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Richards v. Renfro

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 24, 2014

JAMES DEMARCO RICHARDS, Plaintiff,
v.
CHARLES RENFRO, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF NO. 1) AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS

MICHAEL J. SENG, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Plaintiff has consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction. His complaint is before the Court for screening.

I. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

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, malicious, " or that fail to state a claim upon which 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).

II. PLEADING STANDARD

Section 1983 "provides a cause of action for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States." Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n , 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor , 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).

To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins , 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda Cnty. , 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).

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. lqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id . Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 677-78.

III. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff filed his complaint while detained at Fresno County Jail. Plaintiff names the following individuals as Defendants: (1) Detective Charles Renfro of the Fresno County Police Department, and (2) Midori Howo, deputy district attorney for Fresno County. Plaintiff complains of acts that occurred in a case pending against him in state court.

Plaintiff's allegations can be summarized essentially as follows:

Defendant Howo violated a state court order by obtaining and serving a body attachment order against a complaining witness without first providing the court with proof of service of a subpoena. Defendant Renfro provided false testimony at a preliminary hearing, and Defendant Howo failed to correct the false testimony. Defendant Howo also told the complaining witness what to say at the preliminary hearing.

Plaintiff seeks to suppress the complaining witness's testimony and Defendant Renfro's testimony and "work product, " to remove Defendant Renfro from the case, and to "void" the preliminary ...


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