Bonilla v. Supreme Court of California

Filing 8


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1 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 IN RE STEVEN BONILLA, 4 Plaintiff. 5 / 6 7 8 9 ORDER OF DISMISSAL; TERMINATING ALL PENDING MOTIONS; NOTIFYING PLAINTIFF OF APPLICATION OF 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) TO FUTURE ACTIONS Nos. C C C C C C C C C C C 11-3180 11-3181 11-3206 11-3398 11-3441 11-3631 11-4334 11-4335 11-4534 11-4731 11-4737 CW CW CW CW CW CW CW CW CW CW CW (PR) (PR) (PR) (PR) (PR) (PR) (PR) (PR) (PR) (PR) (PR) United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 BACKGROUND 11 Plaintiff Steven Bonilla has been sentenced to death by the 12 Superior Court of California for the County of Alameda. He is 13 incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison. Although his state 14 habeas case currently is being litigated, he filed a request for 15 appointment of counsel for his future federal habeas litigation in 16 this Court. See Bonilla v. Ayers, No. C 08-0471 CW (PR). Pursuant 17 to Habeas Local Rule 2254-25, this Court granted his request for 18 appointment of counsel and referred the matter to the Northern 19 District’s Selection Board for the recommendation of qualified 20 counsel to represent Plaintiff in his federal habeas proceedings. 21 Additionally, pursuant to Habeas Local Rule 2254-24(a), the Court 22 granted Plaintiff's concurrent request for a stay of execution. 23 (Docket no. 3.) 24 Although Plaintiff's state habeas case is pending, Plaintiff 25 has filed numerous pro se requests and motions in C 08-0471. All 26 of the requests and motions have been denied by this Court or 27 withdrawn by Plaintiff. 28 In particular, on February 16, 2011, the 1 Court issued an Order telling Plaintiff that no further filings 2 regarding CR 88-259 MISC AJZ (Grand Jury proceedings) would be 3 accepted by this Court. 4 dismissed with prejudice In re: Steven Wayne Bonilla, No. C 11-0441 5 CW (PR), a pro se complaint filed by Plaintiff regarding CR 88-259 6 MISC AJZ. 7 pro se motions filed by Plaintiff in C 08-0471. 8 Court wrote: 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 13 (Id.) (Docket no. 34.) Additionally, the Court On March 29, 2011, the Court denied several more In doing so, the As this Court has stated multiple times, Petitioner’s state habeas case is still pending in the state court. The Court reiterates to Petitioner that challenges to his state trial conviction must be reviewed by the state courts before being considered by the federal court. Until that time, Petitioner’s various claims in his pro se pleadings are not ripe for this Court to consider. (Docket no. 54 at 2:16-22.) 14 Between June 1 and June 20, 2011, Plaintiff filed in this 15 Court nineteen pro se civil rights actions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 16 The Court dismissed all of those actions for the reason that none 17 of the allegations in Plaintiff's complaints stated a claim for 18 relief under § 1983. 19 Plaintiff that although challenges to the lawfulness of confinement 20 or its duration can be addressed only by way of habeas corpus, 21 Here, in an apparent attempt to circumvent this Court's prior admonition to Plaintiff that no further filings regarding CR 88–259 MISC AJZ would be accepted by the Court and that additional unripe pro se motions in C 080471 would be denied, Plaintiff has filed the instant civil rights complaints in which he seeks access to certain discovery, witness testimony, declarations and other information that he claims would render his death penalty conviction invalid, including information regarding CR 88-259 MISC AJZ. Because all of Plaintiff's civil rights complaints seek relief that must be pursued by way of habeas corpus, all of the instant civil rights actions are hereby DISMISSED without prejudice to Plaintiff's bringing his claims in a federal habeas petition. See Trimble v. City of Santa Rosa, 49 F.3d 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Specifically, the Court explained to 2 1 2 583, 586 (9th Cir. 1995). Plaintiff is reminded, however, that he must heed the Court's prior admonitions before filing additional pro se matters in C 08-0471. 3 In re Steven Bonilla, Nos. C 11-2612 et seq. CW (PR), Order of 4 Dismissal at 2:28-3:15; see also In re Steven Bonilla, Nos. 5 C 11-2808 et seq. CW (PR), Order of Dismissal; In re Steven 6 Bonilla, Nos. C 11-3052 et seq. CW (PR), Order of Dismissal. 7 Now pending before the Court are eleven new pro se civil 8 rights actions filed by Plaintiff. 9 below, the actions are DISMISSED. United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 For the reasons discussed DISCUSSION With the exception of one complaint filed against an attorney 12 Plaintiff hired in a civil proceeding, all of Plaintiff's newly- 13 filed civil rights actions bear some connection to his state 14 criminal proceedings. 15 however, as Plaintiff previously attempted to do in his prior civil 16 rights actions, most of the instant complaints seek monetary 17 damages and/or injunctive relief from individuals or entities that 18 allegedly presented perjured testimony, provided false evidence or 19 otherwise conspired with the prosecution to obtain Plaintiff's 20 conviction. 21 return of property seized by FBI that was used at trial); Bonilla 22 v. Keyes, No. C 11-4534 CW (PR) (suing private individual who 23 testified at Plaintiff's trial and allegedly committed perjury); 24 Bonilla v. Rand Investigation, No. C 11-4731 CW (PR) (suing private 25 investigation company that obtained personal phone records later 26 used against Plaintiff at trial); Bonilla v. Rule, No. C 11-4737 CW 27 (PR) (suing private author for damages for libel in relation to 28 Plaintiff's conviction). Rather than seeking habeas corpus relief, See Bonilla v. FBI, No. C 11-3631 CW (PR) (seeking 3 1 Additionally, three of Plaintiff's complaints seek damages 2 from private actors who allegedly unlawfully took possession of 3 Plaintiff's business and its proceeds while conspiring to convict 4 Plaintiff. 5 Bonilla v. Pacific Growers, No. C 11-4334 CW (PR); Bonilla v. 6 Baptist, et al., No. C 11-4335 CW (PR). 7 Plaintiff's complaints seeks monetary damages from a private 8 attorney hired by Plaintiff in a civil proceeding. 9 Lively, No. C 11-3180 CW (PR). United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 See Bonilla v. Baptist, et al., No. C 11-3398 CW (PR); And, as noted, one of See Bonilla v. The above eight cases are subject to dismissal for the 11 following reasons. 12 monetary damages from private individuals under § 1983. 13 v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980); Ouzts v. Maryland Nat'l Ins. 14 Co., 505 F.2d 547, 550 (9th Cir. 1974). 15 attorneys. 16 1981). 17 state a claim upon which relief may be granted. As an initial matter, Plaintiff cannot seek See Gomez This includes private See Franklin v. Oregon, 662 F.2d 1337, 1345 (9th Cir. Accordingly, all such claims are DISMISSED for failure to 18 Further, Plaintiff cannot pursue any claim for damages or 19 injunctive relief that, if successful, necessarily would call into 20 question the validity of his conviction or confinement. 21 Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), holds that in order to state a claim 22 for damages for an allegedly unconstitutional conviction or term of 23 imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose 24 unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a 25 plaintiff asserting a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 must prove that 26 the conviction or sentence has been reversed or declared invalid. 27 Id. at 486-87. 28 demonstrate the invalidity of the confinement or its duration, the Heck v. If success in the § 1983 lawsuit would necessarily 4 1 § 1983 lawsuit is barred, irrespective of whether the plaintiff 2 seeks monetary damages or equitable relief. 3 544 U.S. 74, 81 (2005). 4 Wilkinson v. Dotson, Here, Plaintiff's complaints seeking damages and/or injunctive 5 relief from those who allegedly conspired to prosecute and convict 6 him would, if successful, necessarily call into question the 7 validity of Plaintiff's conviction. 8 that raise such claims are DISMISSED for failure to state a claim 9 upon which relief may be granted. United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 Accordingly, the complaints See Heck, 512 U.S. at 487. Another three of Plaintiff's complaints raise claims 11 concerning actions taken by the state courts. 12 Plaintiff seeks damages and injunctive relief from a state court 13 judge for alleged erroneous evidentiary rulings in Plaintiff's 14 criminal proceedings. 15 (PR). 16 liability for damages under § 1983 for judicial acts. 17 v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 553-55 (1967). 18 injunctive relief regarding evidentiary matters at Plaintiff's 19 trial must be brought by way of habeas corpus. 20 complaint is DISMISSED for failure to state a claim upon which 21 relief may be granted. In one case, See Bonilla v. Goodman, No. C 11-3260 CW A state judge, however, is absolutely immune from civil See Pierson Further, any claim for Accordingly, this 22 In Plaintiff's remaining two cases, he challenges the 23 constitutionality of the California Supreme Court's policy 24 requiring that an attorney be appointed to represent capital 25 defendants in all automatic appeals. 26 of Cal., No. C 11-3181 CW (PR); Bonilla v. Supreme Court of Cal., C 27 11-3441 CW (PR). 28 such policy he has been forced to proceed with an attorney who is See Bonilla v. Supreme Court In particular, Plaintiff claims that because of 5 1 providing ineffective assistance of counsel. 2 comity and federalism, a federal court should not interfere with 3 ongoing state criminal proceedings by granting injunctive or 4 declaratory relief absent extraordinary circumstances. 5 v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-54 (1971). 6 required when: (1) state proceedings, judicial in nature, are 7 pending, (2) the state proceedings involve important state 8 interests, and (3) the state proceedings afford adequate 9 opportunity to raise the constitutional issue. Under principles of See Younger Younger abstention is See Middlesex United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 County Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 432 11 (1982). 12 proceedings, requiring that state appellate review of a state court 13 judgment be exhausted before federal court intervention is 14 permitted. 15 (1975). 16 The rationale of Younger applies throughout appellate See Huffman v. Pursue, Ltd., 420 U.S. 592, 607-11 Here, the Court declines, under Younger, to intervene in 17 Plaintiff's ongoing appellate proceedings before the California 18 Supreme Court. 19 Plaintiff's challenges to the California Supreme Court's policy and 20 these two cases are DISMISSED without prejudice. 21 Accordingly, the Court will abstain from addressing CONCLUSION 22 For the foregoing reasons, the Court orders as follows: 23 1. The following nine actions are DISMISSED without leave to 24 amend for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be 25 granted: Bonilla v. Lively, C 11-3180; Bonilla v. Goodman, C 11- 26 3260; Bonilla v. Baptist, et al., C 11-3398; Bonilla v. FBI, C 11- 27 3631; Bonilla v. Pacific Growers, C 11-4334; Bonilla v. Baptist, et 28 al., C 11-4335; Bonilla v. Keyes, C 11-4534; Bonilla v. Rand 6 1 2 Investigation, C 11-4731; Bonilla v. Rule, C 11-4737 CW. 2. The following two actions are DISMISSED without prejudice 3 on abstention grounds: Bonilla v. Supreme Court of Cal., C 11-3181; 4 Bonilla v. Supreme Court of Cal., C 11-3441. 5 3. In light of the above dismissals for failure to state a 6 claim upon which relief may be granted, Plaintiff is advised that 7 he will not be permitted to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) in any 8 future civil action he files in this Court, as set forth in 28 9 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Specifically, under that section, a prisoner may United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 not bring a civil action IFP "if the prisoner has, on 3 or more 11 prior occasions, while incarcerated or detained in any facility, 12 brought an action or appeal in a court of the United States that 13 was dismissed on the grounds that it is frivolous, malicious, or 14 fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, unless the 15 prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical injury." 16 U.S.C. § 1915(g). 17 28 Consequently, Plaintiff will be required to pay the full 18 $350.00 filing fee at the time of filing any future civil action 19 unless he meets the "imminent danger" exception. 20 4. The Clerk of the Court shall enter judgment in each of 21 the above civil rights actions, terminate all pending motions 22 therein, and close the files. 23 file a copy of this Order in C 08-0471. The Clerk of the Court also shall 24 IT IS SO ORDERED. 25 Dated: 10/25/2011 26 CLAUDIA WILKEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 27 28 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 1 2 3 STEVEN W BONILLA, Case Number: CV11-03180 CW 4 Plaintiff, CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE 5 v. 6 DAVID LIVELY et al, 7 Defendant. 8 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 / I, the undersigned, hereby certify that I am an employee in the Office of the Clerk, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. That on October 25, 2011, I SERVED a true and correct copy(ies) of the attached, by placing said copy(ies) in a postage paid envelope addressed to the person(s) hereinafter listed, by depositing said envelope in the U.S. Mail, or by placing said copy(ies) into an inter-office delivery receptacle located in the Clerk's office. 13 14 16 Steven Wayne Bonilla J-48500 San Quentin State Prison San Quentin, CA 94964 17 Dated: October 25, 2011 15 18 Richard W. Wieking, Clerk By: Nikki Riley, Deputy Clerk 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 8

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