United States District Court, N.D. California.
LaPATRICK A. JOHNSON, G62253, Plaintiff(s),
STATE OF CALIFORNIA, et al., Defendant(s)
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
CHARLES R. BREYER, District Judge.
Plaintiff, a State of California prisoner at High Desert State Prison, has filed a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking damages for allegedly "wrongful conviction and incarceration." Compl. at 3. Plaintiff also seeks "dismiss[al]" of his state conviction.
A. Standard of Review
Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, " or "seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." Id . § 1915A(b). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed, however. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't , 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two 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. West v. Atkins , 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
B. Legal Claims
In order to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. Heck v. Humphrey , 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994). A claim for damages bearing that relationship to a conviction or sentence that has not been so invalidated is not cognizable under § 1983. Id. at 487.
When a state prisoner seeks damages in a § 1983 suit, the district court must therefore consider whether a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence; if it would, the complaint must be dismissed unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has already been invalidated. See id. A judgment in favor of the plaintiff here would imply the invalidity of a state conviction which has not already been invalidated. The instant allegations therefore fail to state a cognizable claim under § 1983 and must be DISMISSED without prejudice. See Edwards v. Balisok , 520 U.S. 641, 649 (1997); Trimble v. City of Santa Rosa , 49 F.3d 583, 585 (9th Cir. 1995).
For the foregoing reasons, the complaint is DISMISSED for failure to state a claim under the authority of 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). The dismissal is without prejudice to reasserting the allegations in a new complaint if a cause of actions later accrues.
The clerk shall enter judgment in accordance with this order, terminate all pending motions ...