United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
W. SIPPEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Grand Juror Doe (Juror) filed a complaint in this Court
seeking a declaratory judgment that Missouri laws
criminalizing Juror's disclosure of information about her
experience on a State of Missouri grand jury are
unconstitutional as applied. Juror alleged that these
Missouri statutes violate her free speech rights under the
First Amendment to United States Constitution. Defendant St.
Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch moved to
dismiss the complaint on numerous grounds including the
doctrine of abstention.
5, 2018, I issued an order granting McCulloch's motion to
dismiss based on abstention. I stated that Juror should
address her request to be released form her oath of secrecy
with the State of Missouri. On June 20, 2018, the United
States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that
instead of complete abstention I should have stayed
Juror's First Amendment claim while Juror exhausted her
state court remedies on state law grounds. On July 18, 2018,
I issued an order that modified my order of May 5, 2016. The
order stayed Juror's constitutional claims under
Railroad Commission of Texas v. Pullman, 312 U.S.
496 (1941) to be reopened, if necessary, after her state law
claims were resolved in state court.
meantime, Juror had filed a petition for relief in state
court. In that petition she asserted a claim under the First
Amendment in addition to state law claims. Juror expressly
stated in the petition that she did not want the state court
to rule on that claim but was reserving it if her case
returned to federal court. Juror reserved her First Amendment
claim under an England reservation. England v.
Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, 375 U.S.
411, 421-422 (1964) (allowing a federal claim to be reserved
for future litigation in federal court after a state court
has resolved state law claims).
state court, in addition to her First Amendment claim, Juror
sought a declaration that that section 540.320 RSMo should be
interpreted as no longer being applicable or valid as applied
to Juror. She also sought a declaration from the court that,
based on the disclosures in the case by McCulloch, Juror
should be released from her oath to keep her grand jury
state trial court denied Juror's petition. The court
reasoned that because the state court retains the inherent
authority to hold Juror in contempt for violating her
obligations as a grand juror, the court had jurisdiction to
rule on all of Juror's claims in her petition. As a
result, the court reached Juror's First Amendment claim.
The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.
conclusion of the state court litigation, Juror returned to
this Court and sought to reopen her case for the resolution
of her First Amendment claim. Defendant McCulloch filed an
opposition to the motion to reopen.
argued that the state court appropriately reached the First
Amendment issue and that its ruling should be given
preclusive effect under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, 28
U.S.C. § 1738. MCulloch relies on the case of San
Remo Hotel, L.P. v. City and County of San Francisco,
545 U.S. 323 (2005) in support of his position. In that case
a federal court stayed the plaintiffs' constitutional
takings claims subject to a Pullman abstention. The
plaintiffs attempted to reserve their federal claims when
they returned to state court. After losing in the state court
the plaintiffs returned to federal court to reassert their
federal takings claims. The district court dismissed the
claims under the Full Faith and Credit doctrine because the
state court had interpreted the relevant substantive state
takings law coextensively with the federal law that had been
stayed in federal court. The Supreme Court affirmed that
argues that the state trial court performed a similar
analysis in the present case. The trial court stated that the
resolution of Juror's state law claims required the court
to reach the First Amendment issue because Missouri may not
offer fewer protections (under the free speech clause of the
Missouri constitution) than is required under the federal
constitution. [Doc. 68-2 p.13 n5]
the San Remo decision turned on the fact that the
plaintiffs broadened their claims in state court and
effectively asked the state court to “resolve the same
federal issues they asked it to reserve.” San
Remo, 545 U.S. at 341. The Court stated that an
effective reservation of a federal claim under
England was dependent upon the plaintiff not taking
any action to broaden the state court action beyond the state
law issues. Id. at 340.
present case, nothing in the record before me indicates that
Juror broadened the scope of her state law claims to include
the First Amendment claim she reserved in this Court. As a
result, I will grant Juror's motion to reopen this
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff Grand Juror Doe's
motion to reopen this matter  is GRANTED.
FURTHER ORDERED that a scheduling conference is set on July
18, 2018 at ...