Mun v. Spector et al

Filing 10

ORDER - Denying Plaintiff's 9 Motion for Temporary Restraining Order filed by Jason Chae Mun by Judge Robert S. Lasnik. (MD)

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 6 7 8 9 10 11 _______________________________________ ) JASON CHAE MUN, ) ) Plaintiff, ) v. ) ) JULIE SPECTOR, et al., ) ) Defendants. ) _______________________________________) Case No. C13-0486RSL ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER 12 13 This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff’s “Notice and Motion for Ex-Parte 14 Temporary Restraining Order.” Dkt. # 9. Plaintiff asserts that an on-going criminal prosecution 15 in state court violates his First, Fourth, Sixth, Eight, and Fourteenth Amendment rights and the 16 Civil Rights Acts, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks general and punitive damages, as well as 17 preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against further prosecution. The first amended 18 complaint in the above-captioned matter (Dkt. # 8) identifies two state court judges and a King 19 County deputy prosecuting attorney as defendants. 20 Although the procedure for obtaining a temporary restraining order differs from 21 that which is applicable in the preliminary injunction context, the factors considered by the 22 Court are the same. In order to obtain preliminary injunctive relief, plaintiff must establish “that 23 he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of 24 preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the 25 public interest.” Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, 555 U.S. 7, 129 S. Ct. 365, 374 (2008). 26 ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER 1 In addition, “serious questions going to the merits and a hardship balance that tips sharply 2 towards the plaintiff can support issuance of an injunction, so long as the plaintiff also shows a 3 likelihood of irreparable injury and that the injunction is in the public interest.” Alliance for the 4 Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, 622 F.3d 1045, 1053 (9th Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks 5 omitted). 6 Having reviewed the first amended complaint and plaintiff’s motion, the Court 7 finds that he has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits because the requested 8 injunction, whether preliminary or permanent, falls squarely within the Younger abstention 9 doctrine. Federal courts generally will not intervene in a pending state criminal proceeding 10 absent extraordinary circumstances. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 45- 46 (1971). As 11 discussed by the Supreme Court in Kugler v. Helfant, 421 U.S. 117, 124 (1975): 12 13 14 15 16 The policy of equitable restraint expressed in Younger v. Harris, in short, is founded on the premise that ordinarily a pending state prosecution provides the accused a fair and sufficient opportunity for vindication of federal constitutional rights. See Steffel v. Thompson, 415 U.S. 452, 460 (1974). Only if ‘extraordinary circumstances’ render the state court incapable of fairly and fully adjudicating the federal issues before it, can there be any relaxation of the deference to be accorded to the state criminal process. 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 “[O]nly in the most unusual circumstances is a defendant entitled to have federal interposition by way of injunction or habeas corpus until after the jury comes in, judgment has been appealed from and the case concluded in the state courts.” Drury v. Cox, 457 F.2d 764, 764-65 (9th Cir.1972). See Carden v. Montana, 626 F.2d 82, 83-84 (9th Cir. 1980). Federal courts will abstain from hearing a case if (1) the state proceeding is on-going, (2) the state proceeding implicates important state interests, (3) the federal constitutional issues may be litigated in the state proceeding, and (4) allowing the federal action to proceed would effectively enjoin or interfere with the on-going state proceeding. San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee v. City of San Jose, 546 F.3d 1087, 1092 (9th Cir. 2008). ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER -2- 1 Plaintiff alleges that the charges brought against him were the result of improper 2 investigation and have been prosecuted maliciously and in bad faith, that bail was set 3 unreasonably high, that he was denied a brief recess to consult with counsel of his choice, that 4 public defenders have been permitted to insinuate themselves into the criminal prosecution on 5 his behalf, and that there have been a number of procedural and substantive errors that violate 6 due process and suggest that the presiding judicial officers are biased against him. Plaintiff has 7 not, however, provided any basis from which this Court could conclude that the state trial and 8 appellate courts are incapable of arriving at a correct disposition of the criminal matter and/or 9 that he is unable to litigate his various constitutional claims in that venue. The injunction 10 plaintiff seeks would clearly interfere with an on-going proceeding that involves critical state 11 interests, namely the enforcement of the state’s criminal laws. The four requirements for 12 Younger abstention exist, and plaintiff has failed to show extraordinary circumstances that 13 render the state court incapable of fairly and fully adjudicating the federal issues raised in this 14 litigation. Given the likelihood that abstention is appropriate, plaintiff is unable to show the 15 required likelihood of success on the merits of his claims. 16 17 18 For all of the foregoing reasons, plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order (Dkt. # 9) is DENIED. 19 20 DATED this 23rd day of April, 2013. A Robert S. Lasnik 21 22 United States District Judge 23 24 25 26 ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER -3-

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