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Foss v. U.S. Marshals Service

March 25, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Carlos T. Bea Circuit Judge Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Order re 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Complaint

Plaintiff Raymond Foss, a California prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a claim for damages in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) against various officials of South Carolina, California, and the United States. Foss alleges he was unlawfully extradited from South Carolina to California in violation of his substantive due process and extradition rights. Foss names the following defendants in his Complaint: Unknown U.S. Marshals; Redding (California) Police Department Officer Todd Rowen; Fort Mill (South Carolina) Police Department Lieutenant Charles Robinson; Fort Mill Police Department Corporal Wilkins; Fort Mill Police Department Sergeant Lucas; Fort Mill Police Department Officer Ervin; Fort Mill Municipal Judge L. Dan Malphrus, Jr.; and Unknown York County (South Carolina) Sheriff's Deputies. The Court enters the following Order.

I. Background

Foss filed his Complaint on August 4, 2008. (Docket No. 1.) The case was assigned to a magistrate judge and then a district court judge before being reassigned to Judge Carlos T. Bea of the Ninth Circuit, who sits by designation. (Docket No. 7.)

Foss's Complaint alleges as follows. On December 1, 2004, the Superior Court for Shasta County, California, issued a felony arrest warrant for Raymond Foss.*fn1 (Compl. 5 & Exh. E.) Officer Rowen-a Redding (California) Police Department employee-learned Foss was residing in Fort Mill, South Carolina. (Id. at 5.) On January 5, 2005, Officer Rowen contacted Lieutenant Robinson-a Fort Mill Police Department employee-and told him Foss was wanted by the Redding Police Department and was living in Fort Mill. (Id.) Officer Rowen told Lieutenant Robinson that the Redding Police Department would extradite Foss to California if South Carolina authorities could apprehend him. (Id.)

Lieutenant Robinson "performed [a National Crime Information Center] check and obtained a copy of the California warrant via fax to confirm that Foss was sought by [the Redding Police Department]." (Id.) Then, he obtained a South Carolina fugitive arrest warrant from Judge Malphrus, a municipal court judge. (Id. at 6 & Exh. G.) The arrest warrant states that probable cause was based on the California felony arrest warrant. (Id. at Exh. G.)

On January 7, 2005, Corporal Wilkins, Sergeant Lucas, and Officer Ervin-Fort Mill Police Department employees-served the fugitive warrant on Foss at his Fort Mill residence. (Id. at 6.) They arrested Foss and transported him to the Fort Mill Police Department. (Id.) "Judge Malphrus, acting as an extension of law enforcement, confronted [Foss] while in the Police Department holding cell. Judge Malphrus presented [Foss] with a waiver of extradition and required that [he] sign the form." (Id. at 6--7.) Foss was then transported to the York County (South Carolina) Detention Facility. (Id. at 7.)

Sometime after January 18, 2005, deputies from the U.S. Marshals Service arrived at the York County Detention Facility to transport Foss to California. (Id.) At that time, "[t]he U.S. Marshals Service was not designated by the Governor of California to transfer and transport [Foss] from York County, South Carolina to [California]." (Id.) Nevertheless, York County Sheriff's Deputies "relinquished custody to the U.S. Marshals Service and [Foss] was subsequently transported to California." (Id.)

On September 8, 2005, Foss was convicted by a California jury.*fn2 (Id. at 9.) He is currently incarcerated at Mule Creek State Prison in California. (Id. at 3.)

II. Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

On August 4, 2008, Foss filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis. (Docket No. 1.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), Foss filed an adequate affidavit in support of his application, along with a certified copy of his prison trust account statement. (Docket No. 2.) Accordingly, the Court allows Foss to proceed in this matter in forma pauperis.

III. 28 U.S.C § 1915A Screening

Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 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. Id. § 1915A(b)(1)--(2); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). Where a ...

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