Harris v. Director of C.D.C.R. et al

Filing 5

ORDER OF DISMISSAL. Signed by Judge Jon S. Tigar on April 9, 2018. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service) (wsn, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/9/2018)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 EARNEST S. HARRIS, Case No. 18-cv-01114-JST Plaintiff, ORDER OF DISMISSAL 8 v. 9 10 DIRECTOR OF C.D.C.R., et al., Defendants. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 Plaintiff, a California inmate incarcerated at California State Prison ‒ Corcoran, has filed a 13 14 pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff has been granted 15 leave to proceed in forma pauperis in a separate order. His complaint is now before the Court for 16 review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. DISCUSSION 17 18 19 A. Standard of Review A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks 20 redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 21 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any 22 claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seek 23 monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), 24 (2). Pro se pleadings must, however, be liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police 25 Dep’t., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988). 26 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the 27 claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” “Specific facts are not necessary; the 28 statement need only “‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon 1 which it rests.’ ” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citations omitted). Although in 2 order to state a claim a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a plaintiff’s 3 obligation to provide the grounds of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief’ requires more than labels and 4 conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. . . . 5 Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell 6 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must 7 proffer “enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: 8 (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that 10 the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 9 Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). 12 B. 13 Legal Claims Plaintiff makes three claims. First, he alleges that his civil rights have been violated by the 14 failure of Pelican Bay State Prison (“PBSP”), where he was formerly housed, and the California 15 Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”), to hire African American employees in 16 any capacity. He states that the reason for some of his numerous altercations with PBSP 17 correctional officers was because the correctional officers were not African American and were 18 therefore racially biased against him and could not relate to his customs or his culture. Second, he 19 argues that female inmates face housing discrimination based on their gender because female 20 inmates are not allowed to be housed in the same maximum security correctional facilities as men. 21 Third, he argues that CDCR and PBSP has denied him his constitutional right to vote by failing to 22 provide inmates with registers, mail-in ballots, or voting booths. ECF No. 1 at 3‒6. 23 Plaintiff’s allegations fail to state cognizable claims for relief. His first two allegations 24 arise out of injuries suffered by third parties — African Americans who are not hired for positions 25 in correctional facilities and female inmates. Plaintiff does not have standing to seek relief for 26 injuries suffered by a third party. Allee v. Medrano, 416 U.S. 802, 828‒29 (1974). Standing is the 27 “irreducible constitutional minimum” for bringing a judicial action, and requires an injury in fact, 28 causation, and redressability. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992). “[A] 2 1 plaintiff cannot acquire standing to sue by bringing his action on behalf of others who suffered 2 injury which would have afforded them standing had they been named plaintiffs . . . a person 3 cannot predicate standing on injury which he does not share.” Allee, 416 U.S. at 828‒29. 4 Plaintiff may not proceed with claims brought on behalf of others. Rather, he must allege facts 5 which establish that he personally has suffered constitutional harm. To the extent that Plaintiff claims that he has been injured by the failure to hire African 6 7 American correctional officials, this fails to state a cognizable constitutional claim or a cognizable 8 federal-law claim. In essence, Plaintiff is arguing that his altercations with PBSP correctional 9 officers were inevitable because these officers harbored racial bias against him, and were incapable of understanding his customs and culture. While Eighth Amendment requires that 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 prison officials take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of prisoners, Farmer v. Brennan, 12 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994), there is no corresponding requirement to ensure that an inmate does not 13 engage in altercations with prison officials. Nor is there a constitutional guarantee that 14 correctional officials understand an inmate’s customs or culture, or that inmates be guarded or 15 supervised by correctional officials of the same race. 16 Plaintiff’s third allegation is without merit. The California Constitution disqualifies 17 individuals who are imprisoned or on parole of the conviction of a felony from voting. Cal. 18 Const., art. II, § 4; Cal. Elec. Code § 2150(a)(9). Nothing Defendants have done or not done has 19 had any effect on Plaintiff’s ability to vote. 20 The Court therefore dismisses these claims with prejudice because amendment would be 21 futile. Carrico v. City and Cnty. of San Francisco, 656 F.3d 1002, 1008 (9th Cir. 2011) (leave to 22 amend properly denied if amendment would be futile). 23 /// 24 /// 25 /// 26 /// 27 /// 28 /// 3 CONCLUSION 1 2 For the foregoing reasons, this action is DISMISSED without leave to amend. 3 The Clerk shall enter judgment and close the file. 4 IT IS SO ORDERED. 5 6 7 Dated: April 9, 2018 ______________________________________ JON S. TIGAR United States District Judge 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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