United States District Court, N.D. California
November 4, 2005.
JULIAN DUCHESNE, Plaintiff(s),
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.
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.
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
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