United States District Court, N.D. California
April 26, 2004.
STEVE WOODRUFF, Plaintiff,
MARK I. BLANKENSHIP, Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: MAXINE CHESNEY, District Judge
ORDER OF DISMISSAL;
VACATING CLERK'S NOTICE
Plaintiff Steve Woodruff, a California prisoner proceeding pro se, has
filed the above-titled civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
against the attorney who represented him at his criminal trial, claiming
he was provided ineffective assistance of counsel. The remedy he seeks is
a new trial.
A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in
which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review,
the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that
are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. See id. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings, however, must be
liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't 901 F.2d 696,
699 (9th Cir. 1988).
Plaintiff's complaint challenges the validity of his conviction on the
grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. Any claim by a prisoner
attacking the validity or duration of his confinement must be brought under the habeas sections of Title 28
of the United States Code. See Calderon v. Ashmus, 523 U.S. 740, 747
(1998); Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973). A prisoner must
bring a habeas petition where, as here, the nature of his claim is such
that it would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or
continuing confinement. Butterfield v. Bail, 120 F.3d 1023, 1024 (9th
Accordingly, the above-titled action is hereby DISMISSED, see Trimble
v. City of Santa Rosa, 49 F.3d 583, 586 (9th Cir. 1995) (holding civil
rights complaint seeking habeas relief should be dismissed), without
prejudice to plaintiff's raising his claims in a petition for a writ of
In light of this dismissal, the Clerk's notice of deficiency regarding
the filing fee, filed April 15, 2004, is hereby VACATED, and no filing
fee shall be due.
The Clerk shall close the file and terminate any pending motions.
IT IS SO ORDERED.