UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
March 30, 2011
MARY CHARLES ROBINSON,
SAN DIEGO FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEY PAUL PFINGST, IN HIS PROFESSIONAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES; GREG S. MAIZLISH, PUBLIC DEFENDER IN HIS PROFESSIONAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES; BILL KOLENDER, SAN DIEGO COUNTY SHERIFF, IN HIS PROFESSIONAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES; LENICE JOY LOPEZ, SAN DIEGO COUNTY SHERIFF, IN HER PROFESSIONAL "SHERIFF DETECTIVE" AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge:
The matters before the Court are the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 30) filed by Defendant Paul Pfingst ("Pfingst") and the Motion to Disqualify District Judge of Southern District California Judge William Q. Hayes and all District Court Judges of California (ECF No. 32) filed by Mary Charles Robinson ("Plaintiff").
On August 13, 2010, Plaintiff initiated this action by filing the Complaint. (ECF No. 1). On September 10, 2010, Defendants Greg S. Maizlish, Bill Kolender, and Joy Lopez filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint. (ECF No. 8). On January 24, 2011, this Court issued an Order granting the Motion to Dismiss as to Defendants Greg S. Maizlish, Bill Kolender, and Joy Lopez on the grounds that Plaintiff's civil rights Complaint is barred by the statute of limitations and is barred because a judgment in Plaintiff's favor would necessarily imply her conviction was invalid. (ECF No. 28).
On February 1, 2011, Defendant Paul Pfingst filed a Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 30). On February 17, 2011, Plaintiff filed the Motion to Disqualify District Judge of Southern District California Judge William Q. Hayes and all District Court Judges of California (ECF No. 32). On March 3, 2011, Defendant Pfingst filed an Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion. (ECF No. 34).
I. Motion to Disqualify filed by Plaintiff Robinson
Plaintiff contends that this Court should be disqualified pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 455(a)-(b). (ECF No. 32 at 2). Plaintiff contends that the Court's dismissal of Defendants from her Complaint is evidence of bias and prejudice against Plaintiff. Plaintiff contends that this Court's dismissal of Defendants Greg S. Maizlish, Bill Kolender, and Joy Lopez violated criminal law.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 455(a), a district judge "shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned." 28 U.S.C. § 455(a). Pursuant to § 455(b), a district judge must also disqualify himself "[w]here he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding." 28 U.S.C. § 455(b). The standard for recusal under § 455 is "whether a reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts would conclude that the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned." Mayes v. Leipziger, 729 F.2d 605, 607 (9th Cir. 1984) (internal quotations omitted). "[J]udicial rulings alone almost never constitute [a] valid basis for a bias or partiality motion." Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994).
In this case, the Plaintiff's sole basis for asserting that this Court should disqualify is her disagreement with the Court's prior rulings in this case. Plaintiff has failed to show that "a reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts would conclude that [this Court's] impartiality might reasonably be questioned." Mayes, 729 F.2d at 607. The Motion to Disqualify (ECF No. 32) is DENIED.
II. Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Pfingst
Plaintiff asserts a civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking compensatory damages in the amount of $100,000,000 and punitive damages in the amount of $100,000,000 for Constitutional violations during her arrest, detention, confinement. (ECF No. 1 at 1, 33-34). Plaintiff asserts claims for the following: (1) retaliation against Plaintiff for "accusing Stafford, [Virginia] Department of Social Services of in differential (sic) treatment" by maliciously extraditing and prosecuting her with "no probable cause"; (2) wrongful arrest and "finding [Plaintiff] guilty before trial;" (3) conspiracy to deny Plaintiff her Constitutional rights by arresting, detaining, and extraditing her; (4) malicious abuse of process because Defendants knew that "the complaint initiated was groundless;" (5) and denial of access to the courts because "attempts at seeking relief in State and Federal Courts were thwarted by refusing to hear claim, restricting pro se litigation and den[ying] publically financed assistance." Id. at 25-33.
The Complaint alleges that Defendant Paul Pfingst was the District Attorney of the County of San Diego. On October 2, 2000, Plaintiff was indicted in Stafford, Virginia and charged with false application and welfare fraud. Id. at ¶¶ 1-2. On January 19, 2001, Plaintiff's bond was revoked and the Governor of Virginia issued a warrant for her arrest. Id. at ¶¶ 5, 7. On April 24, 2001, the Governor of California issued a warrant for Plaintiff's arrest. Id. at ¶ 9. On March 20, 2001, Plaintiff was "first apprehended" on the charges from Virginia while she was incarcerated in Riverside, California. Id. at ¶ 11. On March 23, 2010, Plaintiff declined to sign a waiver of extradition. Id. at ¶ 12. A fugitive complaint was filed against her and "San Diego County District Attorney and Stafford County Commonwealth deprived [Plaintiff] the right to access the courts." Id at ¶¶ 13-14, 18. A copy of the fugitive complaint was filed in the San Diego Superior Court which contained the signature of Sheriff Detective Lenice Joy Lopez and did not contain a signature from a District Attorney; therefore, Lopez "impersonated a district Attorney." Id. at ¶¶ 21, 27. "[The abuse was intentionally committed by San Diego, County, District Attorney [Pfinsgt] ...." Id. at ¶ 31.
The Complaint alleges that on April 18, 2002, a California governor's warrant was filed which included "a totally different charge" against Plaintiff. Id. at ¶ 24. Defendants "worked in concert to deceive the Court and change the charge to read differently . to extradite [Plaintiff] illegally to Stafford, Virginia. Id. at ¶ 25. On December 3, 2001, Plaintiff "was forced to sign [a] plea agreement .." Id. at ¶ 105. Defendants knew that the charges against Plaintiff were "groundless." Id. at ¶ 138. Plaintiff claims that her "attempts in seeking relief in State and Federal Court were thwarted ...." Id. at ¶ 141.
Defendant Pfingst seeks to dismiss the Complaint on the grounds that the Plaintiff challenges a state court conviction which has not been invalidated, that Plaintiff's claims are time-barred, and that the claims against Pfingst rely on supervisory liability.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits dismissal for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate where the complaint lacks a cognizable legal theory or sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
To sufficiently state a claim to relief and survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations" but the "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)). When considering a motion to dismiss, a court must accept as true all "well-pleaded factual allegations." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, --- U.S. ----, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009). "[F]or a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory factual content, and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief." Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009) (quotations omitted).
To determine the statute of limitations applicable to a claim brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the court applies the statute of limitations for personal injury in the forum state. Maldonado v. Harris, 370 F.3d 945, 954 (9th Cir. 2004) (citing Azer v. Connell, 306 F.3d 930, 936 (9th Cir. 2002)). The time for bringing a personal injury claim in California and Virginia is within two years. Cal. Code Civ. P. § 335.1; Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-243. Plaintiff was convicted on December 3, 2002. Plaintiff's claim stems from her conviction. Plaintiff filed this Complaint on August 13, 2010. The Court concludes that Plaintiff's civil rights Complaint is barred by the statute of limitations and the Complaint fails to allege sufficient facts to support a claim that the statute of limitations should be tolled.
In addition, "[w]hen a plaintiff who has been convicted of a crime under state law seeks damages in a § 1983 suit, the district court must consider whether a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence. If the answer is yes, the suit is barred." Hooper v. County of San Diego, --- F.3d ----, 2011 WL 9732, at *2 (9th Cir. 2011) (quotations omitted). Plaintiff "must demonstrate the invalidity of his confinement before [s]he is entitled to relief" regardless of whether the Complaint seeks damages or equitable relief. Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82 (2005); Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487 (1994); Butterfield v. Bail, 120 F.3d 1023, 1024 (9th Cir. 1997) (discussing Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641 (1997)). "[W]here 'establishing the basis for the damages claim necessarily demonstrates the invalidity of the conviction,' a § 1983 action will not lie 'unless ... the conviction or sentence has already been invalidated[.]'" Wilkinson, 544 U.S. at 80 (quoting Heck, 512 U.S. at 487). Harvey v. Waldron, 210 F.3d 1008, 1015 (9th Cir.2000).
Plaintiff seeks damages under § 1983 for Constitutional violations related to her conviction. A judgment in Plaintiff's favor would necessarily imply her conviction was invalid. See Hooper, 2011 WL 9732, at *2. Plaintiff has failed to allege in her Complaint that her conviction has previously been invalidated; therefore, Plaintiff's claims for damages are barred. Wilkinson, 544 U.S. at 81-82. Defendant Pfingst's Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT: (1) the Motion to Disqualify District Judge of Southern District California Judge William Q. Hayes and all District Court Judges of California (ECF No. 32) filed by Mary Charles Robinson is DENIED; and (2) the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 30) filed by Defendant Paul Pfingst is GRANTED. The Clerk shall close the case.
WILLIAM Q. HAYES United States District Judge
© 1992-2011 VersusLaw Inc.