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Chambers v. Shaver

February 17, 2009

EDWIN JAMES CHAMBERS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DONALD SHAVER, JUDGE, AND STANISLAUS COUNTY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION

Plaintiff Edwin James Chambers ("Plaintiff") is incarcerated in Mule Creek State Prison. Proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, he filed the instant action on February 4, 2009. For the reasons stated below, the Court recommends that Plaintiff's complaint be dismissed without leave to amend.

DISCUSSION

A. Screening Standard

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the court must conduct an initial review of the complaint for sufficiency to state a claim. The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the court determines that the action is legally "frivolous or malicious," fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). If the court determines that the complaint fails to state a claim, leave to amend may be granted to the extent that the deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by amendment.

In reviewing a complaint under this standard, the Court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question (Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Trustees of Rex Hospital, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976)), construe the pro se pleadings liberally in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff (Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000)), and resolve all doubts in the Plaintiff's favor (Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969)).

B. Allegations

Plaintiff is incarcerated in state prison following his plea in 2006 in proceedings held before the Stanislaus County Superior Court. He attempts to bring this section 1983 action against Judge Donald Shaver and Stanislaus County as Judge Shaver's employer. More particularly, he alleges that Judge Shaver violated the plea agreement by imposing a $5,000.00 restitution fine because the plea agreement called for, and Plaintiff agreed to pay, $100.00 in restitution. (Comp., at 3, ¶ 4.)

Plaintiff seeks relief in the form of an order requiring the sentencing court to follow the plea agreement, or, in the alternative, a new trial. Further, he seeks to have the $5,000.00 fine "removed." (Comp., at 3, ¶ 5.)

C. Analysis

1. Immunity

State court judges and prosecutors are immune from liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Olsen v. Idaho State Bd. of Medicine, 363 F.3d 916, 922 (9th Cir. 2004) ("Absolute immunity is generally accorded to judges and prosecutors functioning in their official capacities"); Schucker v. Rockwood, 846 F.2d 1202, 1204 (9th Cir. 1988); Ashelman v. Pope, 793 F.2d 1072, 1075 (9th Cir.1986) (holding that judges and prosecutors are immune from liability for damages under § 1983); Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 418 (1976). Therefore, Defendant Shaver is entitled to immunity.

2. Municipalities & State Governments

The Ninth Circuit has held that "[a] person 'subjects' another to the deprivation of a constitutional right, within the meaning of section 1983, if he does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative acts or omits to perform an act which he is legally required to do that causes the deprivation of which the complaint is made." Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978). Thus, the requisite causal connection can be established not only by some kind of direct personal participation, but also by setting in motion a series of acts by other which the actor knows or reasonably should know would cause others to inflict the constitutional injury. Id. This standard of ...


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