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DUCHESNE v. COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA

United States District Court, N.D. California


November 4, 2005.

JULIAN DUCHESNE, Plaintiff(s),
v.
COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, et al., Defendant(s).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES BREYER, District Judge

ORDER OF DISMISSAL

Plaintiff, a pretrial detainee at the Santa Clara County Jail, has filed a pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking damages for allegedly unconstitutional criminal prosecution and detention. Plaintiff also seeks to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915.

DISCUSSION

  A. Standard of Review

  Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted," or "seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." Id. § 1915A(b). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed, however. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

  B. Legal Claims

  In order to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994). A claim for damages bearing that relationship to a conviction or sentence that has not been so invalidated is not cognizable under § 1983 and must be dismissed. Id. at 487.

  Heck also bars claims which necessarily implicate the validity of pending criminal charges. See Harvey v. Waldron, 210 F.3d 1008, 1014 (9th Cir. 2000). Civil claims which necessarily implicate the validity of pending criminal charges, as do plaintiff's civil claims here, do not accrue until after one has succeeded in the criminal realm. See id. (citing Heck). Plaintiff's allegations therefore fail to state a cognizable claim under § 1983 and must be DISMISSED without prejudice. See Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 649 (1997); Trimble v. City of Santa Rosa, 49 F.3d 583, 585 (9th Cir. 1995).*fn1 CONCLUSION

  For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis (doc # 2) is DENIED and the instant allegations are DISMISSED without prejudice to reasserting them in a new complaint if a cause of action accrues. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

  The clerk shall enter judgment in accordance with this order, terminate all pending motions as moot and close the file. No fee is due.

  SO ORDERED.

20051104

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