Taylor v. Judiciary San Joaquin Co. et al

Filing 17

ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan on 10/16/2017 GRANTING plaintiff's 2 , 5 request to proceed IFP and plaintiff shall pay the $350.00 filing fee in accordance with the concurrent CDCR order. The complaints are DISMISSED and the Clerk shall close the case. CASE CLOSED. (Yin, K)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 GREGORY TAYLOR, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 No. 2:17-cv-0801-EFB P v. ORDER GRANTING IFP AND DISMISSING ACTION PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915A JUDICIARY SAN JOAQUIN CO., et al., 15 Defendants. 16 Plaintiff , a county inmate proceeding without counsel in an action brought under 42 17 18 19 U.S.C. § 1983,1seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. I. Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis Plaintiff’s application makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) and (2). 20 21 Accordingly, by separate order, the court directs the agency having custody of plaintiff to collect 22 and forward the appropriate monthly payments for the filing fee as set forth in 28 U.S.C. 23 § 1915(b)(1) and (2). 24 II. Screening Requirement and Standards 25 Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek 26 redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. 27 28 1 This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and is before the undersigned pursuant to plaintiff’s consent. See E.D. Cal. Local Rules, Appx. A, at (k)(4). ECF No. 1 at 4. 1 1 § 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion 2 of the complaint, if the complaint “is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which 3 relief may be granted,” or “seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such 4 relief.” Id. § 1915A(b). 5 A pro se plaintiff, like other litigants, must satisfy the pleading requirements of Rule 8(a) 6 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8(a)(2) “requires a complaint to include a short and 7 plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the 8 defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. 9 Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554, 562-563 (2007) (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)). 10 While the complaint must comply with the “short and plaint statement” requirements of Rule 8, 11 its allegations must also include the specificity required by Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 12 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). 13 To avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim a complaint must contain more than “naked 14 assertions,” “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of 15 action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-557. In other words, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of 16 a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 17 678. 18 Furthermore, a claim upon which the court can grant relief must have facial plausibility. 19 Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual 20 content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the 21 misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. When considering whether a complaint states a 22 claim upon which relief can be granted, the court must accept the allegations as true, Erickson v. 23 Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007), and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the 24 plaintiff, see Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). 25 III. Screening Order 26 The court has reviewed plaintiff’s complaints (ECF Nos. 1, 15) pursuant to § 1915A and 27 finds that this action must be dismissed without leave to amend. Plaintiff alleges that he is being 28 denied a speedy trial in the Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin, and requests that 2 1 the case against plaintiff be dismissed and that plaintiff be compensated for his pain and 2 suffering. ECF No. 1 at 3-5; ECF No. 15 at 3. He names the superior court, the judge, and 3 several district attorneys and public defenders as defendants. 4 As a threshold matter, the complaint fails to name a proper defendant for a § 1983 lawsuit. 5 The superior court is not a “person” within the meaning of § 1983, and arms of the state, such as 6 the courts, are immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment. Simmons v. Sacramento 7 County Superior Court, 318 F.3d 1156, 1161 (9th Cir. 2003). Moreover, judges are absolutely 8 immune from damage actions for judicial acts taken within the jurisdiction of their courts, 9 Schucker v. Rockwood, 846 F.2d 1202, 1204 (9th Cir. 1988) (per curiam), and state prosecutors 10 have absolute prosecutorial immunity for acts taken in their official capacity, Kalina v. Fletcher, 11 522 U.S. 118, 123–24 (1997); Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259, 269–70 (1993); Imbler v. 12 Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 427, 430–31 (1976). In addition, plaintiff’s court-appointed attorneys 13 cannot be sued under § 1983. See Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 318-19 (1981) (public 14 defenders do not act under color of state law for purposes of § 1983 when performing a lawyer’s 15 traditional functions). 16 This action is also subject to dismissal because this court cannot provide plaintiff with the 17 injunctive relief he seeks. As a matter of comity, federal courts may not enjoin pending state 18 criminal proceedings except under extraordinary circumstances. Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 19 49, 53 (1971). No extraordinary circumstances are alleged in this case. If, on the other hand, 20 plaintiff’s state criminal proceedings have already concluded, this court would still be unable to 21 “dismiss[ ] the case against [him]” because federal courts lack jurisdiction to review or modify 22 state court judgments. ECF No. 1 at 3; see Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Company, 263 U.S. 413 23 (1923); District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 482 (1983). “[L]ower 24 federal courts do not have jurisdiction to review a case litigated and decided in state court; only 25 the United States Supreme Court has jurisdiction to correct state court judgments.” Gottfried v. 26 Medical Planning Services, 142 F.3d 326, 330 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 1041, 119 S.Ct. 27 592 (1998); see also Bianchi v. Rylaarsdam, 334 F.3d 895, 901 (9th Cir. 2003) (“Stated plainly, 28 Rooker—Feldman bars any suit that seeks to disrupt or ‘undo’ a prior state-court judgment, 3 1 regardless of whether the state-court proceeding afforded the federal-court plaintiff a full and fair 2 opportunity to litigate her claims.”). 3 For these reasons, plaintiff’s complaints must be dismissed without leave to amend. See 4 Gardner v. Martino, 563 F.3d 981, 990 (9th Cir. 2009); Silva v. Di Vittorio, 658 F.3d 1090, 1105 5 (9th Cir. 2011) (“Dismissal of a pro se complaint without leave to amend is proper only if it is 6 absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment.” 7 (internal quotation marks omitted)); Doe v. United States, 58 F.3d 494, 497 (9th Cir. 1995) (“[A] 8 district court should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was made, 9 unless it determines that the pleading could not be cured by the allegation of other facts.”). 10 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: 11 1. Plaintiff’s request to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF Nos. 2 & 5) is granted. 12 2. Plaintiff shall pay the statutory filing fee of $350. All payments shall be collected 13 in accordance with the notice to the California Department of Corrections and 14 Rehabilitation filed concurrently herewith. 15 16 3. The complaints are dismissed and the Clerk is directed to close the case. Dated: October 16, 2017. 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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