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Pearline Hood v. Fresno County District Attorney

April 30, 2012

PEARLINE HOOD,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
FRESNO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

SECOND SCREENING ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR COUNSEL AND DISMISSING ACTION, WITH PREJUDICE, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM UNDER SECTION 1983 (Doc. 7) ORDER THAT DISMISSAL IS SUBJECT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(G)

Second Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement and Standard

Plaintiff Pearline Hood, a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on February 15, 2012. On March 15, 2012, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint, with leave to amend, for failure to state a clam. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on April 18, 2012.

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, courts "are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences." Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are still entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor, but the pleading standard is now higher, Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted), and to survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II. Discussion

A. Allegations

Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated at the Fresno County Jail, brings this suit against the Fresno County District Attorney, Department II.*fn1 Plaintiff alleges that she left court on December 20, 2011, for medical reasons, and Judge Penner issued a bench warrant and set her bail for a misdemeanor at $480,000.00. Plaintiff also alleges that with her very limited access to legal books or assistance, her only recourse is to mail requests for documents to the Fresno Superior Court, but no response has been received. As relief, Plaintiff seeks to put an end to the imposition of "outrageous bail" for basic misdemeanors and she seeks access to the law library. (Doc. 7, Amend. Comp., § V.)

B. Excessive Bail

In her original complaint, Plaintiff also named the State of California and Fresno County Superior Court. Having been informed that the Fresno County Superior Court is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity and Judge Penner is entitled to judicial immunity, the District Attorney is now the only defendant named.

Section 1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of Plaintiff's constitutional or other federal rights by persons acting under color of state law. Nurre v. Whitehead, 580 F.3d 1087, 1092 (9th Cir 2009); Long v. County of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006); Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). To state a claim, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendantpersonally participated in the deprivation of her rights. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-78; Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-21 (9th Cir. 2010); Ewing v. City of Stockton, 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th Cir. 2009); Jones, 297 F.3d at 934.

While under certain narrow circumstances excessive bail may violate the Constitution, Galen v. County of Los Angeles, 477 F.3d 652, 659-61 (9th Cir. 2007), Plaintiff's amended complaint pleads insufficient facts to support a plausible claim for relief and there is no suggestion the District Attorney, or the Deputy District Attorney assigned to Plaintiff's case, ...


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