Royland v. Lewis et al

Filing 8

ORDER OF DISMISSAL. For the foregoing reasons, the complaint is DISMISSED without leave to amend for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted and as frivolous. Signed by Judge Edward J. Davila on 2/13/2013. (ecg, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/14/2013)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 ROYLAND RICE, Plaintiff, 12 13 vs. 14 BRIAN LEWIS, et al., 15 Defendants. 16 No. C 13-00175 EJD (PR) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ORDER OF DISMISSAL 17 Plaintiff, a detainee in Alameda County, filed the instant civil rights action in pro 18 19 se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.1 Plaintiff’s motion for leave to proceed in forma 20 pauperis will be granted in a separate written order. 21 DISCUSSION 22 23 A. Standard of Review A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a 24 25 prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a 26 governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify 27 1 28 It seems Plaintiff is a federal detainee, thus he brings this case pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Dismissal 00175Rice_dsm.wpd 1 1 any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a 2 claim upon which relief may be granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is 3 immune from such relief. See id. § 1915A(b)(1),(2). Pro se pleadings must, however, be 4 liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 5 1988). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential 6 7 elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was 8 violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the 9 color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). 10 11 B. Plaintiff’s Claims Named as Defendants are an Assistant United States Attorney, a United States 12 Probation Officer and several federal judges in this district. Plaintiff asserts that the 13 judges, prosecutor and probation department have conspired to detain him with respect to 14 his pending supervised release violation. Plaintiff offers no explanation why all of these 15 officials have engaged in this conspiracy. Court records indicate that in United States v. 16 Rice, 01-cr-40123 PJH, a warrant was executed against plaintiff and a supervised release 17 violation hearing is scheduled for February 20, 2013. As relief, Plaintiff seeks the 18 indictment dismissed, the warrant quashed and monetary relief. This action will be 19 dismissed as plaintiff’s criminal proceeding is ongoing and all Defendants are immune. 20 A federal judge is absolutely immune from civil liability for acts performed in her 21 judicial capacity and, unlike the judicial immunity available to state judges sued under § 22 1983, a federal judge's immunity is not limited to immunity from damages, but extends to 23 actions for declaratory, injunctive and other equitable relief. See Moore v. Brewster, 96 24 F.3d 1240, 1243 (9th Cir. 1996); Mullis v. U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 828 F.2d 1385, 1394 25 (9th Cir. 1987) (applying judicial immunity to actions under Bivens), cert. denied, 486 26 U.S. 1040 (1988). This is because if a federal judge violates a litigant's constitutional 27 rights in a proceeding pending in federal court, Congress has provided carefully 28 structured procedures for taking appeals and for petitioning for extraordinary writs in Dismissal 00175Rice_dsm.wpd 2 1 Title 28 of the United States Code. See id. The Ninth Circuit has held that probation officers possess an absolute judicial 2 3 immunity from damage suits under § 1983 for official functions bearing a close 4 association to the judicial process. Demoran v. Witt, 781 F.2d 155, 156-58 (9th Cir. 5 1985). The prosecutor is absolutely immune from a suit for damages when he functions 6 as an advocate in initiating a prosecution and presenting the government's case. Buckley 7 v. Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259, 272–73 (1993); Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430–3 8 (1976). “For purposes of immunity, we have not distinguished actions brought under 42 9 U.S.C. § 1983 against state officials from Bivens actions brought against federal 10 officials.” Antoine v. Byers & Anderson, Inc., 508 U.S. 429, 433 n. 5 (1993). There is 11 no indication that the actions of the probation officer in this case were not associated with 12 the judicial process and it is clear the prosecutor was presenting the government’s case. 13 Moreover, to the extent Plaintiff seeks damages based on the actions of 14 Defendants, his claim amounts to an attack on the validity of his underlying criminal 15 proceedings, and as such, is not cognizable unless and until he can show that his 16 conviction has already been invalidated. Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486–87 17 (1994). The complaint will be dismissed as Plaintiff has failed to state a claim on which 18 19 relief may be granted and this action is frivolous. This case will be dismissed with 20 prejudice as it is clear that no amount of amendment will cure the deficiencies of the 21 complaint. “Under Ninth Circuit case law, district courts are only required to grant leave 22 to amend if a complaint can possibly be saved. Courts are not required to grant leave to 23 amend if a complaint lacks merit entirely.” Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th 24 Cir. 2000); Doe v. United States, 58 F.3d 494, 497 (9th Cir. 1995) (“a district court 25 should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was made, unless it 26 determines that the pleading could not be cured by the allegation of other facts.”). 27 /// 28 /// Dismissal 00175Rice_dsm.wpd 3 CONCLUSION 1 2 3 For the foregoing reasons, the complaint is DISMISSED without leave to amend for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted and as frivilous. 4 5 DATED: 2/13/2013 EDWARD J. DAVILA United States District Judge 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Dismissal 00175Rice_dsm.wpd 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA ROYLAND RICE, Case Number CV 13-00175 EJD (PR) Plaintiff, CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE v. BRIAN LEWIS, et al., Defendants. / I, the undersigned, hereby certify that I am an employee in the Office of the Clerk, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. 2/14/213 That on ______________________________, 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) inter-office delivery receptacle located in the Clerk's office. Royland Rice UEQ - 820 The Glenn E. Dyer Detention Facility 550 - 6th Street Oakland, CA 94607 2/14/2013 DATED: ________________________ Richard W. Wieking, Clerk /s/ By: Elizabeth Garcia, Deputy Clerk

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