Brew v. Rosen et al

Filing 24

ORDER OF DISMISSAL. Signed by Judge Richard Seeborg on 10/25/11. (Attachments: # 1 Appendix Certificate of Service)(cl, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/26/2011)

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1 2 3 *E-Filed 10/26/11* 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 8 SAN FRANCISCO DIVISION 11 12 EMMANUEL LARS BREW, Plaintiff, 13 14 15 16 17 No. C 11-3226 RS (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL v. JEFFREY F. ROSEN, and DAN FEHDERAU, Defendants. / 18 19 20 INTRODUCTION This is a federal civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by a pro se state 21 prisoner. Upon reviewing the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the Court has 22 determined that it must abstain from interfering in the on-going state proceedings. For the 23 reasons stated herein, the action is DISMISSED. 24 BACKGROUND 25 Plaintiff was convicted in state court of murdering his son. That conviction was 26 reversed on appeal. Plaintiff was retried, and convicted again. His appeal of the second 27 conviction is pending in the state appellate court. In the instant complaint, plaintiff alleges 28 No. C 11-3226 RS (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL 1 that during this second appellate proceeding, defendants, the Santa Clara District attorney 2 and his deputy, violated his federal and state constitutional rights by failing to give him 3 various discovery materials, and that the state appellate court violated his federal and state 4 constitutional rights by failing to grant his motions to discover such materials. Plaintiff seeks 5 declaratory and injunctive relief, and money damages. 6 DISCUSSION 7 Under principles of comity and federalism, a federal court should not interfere with ongoing state criminal proceedings by granting injunctive or declaratory relief absent 9 extraordinary circumstances. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43–54 (1971). The 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 8 rationale of Younger also applies throughout appellate proceedings, requiring that state 11 appellate review of a state court judgment be exhausted before federal court intervention is 12 permitted. See Dubinka v. Judges of the Superior Court, 23 F.3d 218, 223 (9th Cir. 1994). 13 Federal courts should not enjoin pending state criminal prosecutions absent a showing of the 14 state’s bad faith or harassment, or a showing that the statute challenged is “flagrantly and 15 patently violative of express constitutional prohibitions.” Younger, 401 U.S. at 46, 53–54. 16 Younger abstention is required when (1) state proceedings, judicial in nature, are pending; 17 (2) the state proceedings involve important state interests; and (3) the state proceedings 18 afford adequate opportunity to raise the constitutional issue. See Middlesex County Ethics 19 Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass’n, 457 U.S. 423, 432 (1982). 20 Abstention pursuant to Younger is appropriate here. All of the elements of Younger 21 are present; nothing in the complaint suggests there are extraordinary circumstances 22 requiring this Court’s interference in state court criminal proceedings. As to the first 23 Younger element, the record demonstrates that plaintiff’s state court proceedings are 24 ongoing. As to the second Younger element, the Supreme Court has held that administration 25 of state criminal facilities is an important issue of state interest. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 26 411 U.S. 475, 491–92 (1973). As to the third prong of Younger, the court finds no reason 27 that plaintiff cannot pursue his constitutional claims included in this lawsuit in state court, 28 2 No. C 11-3226 RS (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL 1 including on review to the state supreme court. State courts are courts of general jurisdiction 2 and are able to adjudicate questions of federal law. See Nevada v. Hicks, 533 U.S. 353, 3 366–67 (2001). Furthermore, any interference by this Court in the state court proceedings 4 would cause results disapproved of by Younger. SJSVCCPAC v. City of San Jose, 546 F.3d 5 1087, 1092 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing cases). Thus, Younger abstention is applicable here. 6 When Younger applies, and the federal party seeks injunctive relief, as plaintiff does 7 here, federal courts should dismiss the action in its entirety. See Colorado River Water 8 Conserv. Dist. v. U.S., 424 U.S. 800, 816 n.22 (1976). In sum, on grounds of abstention and 9 comity, the action is hereby DISMISSED without prejudice. United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 IT IS SO ORDERED. DATED: October 25, 2011 RICHARD SEEBORG United States District Judge 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 No. C 11-3226 RS (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL

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