Castellanos et al v. State of California et al

Filing 100

ORDER Re Disputed Instruction 9.29. Signed by Judge Jeffrey S. White on June 16, 2016. (jswlc3S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/16/2016)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 EDIN S. CASTELLANOS, Plaintiff, 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Case No. 15-cv-00272-JSW COURT'S TENTATIVE RULING REGARDING DISPUTED FINAL INSTRUCTION 9.29 v. JEREMY J. MAYA, Defendant. 12 13 The Court has considered the parties’ briefs regarding disputed final instruction 9.29. The 14 Court is tentatively inclined to give a modified version of Model Instruction 9.29, and it is inclined 15 to base the description of the claim on Defendant’s proposed language. 16 The Court also is inclined to find that a conviction is not an element of the claim based on 17 Devereaux v. Abbey, 263 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir. 2001) (the “Devereaux claim”). Although Defendant 18 faults Plaintiff for not providing any authority in support of his position that a conviction is not an 19 element, Defendant also has not cited this Court to any cases that address whether a conviction is 20 an element of the claim in the context of a dispute over jury instructions. Defendant has cited to 21 Gantt v. City of Los Angeles, 717 F.3d 702 (9th Cir. 2013). Although the Gantt case is a jury 22 instruction case, in that case, the court addressed the district court’s instructions on the question of 23 whether the defendant’s conduct “shocked the conscience.” 24 Defendant also cites the Court to Lisker v. City of Los Angeles, No. CV09-09374, 2013 25 WL 1276047, at *15, (C.D. Cal. Feb. 3, 2013) The Lisker case also is not a jury instruction case, 26 and although in that case the defendant had been convicted, the court makes no mention of 27 conviction as an element of the claim. It merely states that the use of the allegedly fabricated 28 evidence at trial “likely affected the jury’s verdict.” . 1 2 The Court is aware that model instruction 9.29 uses the term “convict,” and in general the 3 Court is inclined to follow the model instructions as drafted. In Devereaux, the Ninth Circuit 4 relied in part to reach its holding on Pyle v. Kansas, 317 U.S. 213, 216 (1942). The Devereaux 5 court stated that in Pyle, the Supreme Court held that “the knowing use by the prosecution of 6 perjured testimony in order to secure a criminal conviction violates the Constitution.” Devereaux, 7 263 F.3d at 1075. The Ninth Circuit went on to state that, “[w]hile Pyle does not deal specifically 8 with the bringing of criminal charges, as opposed to the securing of a conviction, we find that the 9 wrongfulness of charging someone on the basis of deliberately fabricated evidence is sufficiently obvious, and Pyle is sufficiently analogous, that the right to be free from such charges is a 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 constitutional right.” Id. (emphasis added). 12 That proposition was recently reiterated in Bradford v. Scherschligt, 803 F.3d 382, 388 13 (9th Cir. 2015). In Bradford, the court stated that the right at issue in “a Devereaux claim is the 14 right to be free from criminal charges based on a claim of deliberately fabricated evidence.” Id. at 15 388. Although the Bradford court was not called upon to consider jury instructions, it stated that 16 “[i]f Bradford’s original 1996 trial had resulted in an acquittal, his Devereaux claim would have 17 accrued on the date the charges against him were dismissed.” Id. at 388 (court has emphasized the 18 word acquittal). That language suggests that a conviction is not an element of the claim. 19 To the extent the Defendant argues that a conviction is required to distinguish a Devereaux 20 claim from a malicious prosecution claim, the Court is not persuaded. Rather, it appears that the 21 difference between the two types of claims relates to a defendant’s level of culpability on a claim 22 based on a substantive due process violation under the Fourteenth Amendment, which the Court 23 discusses in more detail below. 24 Accordingly, the Court is inclined to modify the current version of the model instruction as 25 follows: “The defendant, Jeremy Maya, deliberately fabricated evidence that was used to bring 26 criminal charges against plaintiff, Edin Castellanos.” 27 28 The Court also is inclined to give a modified version of the second paragraph, because that is the factual theory that supports plaintiff’s claim. The Court will omit the third paragraph, both 2 1 bec cause neither party suggests using it and because it does not fit Plaintiff’ theory of t case. r e ’s the 2 Finally, the parties have not inc , cluded the “d deliberate in ndifference” language used in the 3 mo instructi odel ion. The Co is incline to use tha language. See Gantt, 7 F.3d at 7 ourt ed at 717 707-08 4 (“d process violations un due v nder the Fou urteenth Ame endment occ only whe official co cur en onduct, 5 sho ocks the conscience,” an stating tha “an officer “delibera indifferen nd at r’s ate nce” may suffice to 6 sho the conscience”). ock 7 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 If the parties wish to submit add t ditional brie efing on the C Court’s tenta ative ruling o this on ins struction, the may do so by no later than July 6, 2016. ey o , IT IS SO ORDER S RED. Da ated: June 16 2016 6, ___ __________ ___________ __________ ________ JEF FFREY S. W WHITE Un nited States D District Judg ge 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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