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Carroll v. George Bailey Detention Facility

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

September 20, 2013

ABONILICO LAMAR CARROLL, Inmate Booking No. 12584822, Plaintiff,
v.
GEORGE BAILEY DETENTION FACILITY; DEPUTY WHITE; DEPUTY GARCIA; DEPUTY PRICE, Defendants.

ORDER: (1) GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS; AND (2) DISMISSING COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) & 1915A(b)

JANIS L. SAMMARTINO, District Judge.

Plaintiff, currently housed at George Bailey Detention Facility located in San Diego, California, and proceeding pro se, has filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In addition, Plaintiff has filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (IFP) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). (ECF No. 4.)

I. MOTION TO PROCEED IFP

A. Legal Standard

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 party's failure to pay only if the party is granted leave to proceed IFP pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). See Andrews v. Cervantes, 493 F.3d 1047, 1051 (9th Cir. 2007); Rodriguez v. Cook, 169 F.3d 1176, 1177 (9th Cir. 1999). Prisoners granted leave to proceed IFP, however, remain obligated to pay the entire fee in installments, regardless of whether the action is ultimately dismissed for any reason. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) & (2).

B. Analysis

The Court finds that Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit that complies with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), and that he has attached a certified copy of his trust account statement pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2) and S.D. CAL. CIVLR 3.2. Plaintiff's trust account statement shows that he has insufficient funds from which to pay an initial partial filing fee. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed IFP (ECF No. 4) and assesses no initial partial filing fee per 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).

II. SCREENING PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) & 1915A(b)

A. Legal Standard

The Prison Litigation Reform Act's ("PLRA") amendments to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 also obligate the Court to review complaints filed by all persons proceeding IFP and by those, like Plaintiff, who are "incarcerated or detained in any facility [and] accused of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for, violations of criminal law or the terms or conditions of parole, probation, pretrial release, or diversionary program, " "as soon as practicable after docketing." See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A(b). Under these provisions, the Court must sua sponte dismiss any prisoner civil action and all other IFP complaints, or any portions thereof, that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek damages from defendants who are immune. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A; Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc); Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 446 n.1 (9th Cir. 2000).

B. Analysis

(i) Fourth Amendment Claim

While not entirely clear, it appears that Plaintiff is alleging that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when he was subjected to a strip search. The Fourth Amendment applies to a jail or prison's policy of strip searches of inmates. See Bull v. City of San Francisco, 595 F.3d 964, 974-75 (9th Cir. 2010) (en banc). When determining whether Plaintiff has stated a Fourth Amendment claim for an unreasonable search, the Court looks to whether the strip search was "reasonably related to legitimate penological interests." Id. (citing Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89 (1987)). "The reasonableness of a search is determined by reference to its context." Id. at 971 (citing Michenfelder v. Sumner, 860 F.2d 328, 332 (9th Cir. 1988)). Prison officials must be accorded "wide-ranging deference in the adoption and execution of policies and practices that in their judgment are needed to preserve internal order and discipline and to maintain institutional security." Id. at 974; see also Florence v. Bd. of Chose Freeholders of Cnty. of Burlington, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 1510 (2012).

Plaintiff does not allege with any specificity that there were no "legitimate penological interests" at play here. Id. Furthermore, there are insufficient factual allegations with regard to the strip search itself. It appears that Plaintiff is arguing that there was no basis for the strip search and, while he states he was naked for an unknown period of time, there are no facts from which the Court could find that the strip search itself was unreasonable. The Court finds that Plaintiff's claims do not rise to the level of a strip search that was "excessive, vindictive, harassing or unrelated to any legitimate penological interest." Michenfelder, 860 ...


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