Washington v. Figueroa

Filing 32

ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Allison Claire on 8/21/2017 DENYING petitioner's 31 motion for court to approve PLU status. (Yin, K)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 JAMES C. WASHINGTON, 12 Petitioner, 13 14 v. No. 2:16-cv-01899 MCE AC ORDER FRED FIGUEROA, 15 Respondent. 16 17 Petitioner is a state prisoner without counsel seeking a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 18 28 U.S.C. § 2254. His petition was dismissed as untimely on July 14, 2017. ECF No. 26. On 19 August 8, 2017, petitioner then filed a notice of appeal (ECF No. 28) and his appeal is still 20 pending before the Ninth Circuit. On August 17, 2017, petitioner submitted a motion asking this 21 court to grant him “PLU” status for the duration of his appeal. ECF No. 31. The court will deny 22 this motion. 23 Petitioner does not define “PLU” status in his motion, but the court is able to glean from 24 his attachments that it refers to “Priority Legal User.” Cal. Code Regs. tit. 15, § 3122 (b). While 25 prisoners do have a right of access to the courts, they do not have a federal right to any specific, 26 state-created legal assistance program. See Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351 (1996) (“[P]rison 27 law libraries and legal assistance programs are not ends in themselves, but only the means for 28 ensuring a reasonably adequate opportunity to present claimed violations of fundamental 1 1 constitutional rights to the courts.”) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Here, 2 petitioner has failed to allege that prison officials’ refusal to approve his PLU status has injured 3 him by frustrating his efforts to pursue a legal claim. Id. (holding that, to state a viable access to 4 the courts claim, an “inmate . . . must go one step further and demonstrate that the alleged 5 shortcomings in the library or legal assistance program hindered his efforts to pursue a legal 6 claim.”). Additionally, the Supreme Court has cautioned courts against interfering with the day- 7 to-day affairs of prison administration. See Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 84-85 (1987). The 8 court is, therefore, reluctant to second guess officials’ decisions as to which inmates should be 9 granted PLU status. Finally, to the extent petitioner is alleging that the denial of PLU status has 10 caused him some injury which violates his right of access to the courts, he must bring that claim 11 in a separate § 1983 action. 12 It is THEREFORE ORDERED that petitioner’s motion for court to approve PLU status 13 (ECF No. 31) is DENIED. 14 DATED: August 21, 2017 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?