UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
July 19, 2011
JUDGE CHRISTINE K. GOLDSMITH, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS JUSTICE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT OF SAN DIEGO COUNTY,
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Michael M. Anello United States District Judge
ORDER: GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS; [Doc. No. 2]
SUA SPONTE DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE
On July 5, 2011, Plaintiff Esmaeil Farshi, proceeding pro se, filed the instant action in federal court. [Doc. No. 1.] Plaintiff also submitted a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP").
I. Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
All parties instituting any civil action, suit or proceeding in a district court of the United States, except an application for writ of habeas corpus, must pay a filing fee of $350. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). An action may proceed despite a plaintiff's failure to prepay the entire fee only if the plaintiff is granted leave to proceed IFP under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). See Rodriguez v. Cook, 169 F.3d 1176, 1177 (9th Cir. 1999).
According to Plaintiff's declaration, he is currently unemployed, with no significant sources of income or assets. [Doc. No. 2.] The Court has reviewed Plaintiff's affidavit of assets and finds it is sufficient to show that Plaintiff is unable to pay the fees or post securities required to maintain this action. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed IFP under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).
II. Initial Screening Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)
When a court authorizes the commencement of an action by granting IFP status, the court is also obligated to dismiss the case "at any time" upon making a determination that the action "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000) ("It is also clear that section 1915(e) not only permits but requiresa district to dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint that fails to state a claim." (emphasis added)); Calhoun v. Stahl, 254 F.3d 845, 845 (9th Cir. 2001) (per curiam) (finding that the provisions of § 1915(e)(2)(B) "are not limited to prisoners").
Plaintiff brings his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his rights as guaranteed under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. [Doc. No. 1.] According to Plaintiff, Defendant Christine K. Goldsmith, a judge of the San Diego Superior Court, violated Plaintiff's rights when she granted his ex-wife the use, control, and possession of certain real property in the course of proceedings held in family court. [Id. at p.2.] Plaintiff claims that Defendant "did not consider" certain evidence submitted regarding the impending foreclosure on his house, resulting in deprivation of property under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. [Id.] In addition, Plaintiff claims that Defendant delayed his case in court in violation of the Sixth Amendment, and restrained him from selling his property in violation of the Fourth Amendment. [Id.] Plaintiff requests injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as reimbursement for the costs of litigation. [Id. at p.3.]
Defendant is shielded from Plaintiff's claims by the doctrine of judicial immunity. It is a well-established and generally recognized principle of law "that a judicial officer, in exercising the authority vested in him, [should] be free to act upon his own convictions, without apprehension of personal consequences to himself." Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356 (1978) (quoting Bradley v. Fisher, 13 Wall. 335, 347 (1872)). As a result, "judges of courts of superior or general jurisdiction are not liable to civil actions for their judicial acts, even when such acts . . . are alleged to have been done maliciously or corruptly." Id. at 356 (quoting Breadley, 13 Wall. at 351).
The only relevant inquiry for determining whether a defendant judge is immune in any given instance "is whether at the time he took the challenged action he had jurisdiction over the subject matter before him." Id. Here, Defendant, as a judge in a court of general jurisdiction, was not acting outside of her authority in issuing an order regarding the distribution of assets between Plaintiff and his ex-wife. Therefore, Defendant is entitled to absolute immunity for any actions taken in her official capacity, and Plaintiff cannot state a valid claim against her under § 1983. See Olsen v. Idaho Bd. of Med., 363 F.3d 916, 922 (9th Cir. 2004).
Accordingly, Plaintiff's Complaint is hereby DISMISSED with prejudice. The Clerk of the Court is ordered to close the file.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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