(PC) Walker v. Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin

Filing 10

FINDINGS and RECOMMENDATIONS signed by Magistrate Judge Dennis M. Cota on 11/18/2022 RECOMMENDING that this action be dismissed for failure to state a claim. Referred to Judge Troy L. Nunley. Objections due within 14 days after being served with these findings and recommendations. (Spichka, K.)

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Case 2:22-cv-01883-TLN-DMC Document 10 Filed 11/21/22 Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 ELMER EUGENE WALKER, 12 13 14 15 16 No. 2:22-CV-1883-TLN-DMC-P Plaintiff, v. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF SAN JOAQUIN, Defendant. 17 18 19 Plaintiff, a prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the Court is Plaintiff’s original complaint, ECF No. 1. 20 The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief 21 against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. 22 § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if it: (1) is frivolous or 23 malicious; (2) fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief 24 from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Moreover, 25 the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that complaints contain a “. . . short and plain 26 statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). This 27 means that claims must be stated simply, concisely, and directly. See McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 28 1172, 1177 (9th Cir. 1996) (referring to Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(e)(1)). These rules are satisfied if the 1 Case 2:22-cv-01883-TLN-DMC Document 10 Filed 11/21/22 Page 2 of 3 1 complaint gives the defendant fair notice of the plaintiff’s claim and the grounds upon which it 2 rests. See Kimes v. Stone, 84 F.3d 1121, 1129 (9th Cir. 1996). Because Plaintiff must allege 3 with at least some degree of particularity overt acts by specific defendants which support the 4 claims, vague and conclusory allegations fail to satisfy this standard. Additionally, it is 5 impossible for the Court to conduct the screening required by law when the allegations are vague 6 and conclusory. 7 Plaintiff names as the only defendant the San Joaquin County Superior Court. See 8 ECF No. 1. Plaintiff alleges that the Superior Court in some way colluded with prosecutors to 9 achieve the improper denial of parole. See id. 10 11 12 The Court finds that Plaintiff’s complaint is deficient because the only named defendant is immune from suit and because Plaintiff’s challenge to the denial of parole is barred. The Eleventh Amendment prohibits federal courts from hearing suits brought 13 against a state both by its own citizens, as well as by citizens of other states. See Brooks v. 14 Sulphur Springs Valley Elec. Coop., 951 F.2d 1050, 1053 (9th Cir. 1991). This prohibition 15 extends to suits against states themselves, and to suits against state agencies. See Lucas v. Dep’t 16 of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam); Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th 17 Cir. 1989). Because the San Joaquin County Superior Court is an arm of the State of California, 18 it is immune from suit. 19 Plaintiff’s claim in general, against any defendants, is also Heck-barred. When a 20 state prisoner challenges the legality of his custody and the relief he seeks is a determination that 21 he is entitled to an earlier or immediate release, such a challenge is not cognizable under 42 22 U.S.C. § 1983 and the prisoner’s sole federal remedy is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. See 23 Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973); see also Neal v. Shimoda, 131 F.3d 818, 824 (9th 24 Cir. 1997); Trimble v. City of Santa Rosa, 49 F.3d 583, 586 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam). Thus, 25 where a § 1983 action seeking monetary damages or declaratory relief alleges constitutional 26 violations which would necessarily imply the invalidity of the prisoner’s underlying conviction or 27 sentence, or the result of a prison disciplinary hearing resulting in imposition of a sanction 28 affecting the overall length of confinement, such a claim is not cognizable under § 1983 unless 2 Case 2:22-cv-01883-TLN-DMC Document 10 Filed 11/21/22 Page 3 of 3 1 the conviction or sentence has first been invalidated on appeal, by habeas petition, or through 2 some similar proceeding. See Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 483-84 (1994) (concluding that 3 § 1983 claim not cognizable because allegations were akin to malicious prosecution action which 4 includes as an element a finding that the criminal proceeding was concluded in plaintiff’s favor); 5 Butterfield v. Bail, 120 F.3d 1023, 1024-25 (9th Cir. 1997) (concluding that § 1983 claim not 6 cognizable because allegations of procedural defects were an attempt to challenge substantive 7 result in parole hearing); cf. Neal, 131 F.3d at 824 (concluding that § 1983 claim was cognizable 8 because challenge was to conditions for parole eligibility and not to any particular parole 9 determination); cf. Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74 (2005) (concluding that § 1983 action 10 seeking changes in procedures for determining when an inmate is eligible for parole consideration 11 not barred because changed procedures would hasten future parole consideration and not affect 12 any earlier parole determination under the prior procedures). 13 Because it does not appear possible that the deficiencies identified herein can be 14 cured by amending the complaint, Plaintiff is not entitled to leave to amend prior to dismissal of 15 the entire action. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126, 1131 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). 16 17 Based on the foregoing, the undersigned recommends that this action be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. 18 These findings and recommendations are submitted to the United States District 19 Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l). Within 14 days 20 after being served with these findings and recommendations, any party may file written 21 objections with the court. Responses to objections shall be filed within 14 days after service of 22 objections. Failure to file objections within the specified time may waive the right to appeal. See 23 Martinez v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1991). 24 25 Dated: November 18, 2022 ____________________________________ DENNIS M. COTA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 26 27 28 3

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