Smith v. District Attorney Office et al

Filing 5

ORDER DISMISSING CASE. Signed by Judge Richard Seeborg on 6/8/12. (Attachments: # 1 Appendix Certificate of Service)(cl, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/8/2012)

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1 2 3 *E-Filed 6/8/12* 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 SAN FRANCISCO DIVISION 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 11 No. C 12-2547 RS (PR) WAYNE W. SMITH, 12 ORDER OF DISMISSAL Plaintiff, 13 v. 14 DISTRICT ATTORNEY OFFICE, 15 and REMA BREALL, Defendants. 16 / 17 18 INTRODUCTION 19 This federal civil rights action was filed by a pro se state prisoner in state court. 20 Defendants removed the action to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441. The Court now 21 reviews the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). For the reasons stated herein, the 22 action is DISMISSED. DISCUSSION 23 24 25 26 A. Standard of Review A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 27 28 No. C 12-2547 RS (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL 1 See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the Court must identify any cognizable claims and 2 dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may 3 be granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See id. 4 § 1915A(b)(1),(2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica 5 Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988). 6 A “complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim 7 to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) 8 (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial 9 plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the 10 reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (quoting 11 Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Furthermore, a court “is not required to accept legal conclusions 12 cast in the form of factual allegations if those conclusions cannot reasonably be drawn from 13 the facts alleged.” Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754–55 (9th Cir. 1994). 14 To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: 15 (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and 16 (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. 17 See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). 18 B. Legal Claims 19 In 2008, a San Francisco County Superior Court jury convicted plaintiff of the 20 possession and sale of cocaine, and the possession of heroin. In consequence, plaintiff was 21 sentenced to 13 years and 4 months in state prison. Plaintiff claims that defendants violated 22 his constitutional rights by failing to disclose exculpatory evidence about a prosecution 23 witness during his criminal trial, thereby rendering his conviction invalid.1 In order to 24 recover damages for an allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other 25 1 Plaintiff also has brought state law claims of negligence, false arrest, and fraud. Because his federal claim will be dismissed, the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over 27 his state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). 26 No. C 12-2547 RS (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL 28 2 1 harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a 2 42 U.S.C. § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on 3 direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to 4 make such determination, or called into question by a federal court’s issuance of a writ of 5 habeas corpus. Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486–487 (1994). A claim for damages 6 bearing that relationship to a conviction or sentence that has not been so invalidated is not 7 cognizable under § 1983. Id. at 487. Where, as in the instant matter, a state prisoner seeks 8 damages in a § 1983 suit, the district court must therefore consider whether a judgment in 9 favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence; if it 10 would, the complaint must be dismissed unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that the 11 conviction or sentence has been invalidated. Id. at 487. 12 In the instant matter, a judgment in favor of plaintiff that defendants had falsely 13 arrested him and failed to disclose exculpatory evidence would necessarily imply the 14 invalidity of his conviction or sentence. It is clear from the complaint that his convictions 15 have not been invalidated, however. Accordingly, plaintiff’s action barred by Heck, and the 16 action is hereby DISMISSED without prejudice to plaintiff refiling such claims when he can 17 make such a showing. The Clerk shall enter judgment in favor of defendants, and close the 18 file. 19 20 IT IS SO ORDERED. DATED: June 8, 2012 RICHARD SEEBORG United States District Judge 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 No. C 12-2547 RS (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL 28 3

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