Gabriel Conradino Navarrete v. The Sheriff's Department of the City of Monterey Park and the County The Los Angeles in the State of California et al

Filing 21

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISQUALIFY JUDGES GARY A. FEESS AND MARGARET M.MORROW 18 by Judge Otis D. Wright, II. (lc). Modified on 6/11/2014 (lc).

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O 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 United States District Court Central District of California 8 9 10 11 GABRIEL CORADINO NAVARRETE, Case No. 2:14-cv-01179-GAF(Ex) Plaintiff, 12 ORDER DENYING MOTION TO v. 13 14 THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT OF DISQUALIFY JUDGES GARY A. 15 THE CITY OF MONTEREY PARK, et FEESS AND MARGARET M. 16 al., MORROW [18] 17 Defendants. 18 I. INTRODUCTION 19 On June 4, 2014, Plaintiff Gabriel Coradino Navarrete filed his second Motion 20 to Disqualify in this action. Navarrete’s incoherent Complaint was dismissed by 21 Judge Gary A. Feess for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. After Judge Margaret M. 22 Morrow denied Navarrete’s subsequent motion to disqualify Judge Feess, Navarrette 23 moved to disqualify her as well for allegedly assisting in the judicial system’s plot to 24 aid in the Defendants’ persecution, harassment, and torture of Navarrete. 25 Navarrete has presented no evidence or other indication that any valid basis for 26 recusal exists, the Court DENIES Navarrete’s Request. (ECF No. 18.) 27 /// 28 /// Because II. 1 FACTUAL BACKGROUND 2 On February 14, 2014, Navarrete filed this pro se action against Defendants 3 Leroy David Baca, The Sheriff's Department of the City of Monterey Park, and the 4 County of Los Angeles for “Illegal with no consent Implantation of an electronic 5 transmitter opener of circuits of the GPS satellites and and computers in the physical 6 body of the victim Gabriel Conradino Navarrete.” 7 subsequently brought a Motion to Dismiss Navarrete’s Complaint for failure to state a 8 claim. (ECF No. 7.) The Motion was set before Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick. 9 (Id.) (Compl. at 1) Defendants 10 On April 24, 2014, Magistrate Judge Eick issued his Report and 11 Recommendations. (ECF No. 11.) Magistrate Judge Eick found that “The Complaint 12 consists of a rambling, largely incomprehensible narrative describing the alleged 13 electronic monitoring and torture of Plaintiff by Sheriff Baca and others.” 14 Magistrate Judge Eick reported that Navarrete’s delusional allegations did not confer 15 subject-matter jurisdiction and recommended that the Court (1) dismiss the Complaint 16 without leave to amend, (2) dismiss the action without prejudice for lack of subject- 17 matter jurisdiction, and (3) deny the Defendants’ Motion as moot. (Id.) (Id.) 18 On May 12, 2014, Navarrete filed his Objection Brief in response to the Report 19 and Recommendation, and moved to disqualify Judges Feess and Eick. (ECF No. 13.) 20 The Motion to Disqualify was referred to Judge Morrow for determination. (ECF 21 No. 14.) 22 No. 15.) Judge Morrow found that Navarrete failed to identify any extrajudicial bias 23 that warranted the disqualification of Judges Feess and Eick. (Id.) 24 25 On May 13, 2014, Judge Morrow denied Navarrete’s Motion. (ECF On May 20, 2014, Judge Feess adopted the recommendations of Magistrate Judge Eick and dismissed Navarrete’s action without prejudice. (ECF Nos. 16, 17.) 26 On June 4, 2014, Navarrete filed yet another Motion to Disqualify, this time not 27 only seeking to disqualify Judges Feess and Eick, but Judge Morrow as well. (ECF 28 No. 18.) On June 9, 2014, the Motion was referred to this Court. (ECF No. 19.) 2 III. 1 LEGAL STANDARD 2 The standard for disqualification of a federal judge is established by 28 U.S.C. 3 §§ 144 and 455. In giving Navarrete the benefit of the doubt as a pro se movant, the 4 Court construes his request under both statutes. Section 144 permits a party seeking 5 disqualification to file an affidavit setting forth facts and reasons for his belief that the 6 judge “has a personal bias or prejudice either against him or in favor of any adverse 7 party.” 28 U.S.C. § 144. When determining the affidavit’s legal sufficiency, “the 8 factual allegations in the affidavit must be accepted as true,” although “general or 9 conclusory allegations will not support disqualification.” United States v. Zagari, 419 10 F. Supp. 494, 500–01 (N.D. Cal. 1976). Further, the alleged bias must be from an 11 extrajudicial source and “result in an opinion on the merits on some basis other than 12 what the judge learned from his participation in the case.” United States v. Grinnell 13 Corp., 384 U.S. 563, 583 (1966). 14 Under 28 U.S.C. § 455, a judge must disqualify herself in any proceeding in 15 which one might reasonably question her impartiality. 28 U.S.C. § 455(a). But the 16 substantive standard for recusal under §§ 144 and 455 is the same: whether a 17 reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts would conclude that the judge’s 18 impartiality might reasonably be questioned. United States v. Hernandez, 109 F.3d 19 1450, 1453–54 (9th Cir. 1997). IV. 20 DISCUSSION 21 Navarrete does not specifically address why he believes that the Court should 22 recuse Judges Feess and Morrow under either §§ 144 or 455. Rather, Navarrete 23 makes wild accusations about the Judges’ deliberate opposition to setting his 24 “reproduced Human clones”—the sons and daughters of his “Human sperm cells” 25 maintained in captivity by the Sheriff’s Department—free. (Mot. at 2.) But in any 26 event, the Court finds that neither section compels Judge Feess and Morrow’s 27 recusals. The Court therefore denies Navarrete’s Motion. 28 /// 3 1 A. 28 U.S.C. § 144 2 Section 144 requires the movant to file an affidavit stating “the facts and the 3 reasons for the belief that bias or prejudice exists.” § 144. Navarrete has filed no 4 such affidavit, thereby rendering his Motion procedurally defective. That failure is 5 alone enough to deny his recusal Motion. 6 But even if Navarrete had properly filed an affidavit, he has not demonstrated 7 that Judges Feess or Morrow exhibited any “personal bias or prejudice either against 8 him or in favor any adverse party.” See § 144. Rather, Navarrete only alleges that the 9 judges are “intentionally ignoring that the victim [Navarrete] is accusing ‘Judicial 10 System’ of the Los Angeles county . . . of protecting a criminal subject named Leroy 11 David Baca . . . .” (Mot. at 2.) 12 The Motion is rambling and incomprehensible, but the allegations that the 13 Court is able to understand are—as Magistrate Judge Eick pointed out—“frivolous, 14 delusional, and fanciful.” (ECF No. 12.) Liberally construing Navarrete’s rants as 15 allegations of personal bias, the issue Navarette takes with Judges Feess and Morrow 16 is based on their rulings adverse to him—not on any extrajudicial source of bias. This 17 is insufficient. 18 themselves . . . [judicial rulings] cannot possibly show reliance upon an extrajudicial 19 source; and can only in the rarest circumstances evidence the degree of favoritism or 20 antagonism required . . . when no extrajudicial source is involved.); Clemens v. U.S. 21 Dist. Ct. for the C.D. of Cal., 428 F.3d 1175, 1178-79 (9th Cir. 2005). Litkey v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994) (“In and of 22 Judge Feess was fully authorized to dismiss Navarrete’s frivolous Complaint 23 for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. He therefore acted within his authority—and 24 not as a result of any personal bias or prejudice—when he dismissed the Complaint 25 without leave to amend and dismissed the action without prejudice. Judge Morrow 26 fully considered Navarrete’s disjointed and often unintelligible Motion to Disqualify 27 Judge Feess and came to the only appropriate conclusion: Navarrette did not identify 28 any extrajudicial bias or interest that precluded Judges Feess and Eick from handling 4 1 this case. No reasonable person knowing of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 2 this case’s exacting circumstances would reasonably question the impartiality of 3 Judges Feess, Eick, and Morrow. 4 B. 28 U.S.C. § 455 5 Section 455 governs mandatory self-recusal. It largely overlaps with § 144. 6 Navarrete likewise has not presented any evidence that Judges Feess or Morrow failed 7 to recuse themselves based on any of the factors enumerated in § 455. There is no 8 indication that Judges Feess and Morrow have any financial interest, bias, or prejudice 9 concerning any party to this action. § 455(a), (b). 10 As discussed above, no reasonable person could reasonably question the 11 impartiality of Judges Feess, Eick, and Morrow considering this case’s particular 12 circumstances. Rather, Judge Feess’s Order dismissing Navarrete’s case and Judge 13 Morrow’s Order denying Navarrete’s Motion to Disqualify reflect strict application of 14 the relevant law to the facts of Navarrete’s case. V. 15 16 17 18 CONCLUSION For the reasons discussed above, the Court DENIES Navarrete’s Motion to Disqualify Judges Feess and Morrow. (ECF No. 18.) IT IS SO ORDERED. 19 20 June 10, 2014 21 22 23 ____________________________________ OTIS D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 24 25 26 27 28 5

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