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Newton v. San Quentin State Prison

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

October 30, 2013

CARDELL NEWTON, Plaintiff,
v.
SAN QUENTIN STATE PRISON, Defendant.

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1915

JOSEPH C. SPERO, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, a former prisoner, filed this action against San Quentin State Prison, asserting claims for negligence and violation of his right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Having previously granted Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, the Court now considers whether Plaintiff's Complaint must be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), which requires dismissal of an in forma pauperis complaint that is frivolous or malicious or fails to state a claim. Plaintiff has consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that Plaintiff fails to state a federal claim and therefore, that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action. Accordingly, the Court dismisses Plaintiff's complaint with leave to amend. The Case Management Conference set for Friday, November 8, 2013 is vacated.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint

Plaintiff's claims in this action are based on the following factual allegations:

On December 10, 2008, at San Quentin State Prison in Badge Section between Hours of 9:00 and 9:30 pm. Correctional Officer Curzen picked up Plaintiff Cardell Newton's legal Mail that was addressed to United States District Court, 450 Golden Gate Ave., 16th floor San Francisco, California 94102. Also Correctional Officer Curzen asked the Plaintiff Cardell Newton to let him see the content that was in the legal mail, then Correctional Officer Curzen told the Plaintiff Cardell Newton to put the content back in the envelop and seal it in front of him. Then Correctional Officer Curzen took the legal mail that was addressed to United States District Court, 450 Golden Gate Ave. 16th floor San Francisco, California 94102. Correctional Officer Curzen then turned the letter over; he signed and dated the legal mail in front of Plaintiff Cardell Newton. Correctional Officer Curzen also showed the Plaintiff Cardell Newton where he signed it and dated it.
While the Plaintiff Cardell Newton had a deadline December 12, 2008 in United States District Court, Judge Jeremy Fogel's Courtroom. The legal mail was given to Correctional Officer Curzen on December 10, 2008. However, the United States District Clerk's office received the legal document that was addressed to them on December 16, 2008. Four days past the Plaintiff Cardell Newton's deadline of December 12, 2008.

Complaint at 2.

Plaintiff further alleges:

Now even though Judge Fogel dismissed the Plaintiff's petition on August 21, 2008. The Judge dismiss the Plaintiff's petition without prejudice, the judge also stated in his report that the plaintiff Cardell Newton could still re-file a new action in which he either pay the filing fee or file a completed if (in forma pauperis).
The Plaintiff Cardell Newton still had a deadline of December 12, 2008 to pay the filing fee so that the plaintiff could still proceed with his appeal. The plaintiff mailed his legal mail that was addressed to United States District Court, 450 Golden Gate Ave. 16th floor San Francisco, California 94102 on December 10, 2008. Now if the San Rafael United States Postal Service in Marin County would have post dated the 11th or the 12th of December 2008 the United States District Court, 450 Golden Gate Ave. 16th floor San Francisco, California 94102 would have honor the post mark date and would have allowed the plaintiff to proceed with his appeal.
However, the Defendant San Quentin did not mail the Plaintiff's legal mail off until the 15th of December 2008, which was three days past the plaintiff's deadline December 12, 2008. Now if the defendant would have mailed the plaintiff's legal mail off the following work day [like] it states in the title 15. pg. 78 section 3615(a) the defendant would not be legally responsible. If the Defendant had mailed the Plaintiff's legal mail off the following working day, the plaintiff would have his right to try to get his conviction overturned.

Id. at 4. Plaintiff also quotes California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Article 6, Section 3615(a) at p. 78, which sets forth the procedures for processing outgoing legal mail in California prisons. Id. at 2-3.[1] According to Plaintiff, because the mail was delivered to the Court after the Court's deadline, he was denied "the right to contest a conviction [] [w]hich left the ...


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