Brooks v. Glendale Police Department, City of et al

Filing 4

ORDER granting 3 Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis, Plaintiff must pay the $350.00 filing fee. The Complaint is dismissed without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and the Clerk must enter judgment. Signed by Judge David G Campbell on 4/16/09.(LSP)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 vs. Glendale Police Department, et al., Defendants. Cory Jason Brooks, Plaintiff, ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) No. CV 09-502-PHX-DGC (MHB) ORDER IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA WO KM Plaintiff Cory Jason Brooks, who is confined in the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail, has filed a pro se civil rights Complaint and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. The Court will dismiss the action. I. Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and Filing Fee Plaintiff's Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis will be granted. 28 U.S.C. 1915(a). Plaintiff must pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00. 28 U.S.C. 1915(b)(1). The Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $8.60. The remainder of the fee will be collected monthly in payments of 20% of the previous month's income each time the amount in the account exceeds $10.00. 28 U.S.C. 1915(b)(2). The Court will enter a separate Order requiring the appropriate government agency to collect and forward the fees according to the statutory formula. II. Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 a governmental entity or an officer or an employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if a plaintiff has raised claims that are legally frivolous or malicious, that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. 1915A(b)(1), (2). If the Court determines that a pleading could be cured by the allegation of other facts, a pro se litigant is entitled to an opportunity to amend a complaint before dismissal of the action. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127-29 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). Plaintiff's Complaint will be dismissed without leave to amend because the defects cannot be corrected. III. Complaint Plaintiff sues the Glendale Police Department and Glendale Police Officer Steven Julian. Plaintiff's sole ground for relief is that Defendant Julian violated the Arizona constitution when he lied during Plaintiff's preliminary hearing. Plaintiff seeks monetary compensation for time spent in jail and pain and suffering. IV. Failure to State a Claim Federal courts have limited jurisdiction, and limitations on the court's jurisdiction must neither be disregarded nor evaded. Owen Equip. & Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 374 (1978). The Court is obligated to determine sua sponte whether it has subject matter jurisdiction. See Valdez v. Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1116 (9th Cir. 2004). See also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3) ("If the court determines at any time that it lacks subjectmatter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action."). Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that "[a] pleading that states a claim for relief must contain: (1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction . . . ." In order to proceed in federal court, Plaintiff must demonstrate some right of action and legal entitlement to the damages he seeks. In a case challenging violations of his civil rights, the most likely source of a right to sue is 42 U.S.C. 1983. The Court has jurisdiction over such cases pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1343(a)(3). Plaintiff has not alleged that this case arises pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 or that the -2- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1343(a)(3). He has alleged only that the Court has jurisdiction pursuant to the "constitution of the state of Arizona." A federal court does not have jurisdiction to hear claims based solely on violations of a state constitution. The Court will therefore dismiss the Complaint for lack of jurisdiction. V. Dismissal without Leave to Amend Where amendment would be futile, there is no reason to prolong litigation by allowing further amendments. Lipton v. Pathogenesis Corp., 284 F.3d 1027, 1039 (9th Cir.2002); Klamath-Lake Pharmaceutical Ass'n v. Klamath Med. Serv. Bureau, 701 F.2d 1276, 1293 (9th Cir.1983) (futile amendments should not be permitted). In this case, even if Plaintiff amended his Complaint to allege a proper jurisdiction basis for his claims, his claims would still be subject to dismissal. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Julian lied during Plaintiff's preliminary hearing. The abstention doctrine set forth in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), prevents a federal court in most circumstances from directly interfering with ongoing criminal proceedings in state court. In particular, the Younger abstention doctrine bars requests for declaratory and monetary relief for constitutional injuries arising out of a plaintiff's current state criminal prosecution. Mann v. Jett, 781 F.2d 1448, 1449 (9th Cir. 1986). To the extent that Plaintiff may already be convicted, a prisoner's claim for damages is not cognizable under 42 U.S.C. 1983 if "a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence," unless the prisoner demonstrates that the conviction or sentence has previously been reversed, expunged, or otherwise invalidated. Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486 (1994). Plaintiff's claims would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction and would therefore be barred by Heck. Because amendment of the Complaint would be futile, the Court will dismiss the Complaint without leave to amend. IT IS ORDERED: (1) Plaintiff's Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. #3) is granted. -3- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 (2) As required by the accompanying Order to the appropriate government agency, Plaintiff must pay the $350.00 filing fee and is assessed an initial partial filing fee of $8.60. (3) The Complaint (Doc. #1) is dismissed without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and the Clerk of Court must enter judgment accordingly. DATED this 16th day of April, 2009. -4-

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