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Daniel v. Santa Rosa Junior College

United States District Court, N.D. California

February 27, 2014



JEFFREY S. WHITE, District Judge.

Now before the Court are three motions to dismiss, one by defendants Sonoma County Junior College District, erroneously sued as Santa Rosa Junior College ("SRJC"), SRJC Officer Joseph Richards ("Richards"), and SRJC Officer Brittany Hawks ("Hawks") (collectively referred to as "SRJC Defendants"), one by defendants County of Sonoma (the "County"), Sonoma County District Attorney's Office (the "County DA Office"), Sonoma County District Attorney Jill R. Ravitch ("Ravitch"), the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office (the "Sheriff's Office"), Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas ("Freitas"), and Sonoma County Assistant Sheriff Randall Walker ("Walker") (collectively referred to as "County Defendants"), and one by defendants Superior Court of California for the County of Sonoma ("Sonoma Superior Court"), Sonoma County Judge Bradford DeMeo ("Judge DeMeo"), and Sonoma County Judge Gregory M. Caskey ("Judge Caskey") (collectively referred to as "Sonoma Court Defendants"). Also before the Court is the motion to disqualify filed by Plaintiff George Daniel ("Plaintiff"). The Court has considered the parties' papers, relevant legal authority, and it finds these matters suitable for disposition without oral argument. See N.D. Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). Accordingly, the hearing set for March 7, 2014 is VACATED. Having considered the parties' pleadings and relevant legal authority, the Court hereby (1) grants in part and denies in part the SRJC Defendants' motion to dismiss, (2) grants in part and denies in part the County Defendants' motion to dismiss, (3) grants the Sonoma Court Defendants' motion to dismiss, and (4) denies Plaintiff's motion to disqualify.


On May 29, 2013, Plaintiff filed this action to challenge the events surrounding his arrest on May 26, 2012 and subsequent imprisonment. He contends that the Court has jurisdiction, inter alia, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986.

On May 26, 2012, Richards and Hawks arrested Plaintiff and brought him to a facility he refers to as the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Facility ("MADF"). (Compl., ¶ 58.) Plaintiff alleges that his arrest was unlawful and that he was required to provide identification in violation of the Fourth Amendment. ( Id. ) He further alleges that on July 18, 2012, Judge Caskey ordered him into custody for five days for contempt of court because Plaintiff refused to accept a public defender as his attorney. ( Id., ¶ 63.)

Although it is difficult to decipher precisely what facts Plaintiff alleges, he appears to contend that Richards and Hawks arrested him for violating California Penal Code § 148 when he refused to provide identification. ( Id., ¶ 70.) Plaintiff contends that there was no probable cause to arrest or detain him. ( Id., ¶ 129.) Plaintiff alleges that he continually demanded to be taken before a magistrate judge for a probable cause hearing. Richards and Hawks, who Plaintiff refers to as the "Kidnappers, " took Plaintiff to MADF. ( Id., ¶¶ 92-93.)

Plaintiff was repeatedly asked for identifying information, such as his first and last name, his address, and his birth date. ( Id., ¶ 99.) Plaintiff was told that the booking process could not be completed and he would be kept in a holding cell until he answered the questions. ( Id., ¶ 101.)

Plaintiff alleges that he was tortured when he was held with tight griping hands around his arms and his arms were twisted. He was pushed and fell to the ground from the pain. ( Id.,

103.) Unspecified agents twisted his arms even more forcefully, as well as his legs. Another agent "dug a knee" into his back. ( Id., ¶ 104.)

Plaintiff was then brought to and left in a holding cell. His clothing was stripped off and he was left with a small blanket. Plaintiff began developing bed sores. ( Id., ¶¶ 107, 109.) Plaintiff was later provided with prison clothing and taken to a "regular" cell. ( Id., ¶ 114.)

Plaintiff was released on May 29, 2012 and estimates that he spent 68 hours in jail. ( Id., ¶ 116.)

Plaintiff alleges that a formal complaint was not filed until June 6, 2012, which he contends was outside of the 72-hour period required by law. ( Id., ¶ 118.) He further appears to allege that the criminal complaint against him was not properly supported by oath or affirmation and that the criminal complaint was dismissed when the "DA exceeded the time to bring a misdemeanor case to trial." ( Id., ¶¶ 69-70.)

On June 26, 2012, Plaintiff was arraigned. Judge DeMeo presided. ( Id., ¶¶ 136-156.) Plaintiff attended another hearing on July 18, 2012. Judge Caskey presided and sent Plaintiff to jail for five days for contempt of court based on Plaintiff's refusal to agree to the appointment of a public defender. ( Id., ¶¶ 157-174.) Plaintiff spent a night in jail. ( Id., ¶ 177.)

Plaintiff bring four claims. The first is labeled violation of the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, and appears to allege that defendants violated the Due Process Clause. ( Id., ¶¶ 191-201.) The second is labeled false arrest, false imprisonment and alleges that he was arrested and detained without probable cause. Plaintiff references 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ( Id., ¶¶ 203-209.) His third claim is labeled excessive force and references the Fourth Amendment. ( Id., ¶¶ 211-219.) His fourth claim is labeled violation of the Eight Amendment - cruel and unusual punishment. ( Id., ¶¶ 221-228.) Plaintiff also references the Sixth Amendment. ( Id., ¶ 30.)

Plaintiff seeks damages, including punitive damages, and an injunction enjoining Defendants from contacting Plaintiff for any reason unless a Defendant personally witnesses Plaintiff commit a felony. ( Id., pp. 44-45.)


A. Legal Standards Applicable to Motion to Dismiss.

Defendants move to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), and for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). When a defendant moves to dismiss a complaint or claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving that the court has jurisdiction to decide the claim. Thornhill Publ'n Co. v. Gen. Tel. & Elecs. Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 733 (9th Cir. 1979). Federal courts can only adjudicate cases which the Constitution or Congress authorize them to adjudicate: cases involving diversity of citizenship, or those cases involving a federal question, or where the United States is a party. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994).

A motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) may be "facial or factual." Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004). Where an attack on jurisdiction is a "facial" attack on the allegations of the complaint, as is the case here, the factual allegations of the complaint are taken as true and the non-moving party is entitled to have those facts construed in the light most ...

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