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Thomas v. Brown

United States District Court, E.D. California

February 14, 2014

MELVIN H. THOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
BROWN, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE

DENNIS L. BECK, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Melvin H. Thomas ("Plaintiff"), a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action on June 3, 2013. The action was transferred to this Court on June 14, 2013. Plaintiff names California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Director Jeffrey Beard, and the Honorable Mark Cope as Defendants.

A. LEGAL STANDARD

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious, " that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that... the action or appeal... fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 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 , 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Id . (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

To state a claim, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Id . at 1949. This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service , 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50; Moss , 572 F.3d at 969.

B. SUMMARY OF PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS[1]

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in Corcoran State Prison in Corcoran, California.

Plaintiff's complaint is based on his contention that under Brown v Plata, the California prison system remains overcrowded and violates his Eighth Amendment rights. He alleges that Defendant Brown has refused to comply with the Supreme Court's directive to reduce California's inmate population.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Brown and Beard knew that California's prison system were overcrowded and in violation of the Eighth Amendment based on the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Plata.[2] He contends that they implemented and perpetrated systems, customs, policies and practices that have violated Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights since May 3, 2004, the date he was sentenced.

Plaintiff further alleges that Riverside County Superior Court Judge Cope, his sentencing judge, abused his discretion by knowingly sentencing Plaintiff to a prison system that was in violation of the Eighth Amendment. He contends that his Eighth Amendment rights have been violated and that his sentence was unauthorized (because a court cannot order the violation of constitutional rights) and requires reversal. He also faults Defendant Cope for failing to consider alternative sentences.

Plaintiff states that Corcoran State Prison, where he is incarcerated, is one of the facilities in violation of Brown v. Plata.

As relief, Plaintiff requests (1) punitive damages in the amount of $100, 000, 000; (2) that he be immediately released from prison; (3) that his entire criminal history be "pulled and destroyed;" and ...


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