Napahuelua Spinney, as
“Kanaka-Hawaiian subject and Prime Minister for the government of the Kingdom
of the Hawaiian Islands,” (“Plaintiff”) filed a “Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 for
a Petition of Writ of Habeas Corpus” seeking the release of three minor children
from the State of Hawaii, Catholic Charities Hawaii, and various individuals
(“Defendants”). Plaintiff asserts that these three minors were unlawfully removed
under the pretense that they needed protection from their father, David Kaawa IV.
Plaintiff asserts that Defendants are “engaging in a conspiracy to alienate the 
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children from their father, their family, the country of their birth, their culture and
their ethnicity,” which constitutes “GENOCIDE against the Hawaiian people
. . . .”
Although titled as a Writ of Habeas Corpus, neither Plaintiff nor any
of the minor children he seeks release of are “in custody” such that 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 does not apply. See Cucalon v. Rice, 317 Fed. Appx. 602, 603 (9th Cir.
2008) (“We lack habeas corpus jurisdiction because [the mother] and her children
are not ‘in custody’ as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2241.”). In any event, upon sua
sponte review, the court DISMISSES the Complaint without leave to amend.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the court liberally construes his
pleadings. See Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987) (“The
Supreme Court has instructed the federal courts to liberally construe the ‘inartful
pleading’ of pro se litigants.”) (citing Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365
(1982) (per curiam)). The court also recognizes that “[u]nless it is absolutely clear
that no amendment can cure the defect . . . a pro se litigant is entitled to notice of
the complaint’s deficiencies and an opportunity to amend prior to dismissal of the
action.” Lucas v. Dep’t of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995).
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Nevertheless, the court may dismiss a complaint pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on its own motion. See Omar v. Sea-Land Serv.,
Inc., 813 F.2d 986, 991 (9th Cir. 1987) (“A trial court may dismiss a claim sua
sponte under [Rule] 12(b)(6). Such a dismissal may be made without notice where
the claimant cannot possibly win relief.”); Ricotta v. California, 4 F. Supp. 2d 961,
968 n.7 (S.D. Cal. 1998) (“The Court can dismiss a claim sua sponte for a
Defendant who has not filed a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).”).
Additionally, a complaint that is “obviously frivolous” does not confer federal
subject matter jurisdiction and may be dismissed sua sponte. Franklin v. Murphy,
745 F.2d 1221, 1227 n.6 (9th Cir. 1984); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3); Grupo
Dataflux v. Atlas Global Grp., L.P., 541 U.S. 567, 593 (2004) (“[I]t is the
obligation of both district court and counsel to be alert to jurisdictional
“To survive a motion to dismiss [pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)], a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949
(2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see
also Weber v. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, 521 F.3d 1061, 1065 (9th Cir. 2008). This
tenet — that the court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in the
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complaint — “is inapplicable to legal conclusions.” Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949.
Accordingly, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported
by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555). Rather, “[a] claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
Factual allegations that only permit the court to infer “the mere possibility of
misconduct” do not show that the pleader is entitled to relief as required by Rule 8.
Id. at 1950.
The court may also dismiss a complaint sua sponte for failure to
comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. Rule 8 mandates that a complaint
include a “short and plain statement of the claim,” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), and that
“each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(d)(1). A
complaint that is so confusing that its “‘true substance, if any, is well disguised’”
does not satisfy Rule 8. Hearns v. San Bernardino Police Dep’t, 530 F.3d 1124,
1131 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Gillibeau v. City of Richmond, 417 F.2d 426, 431
(9th Cir. 1969)); see also McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1180 (9th Cir. 1996)
(“Something labeled a complaint but written . . . prolix in evidentiary detail, yet
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without simplicity, conciseness and clarity as to whom plaintiffs are suing for what
wrongs, fails to perform the essential functions of a complaint.”).
Put differently, a district court may dismiss a complaint for failure to
comply with Rule 8 where the complaint fails to provide defendants with fair
notice of the wrongs they have allegedly committed. See McHenry, 84 F.3d at
1178-80 (affirming dismissal of complaint where “one cannot determine from the
complaint who is being sued, for what relief, and on what theory, with enough
detail to guide discovery”); cf. Mendiondo v. Centinela Hosp. Med. Ctr., 521 F.3d
1097, 1105 n.4 (9th Cir. 2008) (finding dismissal under Rule 8 was in error where
“the complaint provide[d] fair notice of the wrongs allegedly committed by
defendants and [did] not qualify as overly verbose, confusing, or rambling”). Rule
8 requires more than “the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation[s]” and “[a]
pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do.” Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (citations and
quotations omitted). “The propriety of dismissal for failure to comply with Rule 8
does not depend on whether the complaint is wholly without merit.” McHenry, 84
F.3d at 1179.
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Plaintiff, as Prime Minister of the “Kingdom of Hawaii,” seeks release
of three minor children that were apparently taken from the custody of their father
and are allegedly being detained unlawfully by Defendants. Plaintiff asserts that
these children are citizens of the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands, and that their
removal constitutes genocide as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 1091(6).
First, the court rejects out of hand Plaintiff’s assertions suggesting that
the “Kingdom of Hawaii” is a separate legal entity from the United State, and that
the State of Hawaii commits “genocide” by taking children into protective services.
There is no legally cognizable Kingdom of Hawaii; the State of Hawaii is a part of
the United States; and Hawaii state custody of children is not “genocide.”
Second, this court appears to lack jurisdiction over the Complaint —
both Plaintiff and Defendants appear to be citizens of the State of Hawaii and no
federal question appears to be presented.
Third, even if Plaintiff presents a Constitutional claim, it fails. After
stripping away the nonsensical allegations from the Complaint, the court is left
with the basic allegations that Defendants took three minor children into custody in
violation of David Kaawa IV’s parental rights. Although Plaintiff did not provide
any details regarding precisely how David Kaawa IV’s parental rights were
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allegedly violated (or why Plaintiff has standing to object to any violation of
Kaawa’s rights), the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over such
issues — the court may not issue child custody decrees, see Ankenbrandt v.
Richards, 504 U.S. 689, 703 (1992) (holding that the domestic relations exception
to federal subject matter jurisdiction “divests the federal courts of power to issue
divorce, alimony and child custody decrees”); nor may it may review state court
child custody proceedings. See Hanson v. Firmat, 272 Fed. Appx. 571, 572 (9th
Cir. 2008) (affirming dismissal of claims asserting due process violations in child
custody proceedings due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on the Rooker-
Feldman doctrine); Watkins v. Proulx, 235 Fed. Appx. 678, 679 (9th Cir. 2007)
(“The district court properly concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction
pursuant to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine because Watkins’ action amounted to a
de facto appeal of a state court child custody order.” (citing Exxon Mobil Corp. v.
Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005) (Rooker-Feldman bars
“state-court losers complaining of injuries caused by state-court judgments
rendered before the district court proceedings commenced” from asking district
courts to review and reject those judgments.)).
The court therefore DISMISSES Plaintiff’s Complaint. Because any
amendment would be futile, this dismissal is without leave to amend.
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For the reasons stated above, the court DISMISSES the Complaint.
The Clerk of Court is directed to close the case file.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: Honolulu, Hawaii, November 28, 2011.
/_s_/ _J_. _M_i_c_h_a_e_l _S_e_a_b_ri_g_h_t__________
J. Michael Seabright
United States District Judge
Spinney v. State of Hawaii et al., Civ. No. 11-00702 JMS/RLP; Order Dismissing Complaint
Case 1:11-cv-00702-JMS-RLP Document 4 Filed 11/28/11 Page 8 of 8 PageID #: 26
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