Juan Carlos Velasquez Andres v. Judge Janice Brustares Keyser

Case: 18-13907 Date Filed: 06/14/2019 Page: 1 of 10 [DO NOT PUBLISH] IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT ________________________ No. 18-13907 Non-Argument Calendar ________________________ D.C. Docket No. 9:18-cv-80395-DMM JUAN CARLOS VELASQUEZ ANDRES, Plaintiff – Appellant, versus JUDGE JANICE BRUSTARES KEYSER, Defendant – Appellee. ________________________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida ________________________ (June 14, 2019) Case: 18-13907 Date Filed: 06/14/2019 Page: 2 of 10 Before MARTIN, JILL PRYOR, and ANDERSON, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM: Juan Carlos Velasquez Andres appeals the dismissal of his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint against Judge Janice Brustares Keyser, the state court judge who presided over a child custody matter concerning his then-minor child. Velasquez Andres alleged Judge Keyser violated his and his child’s federal statutory and constitutional rights by refusing to include findings in her custody order that are necessary for the child to pursue special immigrant juvenile status under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(27)(J). The district court dismissed. After careful review, we affirm. I. In November 2017, Velasquez Andres filed a petition in the Circuit Court for Palm Beach County, Florida to determine paternity of a minor child. The child’s mother was listed as the respondent. To assist with resolution of the case, the parties jointly submitted a proposed final judgment of paternity stating Velasquez Andres is the child’s natural and biological father. The parties also submitted a notarized parenting plan, which was incorporated into the proposed order and included terms with which the parents agreed to comply. 2 Case: 18-13907 Date Filed: 06/14/2019 Page: 3 of 10 In February 2018, Judge Keyser entered a final judgment of paternity. Judge Keyser’s order adopted and ratified most of the parties’ parenting plan, but struck out language stating: It is detrimental to the minor child to have shared parental responsibility and timesharing with the mother because she has abused and neglected the minor child. Reunification with the mother is not viable due to the physical abuse and the neglect that placed the child’s wellbeing in danger. It is not in the best interest of the minor child, [M.G.V.G.] to be returned to his country of citizenship and last habitual residence. It is in the best interest of the Minor Child that the father, Juan Carlos Velasquez Andres be awarded sole custody. Weeks later, Velasquez Andres filed a motion for modification of the parenting plan, which asked Judge Keyser to re-insert the language she deleted. Judge Keyser held a hearing on the motion, during which she explained she crossed out the language because she had “no testimony or evidence to support it.” An attorney for Velasquez Andres argued the parents’ sworn statements constituted evidence. The attorney also insisted the language was “extremely important for immigration purposes.” This was because the minor child hoped to pursue special immigrant juvenile status (“SIJS”) under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(27)(J). That provision offers a path to lawful permanent residency for certain noncitizen juveniles. See id. To be eligible for SIJS, a juvenile ...

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